Flix Brewhouse, being a relative newcomer to the New Mexico craft beer scene, has made a major impact on how we consume, and to a degree how we view beer while indulging in one of our most classic of pastimes — going to the movies.
Over the past year, the measure of success on the part of Flix may not necessarily align with traditional brewpubs, but don’t be fooled, head brewer Will Moorman and his team have some exciting plans for their Albuquerque audience. The good news is that he was eager to share those plans with us here at the Dark Side Brew Crew. This entry into our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series will provide some interesting, and fun, insight into the first full year of business, and into the bright future for which they have steadily laid the groundwork.
I was lucky enough to snag an interview with the man behind the beer. After choosing our beers, we retreated back to the brewery to dive into our discussion on Flix Brewhouse’s successes and goals for the upcoming year. I asked Will about some of his highlights over the past year.
“Well, finally having a finished building to brew in was definitely a highlight,” he said. “When we first started brewing, none of these windows were installed. There were three skyjacks in here doing tile, plumbing, and all sorts of crazy stuff. So, coming into a clean brewery every day is something that I do not take for granted!”
The completed structure is certainly a testament to the long thought process and careful creation of the brewhouse, and the supporting structures, namely the ornate fermenters aligned upon the entrance lobby in a eye-catching fashion.
The structural changes and completions certainly haven’t been the only highlights over this past year, as Will mentioned when asked about Flix’s performance and achievements.
“We won a couple of awards this year, which was pretty cool,” he said. “We won three bronze medals this year. Our brown ale won bronze at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. We won a bronze for our gose at the Los Angeles International Beer Competition. Then we won another bronze for our (Luna Rosa) witbier at the North American Beer Awards.”
He went on to mention that the witbier also advanced to the medal round at GABF.
“We are going to work towards going for silver this year!” he said.
In 2017. Flix Brewhouse introduced their barrel program.
“We released one beer in our barrel program which was a bourbon barrel-aged Schwarzbier,” Will said. “We released a portion of that during our beer dinner where we showed Strange Brew.”
The remaining portion of this brew was released during the premier of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
“We have some sours that I’m happy with right now, but they need more time,” Will said. “We are being patient with it and giving it the time it needs. The bourbon barrel-aged stuff is kind of along the same lines. We are in no rush.”
Through all the changes and experiments, Will’s favorite beer remains the Luna Rosa.
“The witbier is a beer that I’m really close to,” he said. “We’ve been making subtle changes here and there, and we have really improved it.”
As if this past year wasn’t exciting enough for Flix and its head brewer, Will got to attend a nationally recognized brewing course last fall in the arts of fermentation.
“In October, I attended the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) course on Brewing and Malting Sciences,” he said.
The MBAA currently publishes many of the leading educational materials for brewers in the US, for our readers reference.
“It was a two-week long course that was the equivalent of taking an entire semester of a 12-credit hour college course on brewing and malting,” Will said. “It was an incredible honor to have won the scholarship. There were people there lecturing that have been brewing for 20-to-30-plus years. I met a lot of amazing brewers, and I learned a lot of cool things that should not only improve the quality of our beer and therefore the profitability of our company.”
With any successful student, the key to making it all come together is simply some experience and first-hand application, but even with that now in hand, Flix Brewhouse takes a more humbler approach. The Flix team expressed an emphasis on continuing education, with Will summing it up neatly: “I know that I’ve still got a lot to learn so that’s where my mind is at.”
This concept also expands into the larger picture for the crew as well.
“As we are a national chain, we are in the process of improving our product and improving the consistency from location to location,” Will said. “Something that I’m really excited to start working on is standardizing processes across the business. We will determine where we can improve.”
The Crew always loves to hear about brewers getting excited about festivals. Will said that he is excited about participating in as many local festivals and competitions as possible, as well as some regional and national exposure, as well.
“We plan to participate in a lot more festivals this year,” he said. “It gives us a great opportunity to get as much genuine feedback as possible.”
A common but incredibly important theme for most of the breweries we have talked to this year to help push the scope and effectiveness of the brewer to consumer interactions.
With that, we leave you all with a message to you all from Will: “Peace, love, and thank you to everyone in Albuquerque who has helped us at Flix Brewhouse make this happen over the last year. We definitely would not be where we are without the help of every brewer that we’ve met and every customer that we’ve satisfied. So thank you all!”
We wholeheartedly applaud and raise a glass.