Turtle Mountain prepares to move its brewery next door to North taproom

The spacious new space that will soon house Turtle Mountain’s brewing system. They’ll have to find a new place to paint little green trash cans.

After having talked about it for a while now, Turtle Mountain Brewing is preparing to make a big and necessary move.

No, not a new taproom or anything like that. Instead, the brewhouse and beer tanks will soon be loaded up onto trucks and moved from the original location off Southern Blvd. to the space next door to the North taproom off Enchanted Hills Blvd.

I made an unplanned stop at TMBC North after giving another Brew Crew member a ride to his job, which turned out to be just up the street. In a rare stroke of good timing, I caught up with North’s general manager, Adam Galarneau, when he wasn’t too busy.

After a bite and a pint, we went next door to the space just to the east of the taproom.

A mix of new tanks, which are currently horizontal, and used tanks from other breweries will be joined by the equipment currently in use at the original location.

“I’m glad we’re moving it up here,” Galarneau said. “It’s just too small (of a space at the original) for what we’re doing with both locations, and then with this Top of the Block opening up, and we’re going to be doing beer and spirits for over there. There was no way.”

The entire building that the taproom occupies is 15,000 square feet, and roughly a third of that will be available for brewing. With a license in hand and approval from the Rio Rancho city council, TMBC can start construction shortly. Trench drains and piping will come first, followed by a glycol system.

“We’re probably going to start doing concrete cutting in a week, two, or three, as soon as we get the approval,” Galarneau said.

Galarneau said that once the physical space is ready, they will move all of the equipment up from the original location at one time.

This keg stack by the windows will be replaced by the fermenters.

“Over here in front of the (south-facing) windows we should have our tanks, all of our fermenter tanks, so if you walk by you’ll see all the tanks,” he said.

The brewhouse will likely go up along the west wall. In addition to the tanks moving up from the original, TMBC has already purchased a mixture of new tanks and used vessels from other breweries.

“We have two 14-barrel tanks that were donated by Rod (Tweet) over at Second Street when he was making his move,” Galarneau said. “I always loving having friends in the industry. These are our new guys, two 20-barrels. We’ve got three 10s and a 20 over here. And, next week, we’re getting our 30-barrel hot liquor tank delivered. I can’t wait.”

One of the used tanks still had blue tape with the names of the last beer it contained at its former brewery. It turned out that Elder Dweller (great name) was a stout from Revival Brewing in Providence, R.I., showing just how far those tanks traveled.

Now what beer should succeed that Elder Dweller stout in this tank?

In addition to all of that, Galarneau said that TMBC will have a new water softening and cleaning system installed, as the north side of Rio Rancho has particularly high levels of hard water.

If everything goes according to plan, the hope is have everything up and running by late summer/early fall.

“I can’t wait until we come in here and have a pint off the pigtail of something brewed here,” Galarneau said.

I guessed aloud that Wooden Teeth, a past gold-medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, would be the first beer brewed on site.

“You just said it,” Galarneau said. “(Head brewer David Pacheco) was like, duh. One, it’s a lager, two, it’s a gold-medal winner, (and) three, it’s delicious.”

These old workhorses were purchased from Second Street.

All of us in the Crew look forward to those pints of Wooden Teeth. A big congratulations to the Turtle Mountain staff on receiving approval for their big, necessary move. We will certainly swing by again to show the finished brewing area later this year.

And, of course, a huge thanks to Adam for taking time out of his workday to show me around.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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