Even with the temperatures at 100 degrees, the beer news stops for no heat wave. Here is just a little of what’s happening around the state this month.
New look, same good beer
We noticed, via social media, that Boxing Bear was doing some renovations on its pub, though specific details were a bit scarce. I took a chance that I would run into one of the owners and headed west to see what was up.
The main entrance door was roped off, sending everyone to the side door on the west end of the patio. Inside, the bulk of the pub was up and running fine, but the area with the game room, the viewing windows for the brewery, and of course the bathrooms was also roped off. Workers were laying tile back there, while signs were everywhere asking people not to touch the wood trimming, as it had just been re-finished.
After waiting a bit with a pint of Common Ground in hand, brewer/owner/busy dude Justin Hamilton zipped on by. He managed to stop moving long enough for a quick chat.
“We’ve started with the tiling, and we’re also fixing both bathrooms,” Justin said. “We’re putting in new sinks and making the whole thing better.”
With the indoor bathrooms out of order, there is a “restroom trailer” parked out front. It is a bit more advanced (re: not scorching hot inside) than a normal porta-potty, though one of those is there, too, as backup.
Justin said the goal is to only be working Monday through Wednesday for the next two to three weeks.
“That’s the best time to do stuff like this,” he said. “It shouldn’t affect (our customers) too bad. Our goal is to have it done before our anniversary in early August.”
While a lot of breweries these days seem to focus first on the aesthetic of their taprooms, Boxing Bear went in with a goal to focus on the product first. The hope was that would eventually pay for the necessary upgrades to the building, Justin said.
“We’re just giving this place a little bit of polish,” he said. “It was overdue.”
Justin “blamed” a certain big brewery for making everyone want eye-popping taprooms.
“That’s a double-edged sword with Marble; they created a really good standard for taprooms, but we now we all have to live up to it,” he said with a smile.
Justin also hinted that things are progressing with a possible Boxing Bear taproom, though there is nothing official to report on that, yet. He said he remains optimistic.
As for the aforementioned anniversary party, Boxing Bear is collaborating with Odd13 Brewing of Lafayette, Colorado, on Space Bear Oddity, a new hazy IPA. One batch was already brewed up north for Odd13 to serve, the second will be brewed at Boxing Bear this Friday.
We will be there for the anniversary party when it is officially announced. Just try not to spill any IPA on that nice new tile.
Good news down south
Before I could even type up an item about two new breweries getting approved, one of them went out and announced it is about to open.
Cloudcroft Brewing, located at 1301 Burro Ave., will open its doors this weekend. Along with Lost Hiker Brewing in Ruidoso, it means both of the quaint mountain towns in Southern New Mexico now have their own breweries.
It should also make for a nice getaway from civilization for the Crew in the coming weeks, before IPA Challenge madness consumes us all. (Not to mention it is a lot cooler up there than it is in most of the state!)
Meanwhile, over in Artesia, Hopscotch Brewing has received county approval, putting it on track to open sooner than later. The new brewery is taking over the space formerly occupied by Desert Water Brewing at 1 Cottonwood Road on the north side of town, right off Highway 285.
Once Hopscotch is open, that will give Artesia two breweries again, alongside The Wellhead downtown. Other breweries now operational in the southeast include Roosevelt (Portales), Drylands (Lovington), and the dynamic duo of Milton’s and Guadalupe Mountain (both Carlsbad). There are also breweries planned for Lincoln and Roswell, plus a Milton’s taproom in Roswell is coming soon.
Southeastern New Mexico is no longer just macro light lager country.
- After making us wait for a while, HoneyMoon Brewery has officially applied for a small brewer license. This new kombucha-focused place will be opening in Santa Fe later this year, if everything goes according to plan.
- Major construction is now underway on Southern Blvd. in Rio Rancho, so make sure to get out and support Turtle Mountain as much as you can, orange barrels be damned!
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