We know, there have been a lot of grand openings and special events at new places all around town in the last few months. We are confident you can all handle at least one more. Right?
Start doing those growler curls, and prep your palates, for Monks’ Corner is coming to downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 5. This latest entry in the ever-expanding scene in the heart of Albuquerque is brought to us by Abbey Brewing. Located in the southwest corner of the new Imperial Building at 3rd Street and Silver, Monks’ Corner is currently in the final stages of preparation.
Sales rep/beer guru Angelo Orona provided me with a quick tour of the forthcoming taproom on Monday morning. A construction crew was still busy putting the finishing touches on the space.
“The idea is for this to be a focal point for the surrounding community here,” Angelo said. “As you can see, there are a lot of residents. The Imperial Building has a lot of rentals above us. We want to be collaborative with the neighbors and the other breweries that are around here.”
It was years ago when the Crew heard rumors of Abbey looking to put a taproom somewhere along Paseo del Norte. Those plans fell through, but new plans were made with downtown in mind. Once the Imperial Building, a mixed-use development with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments above, was complete, the idea of Monks’ Corner finally became a reality.
“Berkeley (Merchant) and his wife, Marie, designed this space,” Angelo said of Abbey’s general manager. “Everything’s very deliberate. If you notice, even the paint scheme is reminiscent of the area around the monastery. If you look at photos or if you’ve ever been up there … the cliffs around the monastery, this is the same color scheme.”
The space is 1,800 square feet in total, with room for about 80 patrons. There will be 20 taps, including a cider, made of the Abbey Monks beers as well as rotating guest beers.
“I’m the main person putting together the draft list right now,” Angelo said. “The one thing that I’m trying to focus on here is trying to get a lot of one-off beers, beers where there’s only one keg. I’m going to try to leverage some of my relationships and see if I can get some special stuff.”
That will not happen right away as far as the specialty/rare taps go, Angelo added, but over time.
Crackin’ Crab and Maya will be the neighboring restaurants. Maya is owned by Dennis Apodaca, whose restaurant Sophia’s Place is a popular North Valley establishment. Both restaurants will be joining forces with Monks’ Corner. Fans can expect some special beer and food pairings.
“Absolutely, that’s definitely in the cards,” Angelo said. “The one that I’m excited about is the seafood. … That’s pretty unique and interesting. I know Dennis is pretty innovative with his food, too. The idea is we’ll have some (Abbey) beers featured on his menu that pair well.”
There are some plans for live music and other events down the line, though those will wait until after the staff gets settled in and develops a consistent routine, Angelo said.
“One thing that we’re really going to focus on here, we were really fortunate to get a gentleman named Chris Pacheco,” Angelo said. “He’s formerly of Chama River. He’s going to be the GM here. He really, really wants to focus on — and I’m on board with this as well — on education of the staff and making sure that this is a place where people can feel like they can confidently ask a question and a get a good answer.”
That education will extend beyond the staff to the customers as well. Angelo is also the man behind Craft King Consulting, so expect a lot of Beer 101-style classes and more to take place at Monks’ Corner.
“Basically, we’re trying to make this a place that has small events that differentiate from other places,” he added.
Monks’ Corner will also have a merchandise area, a cooler for six-packs that can be purchased of Abbey beers, and yes, it will be licensed for growler sales right from the get-go. Now it is just a matter of crossing those final T’s and dotting the last I’s before the doors swing open next week.
Until then, we will keep tabs on any last-minute changes or developments. Otherwise, see you all at Monks’ Corner next week.