A match made in New Mexico

If you know any of the Brew Crew personally, you’ll know that we are massive football/soccer fans. With tailgates and stadium brews, beer is clearly a big part of the soccer world, but seldom does that relationship go the other direction.

Thankfully, New Mexico breweries are beginning to partner with our source of local pride, New Mexico United, to bridge the gap between the two things we love more than (almost) anything else in the world. Ex Novo Brewing in Corrales is officially partnering with NMU to give us Stay GOALden, a beautiful 5-percent ABV golden ale, which perfectly combines the ingenuity of the local beer community with the passion that drives our state’s club as smoothly as black blends with yellow.

Starting this Monday, cans of the collaboration between New Mexico United and Ex Novo will be available at the Corrales taproom, with local distribution to follow. The glorious golden ale will also be available on draft toward mid-July. The Albuquerque Isotopes have approved sales of Stay GOALden cans, with 60 cases available for the next two NMU home matches at The Lab on June 12 and June 16.

We sat down with Joel Gregory, James Gregory, Stevo Jeter, and Wes Burbank from Ex Novo Brewing to hear about this amazing partnership. Read on to learn how this mind-blowing collaboration came to be, and what we can look forward to in the future from this dynamic duo.

How was the collaboration born? What inspired it?

Stevo: I have been a season ticket holder since the very day season tickets were available. Schmidty (Justin Schmidt) was one of our beertenders. I have a deep love for the club, and seriously, this is a dream we’ve been talking about for two years now.

Joel: We’ve had dream collaborations in mind for a long time and this is top of the list, for sure.

Tell us about the inspiration for the beer itself. The style, the name … How did that process play out?

James: The same way they always go, everyone getting involved, putting in a bunch of names, and brainstorming until something great happens.

Stevo: As far as the style goes, that was something we had all talked about. It’s gotta be something light, it’s gotta be refreshing. You’re thinking about this being at a stadium, about it being accessible to the public, and to football fans who aren’t necessarily craft beer drinkers.

Joel: We already have two year-round lager beers, so the blonde or golden ale was the next step.

And the label?

Joel: We all had a smaller group after the initial conversations had been had with United, everyone was on board and we said, “All right, let’s get them something they’ll be happy to see.” But, we kind of took the lead since that’s what we do all the time.

Stevo: And, that was one thing that (New Mexico United) said, was that they loved our branding and creative direction.

Joel: Jeremy (Backer) is really good at creating labels. There were a couple different options and the one we chose with the goal net really landed with everybody, because it’s very clearly the black and yellow, with the shield, but the pattern is kind of our thing that we’ve been doing on our labels for a long time.

Wes: I think it’s our best-looking can. It turned out so nice.

Joel: And, it’s pretty awesome we just got these black cans, just a couple days before.

James: This will be the first can that will be run off the new black blanks, which will be sweet.

What is most exciting to you about the partnership between beer and soccer?

James: Well, Joel played for the Corrales Crickets …

Stevo: What was that? An elementary school league?

Joel: I had a lot of saves back in the day …

Stevo: Being a season ticket holder and an uber fan, and clearly a crazy fan of Ex Novo, it’s like my two favorite things in the world colliding. One of the first things that drew me to Ex Novo in the very beginning was Joel’s philosophy of ‘Drink Beer, Do Good,’ and doing good for the community.

New Mexico United from day one has always been about ‘Somos Unidos’ and being united, and bringing together different cultures. It’s very similar (at) Ex Novo we bring the community together with excellent beer and an incredible space, and with football it’s all different people coming together, same thing, and if you can put a good beer in their hand while they’re enjoying a match … that’s incredible.

Even deeper, ​if we can continue to help the Somos Unidos foundation, it’s even better. I love that they don’t have just once niche area, they go in the community where they see a need no matter what that need is.

Joel: Our paths are kind of intertwined. We’re newer here in the last two years, and you see the same kind of thing with them and we just want to … hitch our goats … to that parade …

James: How about joining forces? With our powers combined? That kind of thing?

Stevo: And, this is how we get beer names.

Is this collaboration something you’d like to continue or build on in the future?

James: This is not a one-off.

Stevo: This is the genesis.

James: This is going to be a new core brand for us. We’re planning on this being a permanent collab.

Joel: We’ve talked about all sorts of things. Different labels, different styles … switching styles up every once in a while but keeping the thread the same. We’re just going to have to see how that goes.

Why do you love NM United?

Wes: Went to my first match (in Colorado Springs), wearing Stevo’s kit. And, I became the drummer for The Curse that night. It was an overall nice experience. For me it was the camaraderie; I’ve been missing a lot of that since I moved to New Mexico. So, it was really nice to be welcomed into a family of people I’ve never met in my life. It wasn’t really for me the soccer itself … for me it was the community. That was pretty special.

Stevo: I do think the synergy between the beer community and the soccer community is deep. I knew nothing about soccer until we announced NM United. I bought season tickets because I wanted to support something local. Turns out it’s the most electrifying thing I’ve ever been to. I couldn’t believe how passionate the fans were. And, you definitely get that in the craft beer community as well. People have a deep love. A passion.

James: Growing up here, we had the Dukes, the Chiles, the Scorpions … and the community has never gotten behind a team like this. I’m part of this community and have been for a long time, and seeing this stoke was something that got me excited about it.

Joel: I think it taps into a lot of people’s FOMO too, like when they’re not at the match and they see people posting about it, they’re like, “That looks like so much fun! I need to go the next one.” You’re really missing out on the experience if you’re not there.

A big thank you to Joel, James, Stevo, and Wes for the interview.

Whether you are a craft beer fan, Ex Novo fan, soccer fan in general, or a New Mexico United fan, this collaboration represents the artistry of beer and sport coming together to provide us all with an experience, grown in New Mexico, that is unlike anything we’ve ever known before. Throw on your kit and get ready to score with some Stay GOALden next week. SOMOS UNIDOS!

May the beer be with you. always.

— Erin

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