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Time to take notice of The 377 Brewery

Posted: July 19, 2017 by tahogue in Interviews, News
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These tanks have been churning out some high-quality beers at The 377.

When I last wrote about The 377 Brewery back in November, it was literally in its infancy, having just recently opened the month prior. I’m more than happy to report that time, as well as experience, have definitely had positive impacts on The 377.

Upon entering, head brewer Lyna Waggoner was all smiles as she reported that her El CuCuy IPA had just finished in first place out of 35 entries in the preliminary round of the NM IPA Challenge at Duel Brewing ABQ on Saturday afternoon. My sample of El CuCuy (in Hispanic folklore, a mythical ghost-monster equivalent to the boogeyman) provided proof that the first-place finish was no fluke. It was a fragrant, satisfying, and refreshing IPA, to be sure. In a confident and excited tone, Waggoner said, “It’s on to the next round!” That round is tonight (Wednesday) at Picacho Peak Brewing in Las Cruces. Keep an eye out for the results.

In addition to that exciting news, there was the fact that the brewery’s Schwartzbier won Best of Class, Double Gold at the 2017 Denver International Beer Competition in April. Add it up and it is an impressive early track record, to be sure, and an indication of Waggoner’s commitment to brewing outstanding beers.

Obviously, awards are often the most satisfying accomplishment for a brewer, but when asked what she is the most proud of during her eight-plus months at the helm of The 377, Waggoner said, “The fact that I have been able to nail my recipes and provide multiple, well-rounded beers on tap.”

In terms of equipment and the environmental limitations that most brewers encounter with new brewery openings, she said, “I believe it’s the quality of the brewer, not the system.”

Well, look at that, The 377 has its first barrel. Oh, the possibilities!

She went on to say that she truly feels like she has her brewing system “dialed-in.” Waggoner said that her next plan is to venture into the wonderful world of barrel-aging, as she pointed to a whiskey barrel prominently displayed nearby.

After touring the improved layout of the equipment, I reflected on what Waggoner had said her goals were for 2017 during our first interview, and quickly realized that she has stayed true to them all. If you haven’t yet ventured over to the corner of Yale and Gibson, or if it’s been awhile since your last visit, do yourself a favor and stop in The 377 for some solid, award-winning beers! It is most definitely time to take notice of The 377 Brewery and head brewer Lyna Waggoner.

Cheers!

— Tom

The 377 Brewery took flight only recently in southeast Albuquerque.

The 377 Brewery took flight only recently in southeast Albuquerque.

Editor’s note: Once again, one of our new Bullpen writers makes his debut with the Look Back/Look Ahead Series entry for one of the newest breweries here in town. Please share some feedback to let Tom know how he did. Thanks! — S

If you’re looking to grab a “patriotic pint,” look no further than The 377 Brewery near the corner of Yale and Gibson in southeast Albuquerque. The new brewery, a furniture store in a previous life, is named for the 377th Air Base Wing stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base. As you enter, it feels as though you stepped inside an airplane hangar with beer taps, and what’s not to love about that?

Another bonus is the fact that many components of the brewery equipment are located in and around the seating area (awesome for us beer geeks). With red tabletops, blue and silver chairs, and Old Glory hanging proudly on the wall, it’s evident that the owners designed the brewery with strong, American pride. Although a grand opening remains unscheduled for now, a soft opening occurred in late October. Head brewer Lyna Waggoner, one of only two women to hold that job in the state, recently sat down to reflect on 2016 and, more importantly, look forward to what lies ahead for The 377 in 2017 and beyond.

The current lineup at The 377 is made up of guest taps from around the state.

The current lineup at The 377 is made up of guest taps from around the state.

Like so many breweries before, The 377 overcame one obstacle after another before finally opening its doors.  Through all the trials and tribulations, Waggoner said she remained focused on one thing — brewing.

“I live for brewing beer,” Lyna said. “I continuously home brewed the entire time the owners, Cliff Sandoval and Fred Attencio, were dealing with everything besides the beer itself.”

The brewing equipment is ready to go.

The brewing equipment is ready to go.

Waggoner said her goal was to continue to perfect her award-winning recipes (she has won many home brewing competitions, including at the State Fair), so that once she began brewing on site, the beer would be as consistent as possible. Waggoner is also a landscape designer, and also applied her talents in that area at the brewery.

As for food offerings, the current plan is the reliable and time-tested food truck concept. Future plans, however, include a pizza oven within the brewery building itself. While currently their 12 taps feature creations from Enchanted Circle, Tractor, Santa Fe, Quarter Celtic, and Sierra Blanca, rest assured that Waggoner is busy brewing her own classic and traditional lineup.  Lyna’s brews will include a traditional IPA, black IPA, session IPA, robust porter, oatmeal stout, best bitter, Scottish export 80, imperial crème, hefeweizen, saison, and a kolsch. Waggoner said that her goals for 2017 include “dialing in her recipes, brewing competitions, barrel-aging, sours, and eventually special releases and seasonals.” With a list like that, co-brewer Tammy Pluym should be kept quite busy as well.

There are plans to make the patio covered in the future.

There are plans to make the patio covered in the future.

The 377’s location serves KAFB, Sandia National Labs, the Sunport, and numerous surrounding hotels and, of course, UNM. Their stated goal is to become the premier UNM tailgating location, making for a perfect stop either before or after a Lobo basketball or football game. Future expansion will include an indoor/outdoor concept, featuring a retractable canvas roof and an entertainment pavilion, including a stage. When a military patron stops in, they are encouraged to provide their signature on one of the overhead beams, just above the bar. A fitting nod to those whose serve, as they themselves are served a pint.

It would appear the sky is the limit for The 377 Brewery going forward in the ever-expanding Albuquerque brew scene!

Cheers!

— Tom