After far too long between visits, I stopped by Boese Brothers Brewery last week to catch up with co-owner/brewer George Boese for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series. We talked about everything from seasonal beers to upcoming collaborations, a downtown brewfest, and of course a pretty big project from last year.
That big project was Desert Dogs Brewery and Cidery, which opened to quite a bit of acclaim in downtown Santa Fe last year.
“It was a good year, pretty exciting in that the big thing we did last year was the partnership that we opened up with New Mexico Hard Cider in Santa Fe,” George said. “That’s where my brother Sam is kind of working as a general manager over there. He moved to Santa Fe to get that place open. That’s gone really, really well. It’s been fun, too, because I get to make a couple beers for Desert Dogs, which is fun. I do one, Bell Ringer, that’s kind of their flagship beer that’s near and dear to my heart.”
George said Bell Ringer is a New England-style IPA, which was his original intent for the beer that Boese fans know down here as Dr. Strangehop XPA.
“But three years ago, our standpoint was that people wanted something that tasted more bitter and had more bite,” he said. “That beer doesn’t have any bite. It has the exact amount of hops that our flagship IPA here, Strangehop has, the same quantity, but it has a more fruity flavor to it. It has a very, very different taste.”
Having fun with beers and beer styles has been the mission at Boese Brothers since it opened in 2015.
“We’ve got some fun stuff planned to get the summer started,” George said. “We do this beer in late spring, early summer, called Zeus Juice. We’re doing that again. That beer is finished. I’m going to be packaging it (this) week and releasing it in bombers again. We’re pretty excited about that.
“Right on the tail end of that we’ve got a collaboration with Rock & Brews coming out. We’re doing a beer we’re going to call Rock & Boese. They’re crazy about the cloudy IPA stuff. We’re going to do a really fruity, juicy-tasting IPA, but to kind of put a fun twist on it we’re going to put a lot of mango in it when it ferments to accentuate that fruity flavor.”
George added that he was hopeful that Boese could win its second straight Malt Madness Challenge at Rock & Brews. Comrade Boese, a beefy imperial stout, triumphed last year. Black IPA is the current entry. Beers like Black IPA and Zeus Juice are part of what is becoming a set calendar for seasonal releases.
“Something Sam and I came up with was to try to do one seasonal IPA style and rotate through that,” George said. “The first one is our Double Dead Red, which is a red ale, but it’s hoppy like an IPA. Then we do Zeus Juice in the summertime and then we do our Sour Strangehop. This year I’m going to do our grapefruit version, too, and squeeze that one in there. Next year I think we’re going to do this Black IPA, too.”
The spirit of collaboration will continue later in the year as a 2017 favorite will make its return.
“We did a collaboration with Milton’s Brewing in Carlsbad, New Mexico Hard Cider, and Sidetrack called Sour Relationship that we brewed here at Boese Brothers,” George said. “We have a plan to do that in the summer. Dan (Herr of Sidetrack) has been trying to find a prickly pear provider and then probably do the same kind of thing, kettle sour as the style, but last year we put the purple carrot juice that New Mexico Hard Cider provided.”
Purple seems like George’s favorite color.
“I’m also (working) on a seasonal right after that that’s going to be an all-brett fermentation with like a pound per barrel of plums in it,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I really want to make a beer that looks purple naturally. It’s a strange quest.”
George said folks can also look forward to a grapefruit-and-tangerine pale ale this summer when the temperatures skyrocket. The end of the summer will also feature a couple of big events for Boese Brothers and its neighborhood breweries and taprooms.
“Then, end of summer, August will be our third-year anniversary, which will be really cool,” he said. “I think we’re also going to do our 90s party fundraiser, too. We’ll do year two of Saved by the Boese.”
This August will also feature a new event, if everything comes together.
“We’re testing out doing our first downtown brewfest,” George said. “It’s going to be the crew at Red Door, Monks’ (Corner), Duel, Sidetrack, and Boese Brothers. We’re going to do kind of a smaller brewfest with some music, and we’re going to do it on top of the (Banque Lofts) building. We thought we’d take advantage of the cool stuff we can do in the neighborhood here. If it all goes well, hopefully we’ll be able to get it together and do that as an annual event.”
Suffice it to say, 2018 will be a busy year for Boese Brothers. A big thanks to George for taking the time out from brewing to sit down and chat over beers. We also really hope that once the Albuquerque Rapid Transit buses start pulling up to that stop across the street, it will bring even more business to Boese Brothers and all the downtown breweries.