Boese Brothers takes on small town Los Alamos

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Sam, left, and George Boese in front of their new taproom

If you’ve followed my posts religiously (and I assume you all have), you may have noticed a pattern to my posts. Bathtub Row had a good year, the ski hill is having a festival, Bathtub Row hired a new brewer, etc. I think the ‘Tub and ski hill are wonderful places, but living in small-town Los Alamos means not having a whole lot to write about when it comes to breweries. Meanwhile, my Brew Crew brethren can’t keep up with the brewery openings in Albuquerque. (We are trying, but it is hard. — S) Well, that is changing! Opening just 100 yards or so from the ‘Tub is Boese Brothers’ fourth taproom. I sat down with the brothers, Sam and George, to get the scoop.

Many of you are already familiar with Boese Brothers’ other locations — the original on Gold Street in downtown ABQ, another in the far NE Heights on Tramway, and a taproom/taco shop called Desert Dogs near the plaza in Santa Fe that they opened in conjunction with New Mexico Hard Cider. The original brewery opened in just 2015, so they have been rather busy. The brothers said they felt that they needed to look outside of Albuquerque again for their next spot.

“We’ve been looking around for a while at a couple different places. Some other places in Albuquerque, but it seems pretty saturated to us. The place in the Northeast Heights is pretty far away from anything else. So that kind of worked for us. But, you know, Los Alamos seems like there’s a pretty strong drinking population here,” Sam said. I beamed with a strange sort of pride at hearing that. “(We were looking at) nice towns and this is a really nice town. We didn’t have to go very far.”

Yes, Los Alamos is a nice little town. There’s only one other brewery, Bathtub Row, which also opened in 2015. If you just want a place where you can get a good beer, there are several other nice bars/restaurants in town that fit that bill.

Opening up a new establishment takes a great deal of time, money, and resources. The Friday that I stopped in, they were doing a lot of their own work on the place. They’ve built most of their own furniture, including the tables, bar, and some artwork. In addition to saving money, it lets them design it just the way they want.

“We’ve got some stuff that we liked a lot, like the kind of the old-school Edison bulbs, the pipe lights, the paint,” Sam said.

Visitors to their original location will recognize some of the touches.

Previously, the building was home to Unquarked, which was originally just a wine bar and later became a wine, beer, and food bar. (It’s moving next door to L.A. Fitness, so be sure to check them out, too.) A local realtor was aware of Unquarked moving out and showed it to the Boeses.

“The views we liked,” Sam said. “It’s right next to the park. Lots of windows.”

Food will be on the menu in addition to their beers. There will be roughly 10 cold sandwiches and 10 panini-pressed sandwiches to choose from, including a green chile grilled cheese, a reuben, a wasabi roast beef, and a seasonal sandwich that will vary. If there’s demand, they said they might be open to a Taco Tuesday.

The beers will be brewed in Albuquerque, with kegs hauled up as needed.

“It’s our downtown mix, plus two wines from Vivac and two ciders on tap. Nine or 10 beers is usually what we’ll have going,” George said.

That selection likely won’t include any guest taps, since they’re able to brew enough on their 15-barrel system to keep up with demand.

Sam was the original brewer. After a few years, he handed off the brewing reins to George, who was a prodigious homebrewer, brewing 60 beers in 2014 alone. That small brewing system still sees use for experimental batches. These days, new head brewer Josh does most of the brewing.

Recent brews have included a watermelon sour and a grapefruit IPA. They hope that the grapefruit IPA will still be in stock for the Los Alamos opening. In addition, they’ll be offering a Mexican lager and a 4.2-percent ABV session IPA, which are welcome brews in the summer. Once winter arrives, there will be more darker beers, as you might expect. Something to look forward to is one of their few high alcohol bruisers, a Russian Imperial Stout.

Boese Bros. fans know that Dr. Strangehop is one of their first beers. They named it an XPA (eXtra Pale Ale) early on. The beer has evolved a bit over the years.

“We had the Strangehop, and it had like a lot of Mosaic and Amarillo (hops) in it and people are like, this isn’t an IPA. Like, it doesn’t have enough IBU,” George said. “Those hops just don’t taste bitter like that. So we ended up early on changing it over to give it more of that bitter kind of bite people wanted.”

Dr. Strangehop, now labeled as a proper IPA, will be a staple at the new location.

Plans also involve entertainment, including live music and perhaps a DJ.

“(A DJ) works really well in downtown Albuquerque, but it didn’t work very well in Santa Fe. Just kind of depends on whether or not people like it here,” Sam said.

We’ll see how that goes down in Los Alamos.

A few TVs were up on the wall, and there were a bar and tables stacked up, but it looked like there was still a fair amount of work to do. And, there are still some hurdles of the bureaucratic variety.

“We are waiting to schedule a local alcohol hearing,” George said. “There’s mandated timelines for that where we have to wait a certain amount of days.”

Currently, they have their sights set on an August opening, which would be the four-year anniversary of the opening of their original location.

Stay tuned for a future post closer to their grand opening. If you want a preview of Boese Brothers, check out their website for beer lists and food menus, or even better, visit one of their other locations. You won’t be disappointed! They will surely be a welcome addition to our small town.

Salud!

— Reid

 

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