Opening a brewery in the midst of a global pandemic was no easy feat, but for brothers Cameron and Chris Frigon, they not only pulled it off with Gravity Bound Brewing, they have since seen their business thrive beyond any and all expectations.
Now, with one year of operation under their belts, the Frigon brothers are throwing a low-key, week-long celebration.
“Since we’re kind of low on beer at the moment, we’re having all the food trucks throughout the week do a specialty food item for each day,” said Chris, who serves as the brewery’s general manager. “Burnt Fideo is doing a vegetarian carne asada plate for us (on Thursday). Rumor Pizza is doing a specialty pizza (on Friday). And then, Umami (Moto) is doing something special for us, too (on Saturday). I don’t know what they’re making, but it’s something cool.”
Chris also remembered something else that Cameron probably should have remembered, but our interview took place at the end of a brew day, so we can cut him a little slack.
“And also, on Friday, Nina is Cameron’s girlfriend, friend of ours, she operates an ice cream little pop-up, it’s called Mud Honey,” Chris said. “They’re going to be here on Friday as well, serving up ice cream.”
“I’m happy that you mentioned that,” Cameron replied.
On the beer front this week, Cameron has another one of his specialties ready to go, plus an old favorite is back on tap after a short absence.
“We also have another double IPA coming up,” Cameron said of the Petal Jumper. “I guess it’s (already) tapped.”
“As is tradition,” Chris added in regards to all the hazy IPAs that his brother brews.
“It’s a big 8.1-percent ABV double IPA,” Cameron continued. “We put honey malt in there. It’s got Citra, Huell Melon, and Belma hops.”
“Our Vienna lager (Proof of Life) is finally back, so yeah, I’m excited,” Chris said.
It is not exactly the giant street parties from the days of yore, but at the tail end of this pandemic, it should suffice for Gravity Bound.
“We’re still kind of low-key here, we don’t know how to throw a party,” Cameron said.
“We never had to throw a party before,” Chris said.
As for presents, the brothers were hoping to have one to help them with aforementioned beer shortage by now, but alas, the supply chain remains an issue for breweries everywhere.
“We’re supposed to get another 10-barrel vessel delivered, well, we wish it was going to be this week,” Chris said.
“Yeah, it was supposed to arrive on our birthday, or the day after, anniversary I should say,” Cameron said. “But, I’m sure you’ve heard of the shipping container shortage that’s happening around the world.”
Regardless of all that, Gravity Bound has quickly become a fixture among locals who live nearby and a good portion of the vocal beer geeks from around town.
“I’m fairly sure Diego (Esquivel) is posted up somewhere in here, he’s got a little crawlspace up there,” Chris said, laughing.
“We have some pretty good regulars, absolutely,” Cameron said.
“The beer geeks, the beer community, the local community have all given us tons of support,” Chris said. “It’s been amazing.”
“We’re all kind of shocked,” Cameron added. “It’s good. We’re happy about that. We were wondering what the full extent of the community is, and we’ve got it. Maybe not all the way, but it’s close.”
Just please remember, everyone, to not park in the lot next door.
“That’s why we offer $1 discounts to ride your bike here,” Chris said. “We definitely want to encourage people walking, especially when they’re having a couple alcoholic beverages.”
On a few more serious notes, Cameron talked about how Gravity Bound is keeping its commitment to being an eco-friendly brewery in a couple new ways.
“We just became members of One Percent for the Planet, have you heard of them before?” Cameron said. “It’s an organization that … so basically it’s a commitment that businesses, or individuals, can make to donate one percent of all sales to environmental nonprofits. They help the nonprofits and they hold accountable all the businesses that pledge to become One Percent for the Planet members, to make sure they’re actually following through with their commitment. That’s a big thing for us. We’re pretty excited to bake in that component to our business.”
Cameron is also starting to make the beers with Kernza, a new perennial grain that he said is better for the environment.
“Because it’s got a very, very long root system, it actually helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere, as opposed to annual crops,” Cameron said. “There’s no tilling involved, it just lives continuously. It helps clean up the soil, or rather I should say it keeps the integrity of the soil, which reduces the nitrates that make it into groundwater. It’s a real eco-friendly grain.”
The first beer brewed with the Kernza will be the next batch of Garden Spot. The basil/cucumber gose will also now feature those two ingredients from a local farm (they were dropped off shortly after our interview, with spent grain going back the other way).
“It’s a real cool deal, we’re kind of excited about it,” Chris said of working with local farmers more often.
Some other little fun changes are on deck for the coming month if the State of New Mexico removes the last remaining pandemic restrictions on occupancy.
“Also, hopefully in July, bar seating, that might be cool,” Chris said. “No one has ever sat at this bar before. Virgin bar. We’re really excited for that.”
For those who have been wondering when they will get to buy a Gravity Bound shirt, that time could also be sooner than later.
“I promise you, merch will be available here soon, hopefully like within a month,” Chris said.
“Did we say that last time you were here?” Cameron asked.
“I got the T-shirt design, so we’re trying to find a recycled material or eco-friendly shirt (material), so we’re going through that, and making sure we’re doing the right things,” Chris said, ignoring his brother.
Gravity Bound will continue to show New Mexico United games on its outdoor projector and screen.
And, of course, there is the next collaboration beer on deck that has the brothers excited.
“Also, we have our collaboration with Bow & Arrow coming up next week,” Chris said. “That will be coming out, I think, on Friday. It’s going to be a double hazy sour IPA with blueberry and Meier lemon. I tasted it the other day and it’s tasting good, so yeah, we’re excited. It’s just going to be available on draft only. Nothing in cans, just because the amount of fruit these guys put in it was a good amount.”
No one wants exploding cans, that is for sure. We are pretty sure that it will not be a problem for fans of both breweries, who figure to be happy to show up on either patio, or hide inside from the stifling heat outdoors.
“That’s also been another amazing part about this one year in business, we’ve had our collaboration with Ex Novo, and now Bow & Arrow,” Chris said. “It’s been great working with these other local breweries. It’s also a part of how the beer community has been amazing to us.”
Overall, it has been quite the first year for Gravity Bound, and there is plenty more to come.
“Obviously, we love live music, and we haven’t been able to do it yet,” Chris said. “We’d like to get something scheduled here, it should be fun this summer. We don’t know what it’s going to look like around, since this is a bit smaller place, we’ll do something maybe a little more intimate. We’ll see what we can do. We always want to try new things and keep on growing.”
A big thanks to Cameron and Chris for the interview, the pour of Half Past Dark Lager, and the crowler of Anna Fest Kellerbier that I took to the United tailgate for everyone to enjoy.
Happy anniversary, Gravity Bound, here’s to many more.
Keep supporting local!