It has been a while since we busted out some Beer Notes, but the news was piling up in our inbox, so here we go again.
New brewery updates
By our count, there are 20 forthcoming breweries, plus one that just opened. Alas, there is also another that closed, as we note below. First up, the breweries with active small brewer licenses.
- Callahan West Brewery (Mosquero): The brewery is open in this small town in Northeast New Mexico. It is located at 22 Main Street, on the west side of town, next to the Headquarters Restaurant. Details are scarce at this point, but there is a fledgling Facebook page, and we suppose it could make for an interesting summer road trip.
- Cantero Brewing (ABQ-Brewery District): Slow but steady progress is apparent, with the brewing system now set up. We will drop the owners another line and see if we can get an advance tour/preview.
- Elkins Brewing (Grants): There is still no website, no social media, or anything else about this brewery. If anyone out there has information, please send it over.
- Red River Brewing: The staff seems to be putting the finishing touches on the interior of the completed building. Hey, someone had to benefit from the mild winter up north. It should be only a matter of time before we add Red River to our next Taos Trek (which we are way, way overdue to do again).
- Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): Plenty of positive signs abound to the point of where we have to imagine it will be the next to open. Tumbleroot has begun brewing and distilling, and in addition is starting to book musical acts for its stage. Look for a preview in the coming weeks.
Now for all the breweries with pending small brewer licenses, who are, by and large, further away from opening.
- 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho): Located in the old Fat Squirrel building on Southern, we have seen construction getting underway. There is also a Facebook page and a website, finally, though neither have any real information.
- BLUE (ABQ-Downtown area): We have no new updates about this brewery, which a source told us would be located somewhere along Broadway near Lead/Coal, similar in size and scope to Sidetrack.
- Bonito Valley (Lincoln): The brewery’s Facebook page said it hopes to open by the summer along Highway 380 in Southeast New Mexico.
- Brewstillery (ABQ-UNM area): We still have no information on this place.
- Casa Vieja (Corrales): The existing event space may look to do some small batch beers, but will mainly use the license to sell beer and wine at the events it hosts.
- Cloudcroft Brewing: Formerly known as Switchback Brewery, it will instead be named for the town it will call home in the mountains in Southern New Mexico. A full build-out is now underway, with a very rustic look to the site, which is quite appropriate.
- Hollow Spirits (ABQ-Wells Park): The distillery/brewery has hired a head distiller, Trey Allen, but no projected opening date (or even month) has been listed.
- Hopscotch Brewing (Artesia): First, the good news is that Deepwell Brewing is alive and well under a new name. The bad news is that it will take over the building previously occupied by Desert Water Brewing, which closed recently. Still, soon Artesia will be back to having two breweries, and that is a good thing.
- Icebox Brewing (Las Cruces): There is a Facebook page, but beyond the address of 2825 W. Picacho Ave., there is no additional info.
- Leaf & Hive (Santa Fe): One of two places looking to open in the capital city that will offer up mainly products that require a brewing license, but are not necessarily beer. The Facebook page says it will be honeybrew, a “heirloom cultured sparkling tea.”
- Sourdough Mine Restaurant and Brewery (Socorro): Located in the old Twisted Chile space off the main plaza, the restaurant is already up and running.
- Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden (Ruidoso): This beer/wine bar has been in operation for a while. It remains to be seen how much (if any) beer it plans to brew.
- Toltec Brewing (ABQ-West Side): The exterior signage is now covering all the entrances at 10250 Cottonwood Park NW. Inside, the brewery area appears ready, while the the taproom area is getting the final paint job. We can also confirm that former Nexus brewer Kaylynn McKnight will be running the brewhouse, while Adam Galarneau, formerly of Bosque, Marble, and Turtle Mountain, will be the general manager. Those are two talented and experienced people, a good sign of the commitment of the Toltec owners to putting their brewery on the map from the get-go.
There are three other breweries we know are on the way, but have not yet applied for a license. We recently previewed Ex Novo Brewing and its plans to open in Corrales. HoneyMoon Brewery, a kombucha-centric operation, is coming to Santa Fe. Blu Dragonfly is coming to the northern town of Cimarron and has already joined the NM Brewers Guild far in advance of its opening.
If there are any other new breweries out there that we missed, please let us know.
We can also report that Guadalupe Mountain (Carlsbad) and Lost Hiker (Ruidoso) are now open and serving their own beers.
Politics and beer don’t mix here or anywhere
One of the best things about breweries is how they are (usually) delightfully free of the venomous political discourse that has infected our country. Sadly, politics has a way of getting into the beer, and it rarely turns out well for any beer drinker, regardless of his/her affiliation.
Here in New Mexico, even after it passed both houses in the legislature, Senate Bill 204 died with a whimper when outgoing Governor Martinez killed it with a pocket veto. SB204 was designed to give breweries the ability to obtain private celebration permits. Currently, only distributors have these permits. Who knows why the governor did not like this bill, which had bi-partisan support.
It could be worse, however, as craft brewers in Maryland suffered a devastating defeat in Annapolis. Small breweries in Maryland face significant restrictions in how much beer they can brew and sell. Efforts to lift many regulations have failed, as the combination of macrobreweries and distributors have been opposed to giving craft breweries any advantages. Hopefully more progressive politicians will take another look at the situation next year.
Meanwhile, the announcement of pending tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports have left some in the craft beer industry worried. Those worries may be valid, as this story in the Wall Street Journal shows. (Thanks to Boxing Bear’s David Kim for the link.) A rise in the price of American steel and aluminum would benefit the manufacturers, but not everyone in the market may be able to afford those increases. That could hamper an industry that uses a hell of a lot of both metals. Ultimately, though, it is still early in the process, and time will tell what the full impact will be on the brewing industry.
- Little Toad Creek got some good news when its first taproom outside Silver City cleared a major hurdle. The City of Las Cruces has given its approval for the location at 119 N. Main St. Now all that remains is for state approval, which hopefully will come in advance of the Blazin’ Brewfest in May.
- Red Door is looking to hire a new head brewer. We are working on finding out the details behind the departure of founding brewer Wayne Martinez.
- Tart at Heart is returning to Sister for a fourth time on April 14. We will have more details as we get closer to this fun annual event.
- Second Street will host the first Pilsner and Crab Fest at the Rufina Taproom on June 16-17. It will not be a competition, but a celebration of the style. We would love to see what other breweries bring to at least give us all the opportunity to do a side-by-side tasting.
- Rejoice, haze lovers, for the Brewers Association has heard your cries. Three new hazy or juicy ale categories (pale, IPA, double IPA) have been added to the official ranks of the Beer Style Guidelines. Other categories have been added as well to reflect the ongoing evolution of craft beers. Click that link for more details.
That clears out the notebook for now. If anyone out there ever has any craft beer news to share, big or small, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or just tapping on a Crew member’s shoulder if you spot one of us out and about at a brewery, taproom, or beer bar.