Nexus Brewery’s seventh anniversary is closing fast, just two weeks away during Memorial Day weekend. Events will span from Thursday, May 24, through Sunday, May 27, with everything from beer releases to food specials, live music and so on. But, I’ll let owner Ken Carson do the talking here.
“I cannot believe it’s been seven years,” Ken said. “I will never forget the effort it took to go from banking, and hanging out in the four or five breweries in town, and beginning work on our Nexus Brewery.”
As a former banker, Ken said he knew that he needed a business plan and capital. He put the plan and capital together, hired consultants for the kitchen and a master brewer to help with the brewery. However, the plan did not work as intended.
Ken said he noticed about three months in that the ratio of food-to-beer sales was moving against his plan. The projection said 80-percent beer sales and 20-percent food, but it was spinning in the opposite direction. Ken said he was surprised that people really liked the food more than the beer. At nine months, the ratio was 50/50.
“Oh, my goodness, we have become a brewery and restaurant,” Ken said.
The trend continued, and after a visit by celebrity chef Guy Fieri and his program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives stopped at Nexus, it was all over. The ratio today is 65-percent food to 35-percent beer.
“I think it is our attention to detail, and of course taste,” Ken said. “Nothing can be on our menu unless it tastes exceptional. We are almost 100 percent from scratch, and we work on each recipe every year trying to improve it.”
Nexus is not only a company that is about the beer and food. It has a social plan, too. The name Nexus was not arbitrarily created. Although there is an underlying Star Trek theme from the 1994 Star Trek: Generations movie, the word Nexus also mean connection, Ken said.
“Our intent was to build and organization that would connect the community and do good in our community,” he said. “Our membership program provides for members to contribute to our community fund. We also contribute twice as much as our new members provide with their membership. But, we are happy to be an organization that donates to numerous charitable programs thorough out Albuquerque.
“Additionally we wanted to provide good and respectable jobs for our employees, and we have been on the forefront providing a living wage for all employees, along with full health insurance and dental. In addition, all employees revive personal time off, even our servers.”
There is also a third Nexus location coming, just a block south of Avenida Cesar Chavez, with easy access from Interstate 25, and not far from the University of New Mexico sports facilities and Isotopes Park.
“Under construction on 1511 Broadway SE, you will find a new Nexus,” Ken said. “It will be called Nexus Blue Smokehouse. We will create New Mexican barbecue. A touch of red chile and garlic are just a start. But, do not expect Texas, Kansas City or Memphis from us. Our food will always be a blend of indigenous New Mexican flavors with whatever style of food we prepare.
“It’s just like our New Mexico Hot Chicken. We use some cayenne like they do in Nashville, but we know our palates are used to red chile, so we added that and took out the sugar, cause that make no sense. Same will go for the barbecue. I think we did a good job on New Mexican Soul food, and we are not done, so barbecue can be a great addition to our arsenal.”
To get a good idea of what this barbecue will taste like, Nexus will have some prime examples at its anniversary party, which is officially now an ABQ Beer Week event.
“We will provide a preview into our new style of New Mexican barbecue,” Ken said. “I have always personally cooked the barbecue at our anniversary. I will do it again this year. My dream to have a barbecue restaurant is only a few months away. On Saturday, we will have baby back ribs, available until they are gone.
“And on Sunday, we will bring our fried pork chop back. People really loved our pork chops when we were much smaller, but it was difficult to get the meat the way we wanted and we were struggling with room in our fryers. With some of those issues solved we will bring it back.”
Ken said he has enjoyed seeing the growth of Nexus over the past seven years just as much as his customers.
“I am very proud of what we have accomplished,” he said. “I have a great team of people that work very hard every day to bring the Nexus Exbeerience to Albuquerque. I have to give credit to all those employees who have been with us since the beginning or almost, and the new ones that work so hard. A great shout out to the Nexus crew. And also, a great shout out to our customers and Nexus Neighbors and even to our vendors. The support from this community has been tremendous.
“We look forward to seeing all of our friends and neighbors out at month end from Thursday through Sunday!”
Here is the lineup of food, beer specials, and bands for both the main Nexus Brewery and the Nexus Silver Taproom on the west side.
- Thursday, May 24—Release party for Big Ugly Nasty IPA, a.k.a. the BUN
- Friday, May 25—Release party for the return of Beam Me Up Scotty
- Saturday, May 26—Day one of the anniversary party, featuring Ken’s famous ribs, with the Racine Creole band performing from 2-5 p.m.
- Saturday, May 26—At Silver, DJ Graematter will be spinning the best in Afro beat and Afro fusion sounds from 8:30 p.m. to midnight
- Sunday, May 27—Day two of the anniversary party, featuring a Southern-Fried Pork Chop plate, with Raven Rutherford & Her Sweet Potato Pie Band perform from 2-5 p.m.
In particular, I, Franz Solo, for one look forward to Big Ugly Nasty, being the main hop aficionado of the Brew Crew; and for that matter I do love some ribs, as the rest of the Crew will certainly attest (Yes, yes we do. — S). Beam Me Up Scotty has been a longtime Brew Crew favorite as well and we look forward to trying brewer Randy King’s take on the beloved Scotch ale. So head out and help celebrate seven years of heavenly food and brews from Nexus during the fast approaching ABQ Beer Week!
Live Long, and Prosper!
— Franz Solo