To patio or not to patio, that is the question for New Mexico breweries

Breweries can reopen their patios at 25-percent occupancy starting Wednesday, such as Sidetrack Brewing, but the weather and other issues could still be a factor.

The latest changes to the public health order were officially announced Monday, as New Mexico moves to a county-by-county system for easing restrictions as COVID-19 numbers ebb and flow. The Red-Yellow-Green system was generally welcomed by the brewery owners who responded to us via email Monday night, though not all are preparing to take advantage of the 25-percent occupancy on patios that is allowed under Red, which is currently every county in New Mexico save for Los Alamos, which is Yellow.

“The RYG plan is much fairer to those rural counties who got hosed by the one-size-fits-all closure order,” Turtle Mountain owner Nico Ortiz wrote. “They should be really happy. I am in Sandoval County, and I am very happy that I am here instead of in Bernalillo County, so those of us here in Rio Rancho might benefit. But, overall I predict a mess of changing colors and opening/closing seesawing over the next few months.”

Getting from Red to Yellow is not going to be easy for any county.

“In order to move from red to yellow, Sandoval County has to go from the current 82 cases per 100k population to eight cases, and from a positivity rate of 14.10 percent down to 5 percent,” Ortiz wrote. “That’s not going to happen overnight, nor in two months.

“It is what it is, and we just have to do the best we can with what we have to work with.”

Ex Novo founder Joel Gregory, whose brewery is also in Sandoval County, agreed.

“The RYG plan makes sense in that it helps rural counties out when the problems might arise from denser populations, but the gating criteria is quite strict,” he wrote. “Eight cases per 100,000 is going to take a long, long time to get to.”

The breweries in Bernalilo County seemed to appreciate the transparency under the new rules, but none expect the most populous county in the state to have a change in color anytime soon.

“I like the objective framework for the plan; (it’s) just hard to be optimistic that the numbers are going to support greater opening anytime soon,” Sidetrack co-owner Dan Herr wrote.

“Any incremental sales with full margins will help,” La Reforma co-owner John Gozigian added. “The red, yellow, and green framework is simple to understand, though I don’t believe we’ll be moving out of red anytime soon.”

There isn’t much snow in the forecast, but colder temperatures might dampen the enthusiasm for reopening patios at 25-percent occupancy starting this Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Ex Novo)

The limited reopening of patios can start Wednesday, but unfortunately a major cold front will be sweeping through much of the state.

“I sincerely hope to see people bring out their down and wool and brave the weather, but have my doubts,” La Cumbre owner Jeff Erway wrote. “I’ll be happy to be able to visit some of your establishments and enjoy cool food and frigid beer, but I have the distinct advantage of growing up in upstate NY.”

In the long run, breweries will just have to continue to adjust to the situation on the fly. Expect more changes in days and hours of operation, and more limited food menus, special offers, and so on and so forth.

“We believe as of right now that we’ll be opening the patio starting Wednesday,” Steel Bender co-owner Shelby Chant wrote. “But, we may be changing the model out there a bit. Still working on finalizing it. Safe to say that we’re gonna give it a go, though, and will we will observe how it goes, assess, and make changes if we need to.

“Basically, my messaging that I’m trying to drive home is that we’re having to make adjustments almost daily at this point — to hours, staffing, offerings, etc. I can’t even keep track of our changing hours at this point and I’m the one going into the numerous digital platforms to update. We’re just asking for customers to be patient, always be kind (especially as we have to enforce dine-in requirements), and to MAKE SURE TO CHECK social platforms for hours and offerings because things are changing constantly.”

Bosque is already changing things up for the partial reopening.

“Beginning Wednesday, we will keep the same hours and will be offering beer service on our patios,” Bosque chief experience officer/co-owner Jess Griego wrote. “For food, we will be doing counter service only. All food will be ‘to go,’ but customers may order beer while they wait and are welcome to eat their food on the patio. We won’t be taking reservations, just walk-ins. At 25-percent patio-only and with the cold weather, this seems to make the most sense, however, if demand is higher than we expect we would change to full service. If that becomes the case, we’ll make the necessary adjustments and share that information on our social media channels.”

It doesn’t make much sense to reopen small patios like the one at Palmer Brewery and Cider House.

Not every brewery will bring back patio service.

“We are gonna stay with our takeout only model until we hit yellow,” Red Door operations manager Ali Cattin wrote. “I doubt there would be enough demand for patio service to make it worth it.”

“If we opened our patio for 25 percent that would be 12 people,” Palmer Brewery owner Rob Palmer wrote. “Can’t justify doing that.”

Here is an updated list of all the breweries and whether or not they will have their patios open Wednesday and beyond. Dialogue, Kaktus, and Lava Rock are currently closed, though all hope to eventually reopen. (UPDATE) Sobremesa has reopened, see below. Check their respective social media pages for updates.

  • Ale Republic: (UPDATE) open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
  • Boese Brothers: open Weds-Sun 4-9 p.m.
  • Bombs Away: open daily 2-7 p.m.
  • Bosque: open Weds-Sun noon-8 p.m. at North, Nob Hill, and Restoration Pizza
  • Bow & Arrow: (UPDATE) open Thurs 1-7 p.m., Fri-Sun noon-7 p.m.
  • Boxing Bear: (UPDATE) brewery and Tramway taproom open daily noon-6 p.m.; West Downtown taproom open Mon-Thurs 4-6 p.m., Fri-Sun noon-6 p.m.
  • Brew Lab 101: (UPDATE) open daily 2-8 p.m.
  • B2B Garden Brewery: TBA
  • Canteen: open daily 2-7 p.m. at both locations
  • Casa Vieja: open Thurs-Sun 2-6 p.m.
  • Desert Valley: TBA
  • Differential: TBA
  • Enchanted Circle: TBA
  • Ex Novo: open daily noon-6 p.m.
  • Gravity Bound: TBA
  • High and Dry: (UPDATE) open daily 4-8 p.m.
  • Hops: open daily 2-8 p.m.
  • Kilt Check: TBA
  • La Cumbre: open daily noon-8 p.m. at both locations
  • La Reforma: open daily 11:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
  • Lizard Tail: no patio
  • Marble: open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. at all locations
  • Nexus: (UPDATE) brewery open Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.; Blue Smokehouse open Weds-Fri 4-8 p.m., Sat 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m.
  • Palmer: staying takeout only
  • Ponderosa: (UPDATE) open daily 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Quarter Celtic: open Tues-Sun noon-8 p.m. at both locations
  • Red Door: staying takeout only
  • ReSource: (UPDATE) staying takeout only
  • Rio Bravo: open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Sidetrack: open daily 2-7 p.m.
  • Sobremesa: (UPDATE) open daily 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
  • Starr Brothers: (UPDATE) open Tues-Sat noon-7 p.m., Sun noon-6 p.m.
  • Steel Bender: (UPDATE) open daily noon-7 p.m.
  • Thirsty Eye: open Tues-Sat 3-7 p.m.
  • The 377: (UPDATE) open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
  • Toltec: (UPDATE) open Mon-Thurs 4-8 p.m., Fri-Sat noon-8 p.m., Sun noon-4 p.m.
  • Tractor: TBA
  • Turquoise Trail: TBA
  • Turtle Mountain: (UPDATE) open Mon-Thurs 3-7:30 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m.
  • Beer Creek: (UPDATE) open Mon 5-9 p.m., Tues-Sun 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Santa Fe: (UPDATE) all taprooms open 3-7 p.m.
  • Second Street Rufina: (UPDATE) open Weds-Sun 3-8 p.m.; take note, Railyard taproom is temporarily closed

The other Santa Fe area breweries have not announced their plans yet. Beyond the ABQ metro area, only Little Toad Creek in Silver City, Red River Brewing, and Truth or Consequences Brewing have confirmed they will have their patios open at 25 percent.

If anyone out there knows about the places listed as TBA above, DM us on social media or email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Ciccateri says:

    Datapoints of interest:
    Who has patio heaters? (Bosque Nob Hill does not, Tractor Nob Hill does)
    Who does growler refills?
    Who does growlers exchanger0s? Do they exchange others’ growlers? (Bosque does not)

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