The last couple of times our brewery patio bracket-style tournament hit up the Albuquerque breweries — divided by Interstates 25 and 40 into Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest (Downtown) regions — there was not as much separation as we expected.
The Northwest had two at the top, but figuring out fourth place was difficult, while the Northeast saw a clear top three, but fourth was also not as easy to select. The Southeast proved to be particularly popular, with three patios racking up 100-plus votes, but as for the Southwest (Downtown), it was a tight cluster between some of the biggest and smallest breweries in town.
Here are the first-round results, with the top four from each region advancing to our second round. The Northwest produced the closest vote all tournament between fourth and fifth place.
Northwest: 1. Steel Bender Brewyard 192 votes, 2. Boxing Bear Brewing 154, 3. Red Door Brewing 81, 4. Lava Rock Brewing 61, 5. La Reforma Brewery 60, 6. Hops Brewery 56, 7. Toltec Brewing 48, 8. Desert Valley Brewing 43
Northeast: 1. Canteen Brewhouse 145, 2. La Cumbre Brewing 100, 3. Marble Heights Brewery (MavLab) 95, 4. Palmer Brewery 58, 5. B2B Garden Brewery 49, 6. Broken Trail Brewery and Distillery Uptown 37, 7. Nexus Brewery 34, 8. Starr Brothers Brewing 27
Southeast: 1. Differential Brewing 193, 2. Quarter Celtic Brewpub 139, 3. Bombs Away Beer Co. 104, 4. Gravity Bound Brewing 92, 5. High and Dry Brewing 70, 6. Thirsty Eye Brewing 53, 7. The 377 Brewery 50, 8. Turquoise Trail Brewing 20
Southwest: 1. Marble Brewery 108, 2. Sidetrack Brewing 83, 3. Bow & Arrow Brewing 71, 4. Dialogue Brewing 68, 5. Boese Brothers Brewery 58, 6. Rio Bravo Brewing 57, 7. Ponderosa Brewing 47, 8. Tractor Brewing Wells Park 30
Now we get to narrow down these quartets to two finalists apiece in each region. As always, what makes a patio best is entirely up to you. This entire tournament is purely for fun, and a way to celebrate what has become the most valuable aspect of our breweries during this time of COVID-19.
ABQ Northwest Breweries
Will Steel Bender and Boxing Bear continue to dominate this region? Or will someone else step up and challenge them for supremacy?
ABQ Northeast Breweries
It appears that remodel at Canteen a few years back has really paid off. With such a small gap between second and third, it should be a down-to-the-wire finish for this region to determine the second finalist spot.
ABQ Southeast Breweries
As a reminder, due to an imbalance between breweries south of I-40 and those east (six) and west (10) of I-25, we had to move two of those west of the freeway into this region. Seniority was the tiebreaker, so Gravity Bound and Thirsty Eye made the move. For the latter, it was an impressive showing for such a young brewery. But, can Gravity Bound really challenge the trio of Differential, Quarter Celtic, and Bombs Away?
ABQ Southwest (Downtown) Breweries
Some might declare the Skydeck an unfair advantage, but we had a feeling Marble’s patio, packed to the gills in the pre-pandemic era, would be the favorite here. Could a much smaller patio (Sidetrack), or a newly expanded patio (Bow & Arrow), or a truly unique patio (Dialogue) step up to challenge the heavyweight at 111 Marble Avenue? Only time, and your votes, will tell.
That wraps up the second round of our tournament, at least in as far as us posting the polls. You can vote for one week each from the date of publication for the polls, so if you did not already check in on the southern breweries, offsite taprooms, or northern breweries (plus the ABQ suburbs), go back and vote!
Keep supporting local!