You know a brewery’s anniversary is a big deal when they send out a full press release. That was the case this week as Nexus Brewery announced that its (slightly delayed) 10th anniversary celebration has arrived, with food, fun, and new beers on tap.
The party will be held this Saturday and Sunday at the main location along the Interstate 25 frontage road, just north of Montgomery. In a normal year, Nexus celebrates its birthday in late May, usually tied into Albuquerque Beer Week and the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The pandemic restrictions held it back for a few extra weeks, but with the brewery now at full occupancy, we cannot imagine that anyone will mind too much.
Long before we ever formed the Brew Crew, a few of us were at La Cumbre back in early 2011 when we were introduced to Nexus owner Ken Carson. He did not reveal too many details to us at the time (we were just random beer drinkers in black metal T-shirts, after all), but once the doors were open, we popped in to try some of founding brewer Manuel Mussen’s initial beers.
Pretty soon, Nexus regularly entered into our rotation of breweries. We even learned that Carson sometimes liked to mix the Scottish Ale and ESB (remember that beer?), and each of us pounded down a pint of that during Franz Solo’s brewery-crawl-bachelor-party-of-destruction. For the record, it was one of six breweries we visited that night (along with Turtle Mountain, the late Hallenbrick, Il Vicino Canteen, La Cumbre, and Marble) out of the eight we had planned to hit (we reached our maximum consumption before we visited Chama Microbar or Tractor Nob Hill).
By the time we actually started the Brew Crew in January 2012, Nexus became more than just a place where we could stop for beer, it became our favorite brewpub at which to grab a meal with our pints. The chicken and waffles became a staple dish for all of us, and many of us branched out to try just about everything else on the menu as well.
Time continued along, with Mussen heading back to his native California, and a then-unknown assistant brewer from La Cumbre named Kaylynn McKnight taking over. All she went on to do was to win three medals at two of the biggest beer competitions in the world.
- Great American Beer Festival 2015, Honey Beer category, silver for Honey Chamomile Wheat
- World Beer Cup 2016, Honey Beer, gold for Honey Chamomile Wheat
- GABF 2017, Other Strong Beer, gold for Imperial Cream
After McKnight moved on to take over at the new Toltec Brewing, New Mexico native Randy King returned home to take the helm of the brewery, and during the pandemic even started canning some of Nexus’ most popular beers, such as the Scottish Ale, Imperial Cream, and the medal-winning Honey Chamomile Wheat. Recently, one of the most popular seasonals, Bird of Prey IPA, was also canned for the first time.
Nexus even earned an extra degree of fame when it was featured on Guy Fieri’s TV show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” The press release noted that it will be on another cable TV food show this fall, “Food Paradise,” focusing on one food item in particular.
“‘Food Paradise’ will feature our New Mexico Soul Burger,” Carson said in the release. “I am so proud to be featured again on national TV. And, what is best of all, we have never solicited either of these shows to be featured. They found us through word of mouth!”
Hey, we will eat to that, and drink to that. Our state doesn’t always get the best publicity on a national level, so this is something nice to see.
Getting back to the anniversary weekend, the food menu will feature all of your usual favorites at the brewery location, plus some BBQ items will be brought up from Nexus Blue Smokehouse. One of the two new beers on tap this week is an upgraded version of the annual anniversary beer, Beam Me Up (Higher) Scotty, which now checks in at 11.25-percent ABV. Now that, folks, is a true Wee Heavy. For the hopheads, Nexus will also release Warp Bubble IPA, which was made with Cryo “Pop” hops, which help give the beer all the flavors you expect from an IPA, but without the lingering back-end bitterness. Also, for those looking for something lighter, Oralé Mexican Lager will be back on tap as well.
There will be DJs spinning music on both Saturday and Sunday. You can also get 10 percent off all special anniversary T-shirts, hoodies, hats, glasses, and growlers. There will also be a special anniversary commemorative goblet that costs $11 with any pour ($10 for Nexus members).
Over the last 10 years, besides enjoying the beer and food, we have always appreciated how easy it has been to work with Nexus. Ken and all three of his brewers maintained an open-door policy with the Crew, and welcomed us back when we were getting started and in all the years since. We all raise our glasses to salute each and every person involved with Nexus, past and present, and wish them a very happy anniversary weekend!
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