With four locations (plus a new cocktail bar) throughout the state, the nearly seven-year-old Boese Brothers Brewery has certainly made its mark in the New Mexico brewing industry. Luckily for co-owner George Boese, the brewery has built a dependable management and brewing staff to keep things running smoothly, even during a pandemic
“I’m happy that we got to keep so many of our people through it,” George said.
And, their staff continues to grow. Last year, they hired their first assistant brewer, Cameron, who will now be working with head brewer Josh Hammond. After a slowdown in operations in 2020, business quickly picked up again in 2021 and, George said, they hired Cameron about two weeks after they needed him.
In 2020, Boese dropped all their draft distribution accounts and stuck with brewing only their staple beers for in-house distribution. Now they’re getting back to brewing more seasonals and new, experimental brews, including a whiskey barrel-aged imperial porter and stout in what George said he hopes will be the just the beginning of many beer/spirits crossovers.
Although, George said, “breweries are things that people still like a lot,” he also noted that these are different times, speculating that “food halls are the new breweries.” Like everyone else, Boese has had to adapt and change with the tastes of the customer to come up with a variety of offerings that appeal to more people, while at the same time continuing to improve on doing what they enjoy.
“It’s (been) kind of cool to see other breweries starting to serve spirits and cocktails,” George said.
Meanwhile, Boese has been ramping up its own spirits program. They received their distilling license at the end of 2019 and began using it in 2020. So far this year, they made a new whiskey, which George said was “fun to do, but anticlimactic” as customers will have to be patient for it to be released as it needs time to age properly.
“It’s like, hey, we made this new whiskey,” he said, “(but) no one’s going to taste it for a couple years.”
Fortunately, Boese has plenty of other spirits ready for consumption. Their newest location, The Long Pour in Los Alamos opened in November, and it specializes in cocktail service. Since liquor can be sold at all of Boese’s locations, you don’t need to be in Los Alamos to get a Boese cocktail. Every staff member has been trained in bartending and cocktail making, and they are constantly expanding and experimenting with the menu as they build knowledge and inventory. As it is now, in addition to what’s on the menu, they have the capability to make all the classic drinks one might find at a bar. Although, with limited space, particularly in locations such as Los Alamos and the Northeast Heights, they don’t have access to all the fancy liqueurs, etc.
There is some expansion still going on. They rented the adjacent space next to the Desert Dogs location in Santa Fe, and are looking forward to providing customers a little extra leg room in the near future.
George said he has been interested to see the different preferences of customers at the various taprooms scattered around the state, although Dr. Strangehop IPA is the resounding favorite across all locations. Overall, he is happy to see things going back to “normal.”
“Everyone’s idea of normal is different than what it used to be,” George said. “Like everyone else, we’re just hoping for a more normal year than the year before.”
Thanks so much to George and the gracious Northeast Heights location staff for some great drinks and conversation.