After being stuck in a holding pattern for a while, everything is suddenly coming together for Bosque Brewing. In summation, everything is a go at Bernalillo, the Nob Hill taproom is growing bigger, Las Cruces is proving whatever is old is new again, and the wet hops are coming. Got all that? Here is the full breakdown, courtesy of Bosque director of operations Jotham Michnovicz.
Bernalillo is a go at long last
Bosque started contract brewing at Sleeping Giant in Denver with the idea of it only being a temporary situation until the completion of the new production facility at the old Jackalope location along Highway 550 in Bernalillo.
It has not worked out according to plan, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Bernalillo has been the thorn in my side for several months now,” Jotham said. “There are so many different governmental agencies and municipalities that are playing into the permits. The (Department of Transportation) wants one thing and that sets the whole permit (process) back because it has to be reviewed all these different people. It slows everything down. So, basically, it’s just been really, really difficult. All of our equipment is in. Everything that we were supposed to do has been done. We were waiting on a final permit.”
The wait ended Monday.
“I got a call (Monday) that the permit is in hand and was delivered to Bernalillo,” Jotham said. “So, basically, they are full-steam ahead now. They have been doing all the work that they can do up until having the permit. Now that they have the permit in hand they can just go full force. So you’re going to start seeing a lot of movement out there and a lot of progress being made. The landlord called me, the contractor called me, it was a big deal.”
The big hold-up with the DOT relates to the plans to expand and revamp 550 through Bernalillo. Anyone traveling along that road during morning or evening rush hour knows how badly traffic can back up coming from or heading to Interstate 25. The plans for the road are now settled, so the DOT in turn has granted Bosque permission to start full reconstruction of the old Jackalope building. Once it is complete, it will house the primary production brewery for all of the canned and bottle Bosque beers (seasonal/specialty beers will still be done on the old brewhouse at San Mateo), plus it will have its own taproom space.
That alone should have been a huge relief to the Bosque staff. It was not the only recent good news, however.
Public House set to double in size in Nob Hill
It has been quite some time since the Bosque taproom’s neighbor, Wise Pies Pizza, closed its doors in Nob Hill. The space sat vacant for months, but that is about to end. Bosque is expanding into the space, taking over the entire building near Girard and Central.
“As with everything at Bosque, that was delayed quite a bit,” Jotham said. “But we finally got a permit for that one as well. We started construction on that last week. We took over the Wise Pies space. What we’re going to do is convert it to a full kitchen since we have the same setup we had here at San Mateo, just panini presses and limited equipment. That’s going to be a full commercial kitchen. The full menu you see at San Mateo will be available there. There will be a lot more seating. It’s just going to be a lot more comfortable like you see here.”
The wall between the two spaces will be knocked out in the coming months so that the two will truly feel like one space.
“The whole space is going to be ours,” Jotham said. “We’re creating the space to be a lot more cohesive. I think when you go to a lot of restaurants and they add on, it’s like you put me in the little kids room or something. We’re designing it so the whole space is going to function as one. It’s going to be awesome.”
The goal is have everything done before the end of the year in Nob Hill, Jotham said.
“I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen down there,” he added. “(Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction) is about to finish up. Love it or hate it, ART’s a thing. Everybody has been experiencing a down time in that area. We’re going to open our doors to a taproom that’s twice the size with ART being finished up and school back in town. I think it has the potential to be pretty crazy. We’re also going to be installing a really cool shade structure on the patio. It’s going to have those shade sails, so it’s going to be really nice.”
Two for one taprooms in Las Cruces
Down south, Bosque’s popularity is through the roof. The brewery moved its taproom to a larger space in the same complex across from New Mexico State University, but it was still packed to the gills. The good news is that Bosque never gave up the old taproom space, so now it will reopen as a no-frills beer bar.
“So the old space, you’re right, we closed it down after we opened the new space,” Jotham said. “The new space is located about three doors west of the old space. We have three to four times the amount of space. We have a full kitchen there, just a lot more area for people to roam around. But people have definitely been clamoring for that old space to (re)open. They like the small bar feel.”
The primary reason for the closure was the rather desperate need to finally fix up the original spot.
“That space had been used by another taproom before us, so it had been pretty beat up,” Jotham said. “We put a fresh coat of paint on it. … We went ahead and just made it look and feel like the other (taprooms). We got some new tables in there, those will come in this week, and we got a bigger draft system. We fixed up the patio a little bit. That should all open within a few weeks.”
The new taproom space has a full kitchen, making it more of a true brewpub. The original spot will cater more to the beer-only crowd.
“It’s going to kind of work in tandem with the other place, but they will be (distinctly) separate spots,” Jotham said. “One spot will have Bosque food (while) the beer bar will be a place where people can bring in their own food if they want to. Only communal tables and a bar top. The patio is going to have backyard-style furniture, so it will have a more backyard feel, I guess. It’s going to be focused on packaged beer, merchandise, a lot of that kind of stuff.”
All the Bosque fans in Las Cruces, and their friends from El Paso, will rejoice that there will be more space for drinking beers, eating food, and getting beer to go.
A new can and a new beer series
Anyone visiting a local liquor store or supermarket lately has probably seen Elephants on Parade now appearing in six-pack cans. The decision to make EoP the fourth canned beer was an easy one, Jotham said.
“When we started selling that beer, it came out as a specialty beer,” he said. “We saw that every table in the taproom had a pink beer on it. And then we rolled it out again for another one and we couldn’t keep it on. It was flying off the shelves. We realized that we had a product that beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike really loved. That’s what was remarkable about it.
“We decided to put it on as one of our staple beers, we replaced Pale Ryder with that one. Just because of the popularity of it, selling at other accounts, and the popularity at our taprooms, we decided it was the next best release. We were talking with our distributor, they were getting multiple requests for it as well.”
If you have not gone out in search of EoP in cans, well, now you know.
As for the big autumn beer releases, one of the first that Bosque has planned is of course Acequia, their award-winning wet-hop IPA. This year, though, it will come with a fun twist.
“The biggest thing coming up is we’re going to do a wet-hop beer (series) release,” Jotham said. “It’s going to focus (around) Acequia. We always bottle that every year and we usually do a pretty limited run of it. We’re going to do a limited run again this year. But, we’re going to surround it with a few different beers that are all going to be wet hopped. I don’t have much more information on it than that at this point, but we’re in the process of putting all that together.”
The as-yet-unnamed wet-hop series will release before the Great American Beer Festival in October, though as Jotham noted, an exact date has not been set. Whenever it happens, it should be a fun time for beer geeks and the Bosque staff.
“We were able to source wet hops from a couple different farms,” Jotham said. “It will be kind of cool to release a series that allows us to play with different varietals and regions. It’s something we don’t get to see a whole lot of in New Mexico. Last year, I was up in Portland (Oregon) and everywhere I went had at least three or four wet-hop beers on. I was kind of jealous of that. In New Mexico, we get access to wet hops sparingly. They have them in their backyard. It’s a lot of fun that we get to do this. I’m going to drink a lot of beer over the next couple months.”
As always, the Crew will be around to keep everyone updated on all of the projects at Bosque. We cannot wait for the wet-hop series, the Las Cruces reopening, the Nob Hill expansion, and to finally see Bernalillo in full bloom. Good times are ahead, beer lovers!