Archive for the ‘Look Back/Look Ahead Series 2018-19’ Category

The light shined brightly upon Marble Brewery again in 2018.

There are plenty of challenges in life, for brewery employees and beer writers. While Marble Brewery had to deal with some surprising challenges in 2018, I presented myself with the challenge of choosing to interview six key staff members separately, and then typing up those interviews in a very short span of time.

In the end, though, both the Marble staff and I have come out of this year with our heads held high. On two days across two weeks, I managed to corral, in order, Geraldine Lucero (marketing and events coordinator), Tammy Lovato (off-site event and festival coordinator), Barbie Gonzalez (director of tap room operations), Ted Rice (president/brewmaster), Josh Trujillo (brewmaster), and Leah Black (public relations and social media director). Marble is a big company, with so many aspects to cover for our Look Back/Look Ahead Series, so yes, all of their input was needed.

Big picture ups and downs

An unexpected aluminum shortage hit Marble this year, just as it release many, many more beers in cans. (Photo courtesy of Marble)

“2018 for Marble was filled with many highs and many unexpected situations and challenges,” Ted said, noting the positive impact of the big on-site festivals, something Geraldine would cover in greater detail.

The unexpected situations and challenges occurred elsewhere.

“The (aluminum) tariffs were definitely a factor into our ballooning supply chain,” Ted said. “In the heat of summer, at the height of demand, we were shackled. We didn’t have the supplies we needed to put beer in a package and get it to market. That was completely unforeseen and extremely challenging. It was a wrench in the cog of the craft machine that is Marble. So looking towards 2019, we want to alleviate those unforeseen challenges in the supply chain.”

Josh said the brewing staff did manage to learn from the sudden can shortage.

“We learned not to freak out, completely panic and lose your shit when something out of your control goes wrong,” he said. “Really, I think 2018 really reinforced our overall confidence and my confidence in the staff that we have. I really look forward to 2019 and coaching everybody along even further and really getting the best attributes out of all of our employees.”

(more…)

It was a busy, but fun year for Bombs Away.

It’s been a busy first year for Bombs Away Beer Company owners John and Hilary Degnaro, and they show no signs of slowing down, as we found out for our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series.

By 3:30 p.m. on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, the side streets outside the brewery were lined with cars, and the taproom was already packed with thirsty patrons ready to celebrate the long holiday weekend ahead.

Another recent holiday weekend was a significant landmark for the brewery — the Degnaros adopted Veteran’s Day 2017 as their first official opening. But, local residents and employees from Kirtland Air Force Base wouldn’t have noticed too much fanfare either for last year’s grand opening or for their one-year anniversary, since Hilary said it isn’t really their style.

Nevertheless, the brewery has had a considerable list of accomplishments in just a little over a year since opening.

“We’re sitting in the major accomplishment,” John said as he enjoyed a beer on the patio, which was completed near the end of July this year.

“(The patio) really opened up the square footage of the taproom,” Hilary said. “It’ll be standing-room-only in there, which amazes us.”

“People find us,” she continued. “We don’t put up a lot of signage. People like that it’s kind of a hidden gem.”

(more…)

Sam, left, and George Boese are proudly opening their second location this weekend.

Long, long ago, the Crew was tipped off by a reader that the area of town where he lives, near Tramway and Paseo del Norte, was potentially getting a brewery taproom. He asked us what brewery might be heading to just about the most northeast corner of the city, but at the time, we had no idea.

A while later, we noted that Boese Brothers Brewery had a pending off-site taproom license pending with the State of New Mexico, but it was listed for a zip code in the Southeast Heights. Well, it turned out that was a typo, since as we now know, the Boese Brothers Brewpub is the taproom taking the spot on Tramway, just south of the Paseo intersection.

The taproom’s grand opening will kick off Friday at 4 p.m. and run all weekend, so to preview both that and take care of Boese Brothers’ entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, I met up with George and Sam Boese at the new space on Wednesday afternoon.

“Probably early last year we started looking around for places, maybe in the February timeframe,” George said. “We hadn’t really gotten anything that we liked until we found this place. It’s the right combination, we think. We looked a couple of neighborhoods. We really liked this spot. It was probably the view that got us.”

This picture really doesn’t do the view of the mountains justice, but it will have to suffice.

Admittedly, I already told Sam about how impressive the view is of the Sandia Mountains out the front windows. The exact address is 7849 Tramway Blvd, Suite C. To get to it from either northbound or southbound Tramway, just turn west at the light at San Bernardino. It is located in the middle of the building just north of the CVS Pharmacy, next to the Dominos restaurant.

(more…)

It was another banner year for La Cumbre, and more is yet to come for 2019.

It is tradition around these parts to start our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series, which focuses on the year gone by and the year to come at almost every New Mexico brewery, with La Cumbre Brewing. I managed to catch up with owner/master brewer Jeff Erway just before he left on a well-earned vacation to talk about another big year for his award-winning brewery.

“You know, it’s funny, we have seen really steady growth the last few years,” Jeff said. “We’re never trying to hit a home run with our yearly growth. We just keep on hitting singles and doubles. Some of our specials this year were home runs, our seasonal releases. I feel like we’ve continued to do probably a better job of that than anybody as far as getting things out there that the public gets really excited about.”

The specialty beers may have stirred the pot in 2018, but the biggest move of the year was the long-awaited opening of an off-site taproom. La Cumbre Westside opened in August to huge crowds and positive reviews.

“We opened up a new taproom,” Jeff said. “That was about as much ambition as I’ve put toward anything since we opened La Cumbre. It’s been a very good year for us as a company and I feel like it’s been a great year for our management team both professionally and personally.”

The La Cumbre taproom took a lot of hard work to get open back in August.

Of course, with such a recent opening, there is little chance that La Cumbre is eyeing a third location this soon. Right?

“I won’t lie, I am actively seeking out that next right taproom location,” Jeff said. “I know I move a little slower than some would on this, but I don’t like the idea of swinging and missing. I take my sweet time about things like that. When I find the right one, I’ll pursue that.”

Fire up the speculation engines, people! There is no pending license or anything like that, so we believe Jeff when he says he is looking, but has not yet set things in stone.

(more…)