Posts Tagged ‘Bosque Brewing’

Rock & Brews will host a special beer dinner Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Rock & Brews)

Beer dinners are plentiful in this day and age, but they are almost always limited to a single brewery’s offerings. Well, the folks at Rock & Brews decided that it was time to pair up some of their excellent food with beers from more than one brewery.

The dinner will take place Tuesday night at 7, costing $40 per person, or two for $70. Guests will be greeted with a welcome pint of Santa Fe’s Freestyle Pilsner. The four-course meal will feature the following pairings with local and regional beers.

  • Cheese (goat, green chile cheddar, gouda) and cracker trio, paired with Great Divide’s Roadie Grapefruit Radler
  • Braeburn apple salad adorned with Strongbow Cherry Blossom Cider vinaigrette, paired with Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing IPA
  • Surf (garlic butter shrimp) and turf (grilled Asian-marinated tri-tip) with braised local greens and carrot ginger mash, paired with Bosque’s Scotia Scotch Ale
  • Pineapple upside-down cake with vanilla stout creme anglaise atop vanilla ice cream, paired with Avery’s Tweak

Tickets are available at Rock & Brews, but as the time goes closer make sure to call first at (505) 340-2953.

Thanks to Angelo Orona of Craft King Consulting for putting this together, and for the heads up.


— Stoutmeister


No, this is totally not a hint as to which brewery’s IPA advanced at the National IPA Challenge.

The Dandy Dozen was reduced to six at the National IPA Challenge this weekend, with one of the two remaining New Mexico entries advancing to the championship qualifier of its respective bracket. It probably was not the one most people expected.

Two-time past champion Scale Tipper from Bosque was ousted in the fifth round, while Canteen’s Hop Baller survived to fight another week. Scale Tipper lost to Triumvirate from Rueben’s Brews in a semifinal of the Bracket 2 championship qualifier, ending its bid to become the first three-time champion in the history of the event held annually by the Brewing News. Scale Tipper is still the only back-to-back winner (2015, 2016), and one of only two IPAs with multiple wins, the other being La Cumbre’s Project Dank (2014, 2017).

If New Mexico is to make it five titles in a row, it will be up to Hop Baller. Canteen head brewer Zach Guilmette told us this week that was surprised Hop Baller advanced further than his other entry, Tuttle IPA, but he was quite happy to make it as far as being one of the last 12 IPAs standing. Now, Hop Baller is one of the final six. It upended Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack, the 2013 champion that had previously eliminated Project Dank back in the second round and The 377’s El Cucuy in the first round. Hop Baller kept Pallet Jack from being a three-time NM killer.

Next up for Hop Baller is a showdown with Tricksters Brewing’s JuiceBox IPA. The winner of Bracket 3 will go head-to-head with the winners of Brackets 1 and 2 for the championship, though we are not quite sure of how the format will work as this year was the first time the main IPA bracket had to be split into three.

Results from the next round of the NIPAC should be posted next weekend. Good luck to Hop Baller!


— Stoutmeister

Who will harness the power of the hop to bring back NIPAC glory to New Mexico?

The many brackets of the National IPA Challenge are down to just a few remaining hop bombs, with only two New Mexico entries advancing to the fifth round. Bosque’s Scale Tipper, a two-time past champion, and Canteen’s Hop Baller are all that remains from the original list of 42 local beers that started the competition.

Scale Tipper topped a big challenger in Lynwood Brewing’s Hop Sauce in the fourth round. Next up is Reuben’s Brews’ Triumvirate. The winner of that matchup will move on to the championship qualifier at the end of bracket 2 of the regular IPA bracket (as a reminder, there are three separate brackets of 64 that make up the regular IPA overall bracket; yes, that is a lot of beer). Karl Strauss’ Boat Shoes and Melvin’s Hubert are the other IPAs still alive in bracket 2. Take note, Scale Tipper is back on tap at Bosque, so you can see how good this batch is for a limited time at the brewery.

Hop Baller moved on with a victory over Ipswich Ale Brewery’s Ipswich 1620. Canteen’s entry will now face the powerhouse Pallet Jack from Barley Brown’s Beer, which knocked out defending champion Project Dank from La Cumbre back in the second round (and The 377’s El Cucuy before that). The winner of that bracket 3 matchup will take on either Tricksters Brewing’s JuiceBox or Knee Deep Brewing’s Breaking Bud.

Bowing out of the competition in the fourth round was Boxing Bear’s Uppercut, which fell to Old First Ward’s The Streaker in bracket 1. The Streaker had also ousted Three Rivers’ IPAC Nugs back in the second round.

The final entry in the Session IPA bracket, Bosque’s Southwest Session, saw its run end in the semifinals. Fat Heads’ Sunshine Daydream, one of the best session IPAs in the country, proved victorious in the semifinals.

The final entry in the Specialty IPA bracket, Steel Bender’s Manana, was knocked out in the quarterfinals by El Segundo’s Cerveza Fresca Guava. It was still an impressive run for Steel Bender in its first NIPAC appearance.

When the fifth-round results are posted next weekend, we will share them here. Until then, hail the hop!

— Stoutmeister

The new production facility in Bernalillo is coming together at last.

Bosque North has been a long time coming. After numerous delays, fits and starts, and plenty of headaches, the old Jackalope Building on Highway 550 in Bernalillo is finally taking shape. I took up brewmaster John Bullard on his invitation to stop by for a visit on Friday. We grabbed our hard hats and headed into the construction zone.

Virtually nothing is left of the old building, save for the huge metal beams and trusses that made up its skeleton. A new skin of metal has (almost) the entire building covered. Inside, everything is taking shape, from the brewery area, to the upstairs offices, and what will eventually be the taproom areas where customers can come and enjoy a pint right next to the actual Bosque wilderness. The building sits atop a hill on the west bank of the Rio Grande, leading to some truly spectacular views from what will eventually be the second-floor outer patio.

The front entrance will lead customers into the downstairs portion of the taproom, while also allowing them to look into the brewery beyond.

Rather than continue to try and explain it all in words, here are a few of the many photos from inside and outside the building.

There will be an outdoor bar for those who just want to chill on the downstairs patio.

The main brewery floor already has the 30-barrel brewhouse in place, plus a whole lot of 90- and 120-barrel fermenters.

The brewhouse was made to fit the existing structure.

Another view of just how big the tanks are inside the brewery.

A look at the loading ramp around the back (north) side of the building.

The silo is in place, but John said it will get a paint job with the Bosque logo soon.

Looking up at the second floor, where there will be a patio area for customers.

Inside the big tower on the southeast corner of the building. Customers can hold small, private events in here.

Customers will be able to look down into the brewery below.

The Bosque staff will have their offices in the northeast corner of the building.

Did we mention the awesome views from the second floor? The Sandias look a bit different from this angle, as John pointed out. Also of note, the widening of 550 is underway to try to help alleviate the horrific traffic problems in the area.

Looking to the northeast gives a clear view of the brewery’s namesake wilderness. Not visible in this photo, but visible from the deck on a clear day are the mountains above Santa Fe, too.

A huge thanks to brewmaster/tour guide/jack-of-all trades John Bullard.

As one can tell from the photos, no firm opening date has been set for Bosque North. The vision of what it will become, however, is clearer than ever. We cannot wait to return, sans hard hats, and enjoy a pint or two from that second floor patio. A huge thanks to John for the tour.


— Stoutmeister

Bosque’s Scale Tipper remains in contention for yet another National IPA Challenge championship.

The results of the third round of the National IPA Challenge popped up a little early online this weekend, with five New Mexico entries advancing in three brackets.

Bosque’s Scale Tipper, which claimed the title in 2015 and 2016, advanced to the fourth round at the expense of Quarter Celtic’s Mor-Buck. I actually had the chance to try the two beers side-by-side last week when I was visiting QC to talk about its medal haul from the New York International Beer Competition. Bosque brewmaster John Bullard dropped in with a bottle of the same batch of Scale Tipper that was sent to NIPAC.

The aroma was notably in Scale Tipper’s favor, while the flavor profiles of the two IPAs were quite different. Mor-Buck was sweeter, with a bit maltier mouthfeel. Scale Tipper was drier and had a higher bitterness, though some of that had dropped off a bit due to aging. In the end, both were complex, flavorful IPAs, but only one could advance.

Joining Scale Tipper in the fourth round of the regular IPA brackets are Boxing Bear’s Uppercut, which knocked out Madison Brewing’s DownTown, and Canteen’s Hop Baller, which bounced past Oskar Blues’ IPA. Next up in the fourth round for each:

  • Scale Tipper vs. Lynwood’s Hop Sauce (which eliminated Quarter Celtic’s Clark)
  • Uppercut vs. Old First Ward’s The Streaker
  • Hop Baller vs. Ipswich’s 1620

The fallen in the third round, in addition to Clark, were Canteen’s Tuttle at the hands of Melvin’s Hubert MPA, and Blue Corn’s Witty Hop Pun, which was really and truly knocked out this time by Hops & Grain’s Lupulin Rodeo (initial results had Witty Hop Pun eliminated way back in the first round before a correction was issued).

As for the other three brackets, Bosque’s Southwest Session reached the semifinals of the Session IPA bracket. Southwest Session ousted Saranac’s Gen IV and will now face Fat Heads’ Sunshine Daydream.

Over in the Specialty IPA bracket, Steel Bender’s Manana moved on to the quarterfinals by defeating Boneyard’s Incredible Pulp. Next up will be a showdown with El Segundo’s Cerveza Fresca Guava. Steel Bender’s other entry, Red Iron Red, saw its run come to an end at the hands of Coronado’s North Island IPA.

UPDATE: The results have been posted for the Imperial IPA bracket. The results are not good. The last two New Mexico entries, Quarter Celtic’s Test Batch #1 and Tractor’s Acreage, were eliminated by Lynwood’s El Hombre Enojado and Melvin’s Citradamus.

Congrats to all the New Mexico winners and good luck in the next round!

— Stoutmeister

The Crew had just a wee bit of fun at WinterBrew.

After taking Monday off due to the holiday, we are back today with a look at what were the best beers that we tried up at WinterBrew back on Friday. It was another outstanding event, one that every craft beer lover in New Mexico should attend at least once. The sell-out crowd of 700 was a jovial bunch, enjoying the many unique beers being poured from 18 New Mexico breweries.

As for the Crew, well, we all had our favorites. If the others want to chime in here at some point, I will add them to the story. In the interest of not going two weekdays in a row without content, here are a few of my picks for the best of the fest. (Note: Due in part to the Rail Runner arriving in Santa Fe about 10 minutes late and then the decision by security to close all booths 30 minutes before the event was supposed to end, I did not get to all 18 breweries.)

A crowd of 700-plus enjoyed beers from 18 breweries.

La Santa Oscura, Blue Corn: This is a delightful spiced holiday black lager that is still on tap at the brewery in Santa Fe. Flavors of chocolate and cherry mix in with the Chimayo red chile for a nice, warm kick at the end.

Coyote Waits, Bow & Arrow: At last, I got my hands on the barrel-aged version of this imperial mole stout. It is a big, thick beast of a beer, and the barrel effects bring out more and more of the spice, yet it never overwhelms the palate. It is still available at the brewery.

Galactica DIPA, Marble: Apparently this single-hop, double IPA thing is becoming a trend. Even with just Galaxy, this is a complex, wonderfully big beer. It is not yet on tap at any Marble location, so drink up the rest so a handle becomes available.

Sin Barreras, Rowley Farmhouse Ales: Alas, this specialty imperial stout does not appear to be available at the brewery, but everyone can hope for its eventual appearance. Big flavors of coconut and maple left us all wondering, is it a breakfast beer or a dessert beer?

14K IPA, Santa Fe: This one was a bit of a one-off joke, but it still leaves us hopeful for a future edition of an imperial-strength version of the hugely popular 7K. We would also like to thank the SFBC staff for donating a couple of sixers of 7K to our beer fridges.

XX ESB and Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale, Second Street: A pair of big, malty brews from the new Rufina brewhouse caught our eye. The latter is more sweet than peaty, akin to a heftier version of the Scottish at Nexus. The best news, besides being on tap, is that some of the Plaid is being saved for barrel aging.

Dark Engine Stout on cask, Sidetrack: If you have never had any of the cask beers at Sidetrack, now is the time. There is a batch currently available with dark chocolate added to the beer for an even more decadent flavor.

The Judy, Steel Bender: At some point a break was needed from the big malts and hops, so this seemed like a perfect time to try this sweet saison made with peaches and brett, then aged in Chardonnay barrels. There are still a few bottles left for sale at the brewery, so get them fast, as they are quite worth it. Drink this and dream of spring.

2017 Barleywine, Taos Mesa: Our friends from the north came down not with White Walkers, but instead a different beast. It is big, boozy, and not for the faint of heart. On your next ski trip (assuming we ever get snow), make sure to check this one out.

Infinitesimus Imperial Stout, Turtle Mountain: One of the first big beers we tried was this heavy, chocolate-y behemoth. This is more than worth the trip out to Rio Rancho for anyone living on the East Side of Albuquerque. Or the West Side. Or the South Valley. Or, really, anywhere in the state.

We’re pretty sure Karim liked most of the beers he tried.

As for the rest of the Crew, as their thoughts trickle in, I will share them here:

Jerrad: WinterBrew 2018 was certainly a memorable night, perhaps a bit fuzzy after tasting a few of the killer imperial/double styles available. The libations that stood out for me at this event would have to be Bow & Arrow’s Coyote Waits BA Stout, with its smooth touch of spicy heat on oak and dark/roasty malts. On the other end of the spectrum, Bombs Away Brewing Company’s B.A.B.C. IPA was wonderful with its hazy, softer NE-style IPA approach. A few other notable mentions would go to Rowley Farmhouse Ale’s Aromatherapy IPA, Steel Bender Brewing’s The Judy saison, and Rio Bravo Brewing’s Grab ‘Em by the Putin Imperial Russian stout.

Kristin: While I couldn’t try that many beers since I was working the event, I loved Second Street’s Breaking Plaid Scottish. The smooth malty flavor masked its 9.1-percent ABV. This is both a good and bad thing.

* * * * *

That is all from us. Hope those of you that went enjoyed it as much as we did, while for the rest of you, make sure to get those tickets for 2019!


— Stoutmeister

To everyone that got tickets in time, we will see you Friday night!

The good news is that the beer lineup at WinterBrew looks excellent. The bad news is that the event is sold out. For those who got tickets, well, here ya go, the full slate of beers that have been reported to the Crew.

There are 18 local breweries attending from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Most of the Crew will be taking the Rail Runner north, which departs the Los Ranchos station at approximately 4:41 p.m., dropping us off around 6. If you are going, and want to hang on the train, we will be in the last car.

Anyway, what you really want is a list of the beers being poured. We have 17 of the 18 breweries so far, and will continue to update this as more lists appear in our email inbox. To help everyone out, we are picking the top beer on our list for each brewery, either one we have had before or one we are dying to try. Remember, that’s just our opinion, you are totally free to disagree and drink something else instead.

Blue Corn

Top pick: La Santa Oscura. Luke swears by this holiday-themed dark lager. Cocoa nibs, lactose, cinnamon, and Chimayo red chile add to the fun.

The rest: Blue Corn Mexican Lager, Roadrunner IPA, Oatmeal Stout

Bombs Away

Top pick: Coffee Stout. This one is so new it doesn’t even have an official name, but it could wind up being called Shockwave. Or, we’ll just probably go with delicious.

The rest: Willie Pete Wit, BABC IPA, Bombshell IPL


Top pick: Fresh Start Breakfast Ale. We have sung the praises of this maple-and-coffee delight of a stout many times. This is the last of it, so be prepared to fight us for the last pour.

The rest: (deep breath) Lager, 1888 Blonde Ale, Elephants on Parade, Scotia, IPA, Down in the Hollow Brown, Open Space Haze 120 West and 41 South, Honey Porter, Nathan Ginger Red Ale, Galaxy Far Far Away

Bow & Arrow

Top pick: Coyote Waits. The barrel-aged imperial mole stout is back, with that wonderful kick of spice mixed in.

The rest: Savage Times Sour IPA, Thirsty Land Foraged Series (Grisette with Navajo Tea), Nomadico IPA

Boxing Bear

Top pick: Low Rye-der IPA. Hey, it’s new for us, so we will jump on a new dose of hops with copious amounts of rye mixed in, at least as a break from the big and malty.

The rest: Featherweight Session IPA, Iron Lung Smoked Porter, Uppercut IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout


Top pick: Grunewald Imperial Porter. It has been a while since we have had this behemoth of a beer. The best part is if we like it as much as the last batch, we can always head to the brewery (or taproom) to pick up a bomber to take home. Take note, this and the Titian will not be tapped until after 6:30 p.m.

The rest: Bad Amber, Duchamp, Fiction, Cezanne Magnifique, Dark Ryder, Titian

La Cumbre

Top pick: Business Hammock. Yet another tasty, hazy IPA, this one will make its debut mere hours after another, In the Money, goes on tap and for sale in bombers down at the brewery. Double up on the juice!

The rest: A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Project Dank, Mind Phoq


Top pick: Galactica DIPA. OK, so apparently the big, hoppy beers are not as rare as we anticipated. That being said, of course we will snag some of this out-of-this-world hop bomb.

The rest: Double White, Pilsner, Imperial Red, Cholo Smooth

Rio Bravo

Top pick: Level 3 IPA. The brewery just redid the recipe for this one, so we are intrigued to see what the staff has created.

The rest: Snakebite IPA, Roadkill Red, La Luz Lager, Pinon Coffee Porter, Grab ‘Em By the Putin, BA Cherry Wheat Cuvee, Lemongrass Wit, plus possibly Cascade Pale Ale and either Blueberry Gose or Ruby’s Ruckus


Top pick: Green Chile Beer. Hmm, bringing the spice from the plains? That’s a bold thing to do in Santa Fe.

The rest: Portales Pale Ale, Clovis Point IPA, Happy Heifer Hefeweizen

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Top pick: Sin Barreras. The imperial stout is back, this batch made with coconut and maple. It is always a delight.

The rest: Aromatherapy (IPA), Ab Initio Festivus, Cote-d’Or Cerise Redux

Santa Fe

Top pick: 14K IPA. Wait, what is this? A single keg of 7K that has been amped up so much that the brewery staff dubbed it 14K? Sold!

The rest: 7K IPA, Lustgarten, Imperial Pastry-Free Porter, Black IPA 2.0, Freestyle Pilsner

Second Street

Top pick: Breaking Plaid Scotch Ale. The first beer made at Rufina is a malty beast. We look forward to finally getting some in our glasses.

The rest: Cereza Negra, Agua Fria Pils, 2920 IPA, Civil Rye, Low Winter Sun Sour, XX ESB


Top pick: Dark Engine Stout. Yes, there will be a cask of this wonderful elixir. They added dark chocolate and coconut. Hey, ever festival needs a proper dessert beer.

The rest: 3:10 to Belen Brown, Buzz Bomb, Pub Ale, Turntable IPA

Steel Bender

Top pick: The Judy. Snag a bottle pour of this saison, aged in chardonnay barrels with brett and peaches. There are not many bottles left at SBB.

The rest: Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Brickie American Stout, Die Dunkel Seite

Taos Mesa

All beers TBA


Top pick: Russian Imperial Stout. Oh, hello there Luna de los Muertos. We have missed you!

The rest: Mustachio Milk Stout, Spiced Cider, Turkey Drool, Delicious Red Apple Cider

Turtle Mountain

Top pick: Infinitesimus Imperial Stout. A big beast of darkness to finish things off (alphabetically speaking).

The rest: Arsenal Porter, SCH, Depravity Barleywine, Count Hellesarius

* * * * *

A big thanks to the breweries who responded promptly when we asked for their lists. It is always appreciated.

Enjoy the festival!

— Stoutmeister

Folks will be gathering again at the Taos Ski Area for the annual Brewmasters Festival.

The Taos Brewmasters Festival returns for its 22nd edition this Saturday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. As in the past, it will be held at the base of Lift #1 at the Taos Ski Area, inside Tenderfoot Katie’s and the Martini Tree Bar.

This year’s event will feature 10 New Mexico breweries and a long list of out-of-state breweries, most of which will be represented by their distributors. The out-of-state breweries will include Alaskan, Bell’s, Big Sky, Full Sail, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Shiner, and Upslope.

As for the locals, we asked for their beer lists and half of them responded so far. If others add theirs late, we will update this story, as always.

  • Bosque: TBA
  • Dialogue: TBA
  • Eske’s: unavailable
  • La Cumbre: Project Dank, A Slice of Hefen, Malpais Stout, Imperial Red (collab with Taos Mesa)
  • Marble: Double White, IPA, Red Ale, Pilsner, Oatmeal Stout
  • Santa Fe: TBA
  • Steel Bender: The Judy, Red Iron Red, Skull Bucket IPA, Brickie American Stout, Die Dunkel Seite
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • Three Rivers: Float the Rivers (American lager), Pineberry (IPA), Coco Negro (Imperial stout with Toasted Coconut), Black Lilly (BBA imperial stout)
  • Tractor: Almanac IPA, Mustachio Milk Stout, NM Lager, Delicious Red Apple Cider

If you feel like getting out of town for a weekend, this is always an event worth attending. The entry fee is $30 at the door and you get a commemorative tasting mug.


— Stoutmeister

Here is to another big year at Bosque, and to more beers like the delicious Fresh Start Breakfast Ale.

For my final interview of 2017 (more are coming in 2018, fear not), I sat down with three key members of the command staff at Bosque Brewing to try to somehow recap an insanely busy year and preview what is to come in the next 12 months. Managing director/owner Gabe Jensen, director of operations/owner Jotham Michnovicz, and director of culture and engagement Jess Griego all joined me over some pints at the San Mateo location last week.

The challenge was to recap all that went down in 2017, when Bosque opened a bigger Las Cruces location, expanded its Nob Hill Public House, added another canned beer (Elephants on Parade), added another year-round beer (1888), and just managed to stay constantly busy.

“I think Jotham had a lot to do this year, so I think he should go (first),” Gabe said.

“We opened our Las Cruces Public House and then we re-opened the little beer bar (next door),” Jotham said. “Then we expanded Nob Hill. Then we’re about a quarter of the way through the Bernalillo production facility construction. Open Space (the replacement for the San Mateo location) is in the works now. We purchased the land. It’s fully entitled. We have renderings. We’re pretty close to being done with the floor plates. We’re hoping to break ground with that one before you know it.”

In many ways, the success this year for Bosque was due to things the public did not see.

“I just think we’ve gotten really good at separating our responsibilities,” Jess said. “Trusting each other to do what they’re good at, adding new people onto our leadership team to take over things we know they’re good at so we can focus on bigger picture stuff.”

Jotham agreed, calling 2017 “a year of specialization.”

Gabe said it all came down to the past lessons the staff learned.

“We finished this (San Mateo expansion) about halfway through 2016,” he said. “I think it really, although it didn’t happen this year, in some ways it feels like it did because it was really the blueprint of a lot of what we did. Doing it once here, expansions, kitchens, changing up roles, like Jess was saying, for 2017 for us was marked even more by what happened behind the scenes.”

The Las Cruces expansion started here and finished earlier in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

That was apparent in how Bosque handled the opening of its larger Public House in Las Cruces, while also renovating and keeping the original smaller beer bar next door. What could have been a logistical nightmare was anything but that.

“One of the cool things is that our team has become so big, that we can really hand off a lot of projects or tag-team a lot of projects,” Jotham said. “When we did Las Cruces Public House in April, Gabe, Jess, and I did a ton of time doing that, making sure that it happened and kind of quarterbacking (from afar).

“So then we expand Nob Hill just a couple weeks ago, and I wasn’t even there for the opening night. I did a lot of leg work in the construction process, but then whenever the time came to open the doors and unveil the space, everybody already had everybody trained and everything in place, all the details taken care of. We were able to go away for Thanksgiving and not even be concerned that that taproom had just expanded.”

Jess gave a tremendous amount of credit for the success in Las Cruces to district taproom manager Dakotah Vaughan.

“Again, it just goes back to really entrusting people to do what they’re good at,” Jess said. “We only offer advice and commentary when it’s asked for, but really just letting our district taproom manager Dakotah Vaughan, to do her thing down there. She’s in touch with us daily sometimes. We have a mutual trust there. There’s issues to overcome, storage, getting beer down there twice a week. We knew those were logistical things that we knew we could resolve. Getting our beer to our Las Cruces who love it, that’s our (main) goal. The goal is to just get beer in front of people who want it. We have a really great team down there.”

Just look at all that beautiful space inside the Nob Hill Public House.

The team at Nob Hill also did a great job with that expansion, Jess said. Bosque took over the entire building, breaking down the old wall between its space and the former Wise Pies Pizza location. It also enabled the staff to install a full kitchen, giving Nob Hill the same menu options as San Mateo and creating more of a uniformity between the two Albuquerque locations.

“It’s cohesive,” Jotham said. “All of those things together feel like Bosque now. Before they were kind of disjointed. We felt like we had these different personalities with each place. Now the ambiance and the decor is very similar.”

On the beer side of things, 2017 marked the last year that Bosque will be contract brewing at Sleeping Giant in Denver. Once the Bernalillo production facility is up and running, all Bosque packaged beer will be made in New Mexico.

“There’s been a little bit of stress,” Gabe said. “I’ll start by saying I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone but Sleeping Giant, they’re really great. That being said, I’m really glad that we’ll be able to bring it back in house. The logistics were way, way more overwhelming, there were so many more moving parts to it than I ever imagined. In the summer I was ordering beer for January and I missed it. November was our best month with Admiral package-wise and draft-wise. We were out of IPA for two weeks and Scotia for one of those weeks. We won’t let that happen when we’re making it ourselves.”

Elephants on Parade joined the lineup of packaged beers in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

At the very least, with so much of the heavy production elsewhere, it has freed up brewmaster John Bullard and his staff to keep making innovative and fun one-offs and seasonals. John and company actually had the day off when I visited, one of the first they have all had in a while.

“It’s because they’ve been working so hard,” Gabe said. “I think it’s easy for them to do and they love what they do. They get to really enjoy the fruits of what they do. That’s really what it’s all about. …

“(John) has fun making it and fun drinking it. I think we’ve been able to get back to there. That’s where we’re really going to be able to have a lot of fun and do a lot of fun stuff with all our customers once we have Bernalillo open. We can keep making IPA every day but still have the space to just do what craft beer was the reason why we got in this, because it’s fun and enjoyable.”

Another fun beer for the staff has been 1888, the blonde ale made in conjunction with the New Mexico State athletics department. That all came together in part because most of the Bosque leadership team is either from Las Cruces and/or graduated from NMSU.

“I was joking with Gabe that I pictured eight-year-old Gabe just like freaking out that he gets to work with NMSU athletics,” Jotham said.

“That’s pretty much how it worked out,” Gabe said. “I grew up in Cruces, I grew up an Aggie basketball fan, especially. I take some credit with the football team going to a bowl; it’s the first year they’ve had an official beer and the first year they’ve gone to a bowl (in 57 years). I’ve got to imagine there’s a correlation there, if not a correlation, a causation. It’s been fun for me just reaching out as an Aggie fan.”

Gabe said that doing the 1888 has helped erase any stigma that Bosque was some sort of northern interloper intruding on Las Cruces. It has further helped the brewery grow and take off with customers in Southern New Mexico.

“With the 1888, it came about because we donated some beer to an event a couple years ago,” Gabe said. “They didn’t reach out to me or Kevin or Jotham, they reached out to Dakotah. She put us in touch. After that our relationship grew. IMG, the licensing company, called and they were thinking about consumables. They knew we made beer and were alumni. It works with the fight song. Now that it’s out and down there, it sells like crazy. … It’s been fun. I’m looking forward to getting it packaged. I think it will do well.”

The 1888 will be the first new beer to be packaged at Bernalillo in 2018, joining IPA, Scotia, Lager, and Elephants on Parade.

Production comes home and home moves up the road in 2018

Things are on the move at Bernalillo. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Clearly the two biggest projects for Bosque in the coming year will be Bernalillo and Open Space, the replacement for the San Mateo location. The time table for the former has not changed yet, while the latter has been pushed back a bit.

“Bernalillo is going to kick off, we’re hoping that’s going to be ready at the end of the first quarter, hopefully it doesn’t go into the second quarter, but we’ll see,” Jotham said. “Then, we’re looking at Q3 for the Open Space Project.”

For those not familiar with financial quarters, that means March/April for Bernalillo and some time between July and September for Open Space.

“Those are two of the biggest projects we’ve ever done,” Jess said.

Construction is well underway at Bernalillo after Bosque had to wait seemingly forever for the State Department of Transportation to sign off (due mainly to its construction plans for widening Highway 550).

“They’ve got all the structural seal in place,” Jotham said. “The site utilities are pretty much all the way in now. They’re going to start grading and paving really soon. Interior framing is already going up. The equipment is going to be moved in (this) week. It’s a humongous facility, there’s a lot of moving parts, but at the same time it’s a brewery. You’ve just got to put some tanks in there. A lot of it is the equipment installation before it becomes functional. Otherwise it’s just walls and drains.”

Gabe and Jess both added that no one on staff is losing sleep over Bernalillo like they used to with past projects.

“Obviously, it’s the biggest projects, but for me it’s not that overwhelming,” Gabe said. “We’ve done a lot of the hard work on Bernalillo (already). Then the Open Space Project on Venice, that’s a lot of extension (from what) we learned a lot with Bernalillo. I know what they’re asking when they ask for certain things. The four of us sitting in the architect’s office, it’s been fun doing a ground-up project.”

Jess said it was fun watching John going over how he was setting up his brewery at Open Space, truly building it from scratch. In many ways it was the culmination of all the past hard work.

“We used to be upset that we didn’t have enough money to do what we wanted in the beginning,” Gabe said. “Now, looking back on it, we all are glad that we had four or five years to really figure out what it is we’re trying to do. Now with the big spaces we’ve done it a couple times. I’m really excited about the space for the brewers and for the customer side, just to be able to sit there and enjoy (themselves). We’re going to be able to provide that in a way that we’ve been trying for a long time, too. That’s been a driving factor. 2018 is going to be interesting in finally getting to this point of finally getting to this point.”

The silo is in place at Bernalillo, and more equipment is on the way. (Photo courtesy of Bosque)

Gabe did add that while the staff might take a breather for a bit once Bernalillo and Open Space are complete, Bosque will never pass up a good opportunity should it come along. There will be two separate small brewer licenses, creating the opportunity to add more taprooms. Gabe mentioned another in Albuquerque is possible, while Santa Fe and other New Mexico towns will also be considered.

“Some of what we do, I wouldn’t call it reactionary, but we’re constantly evaluating things,” Jotham added. “If there’s a new opportunity that comes up that seems exciting and doesn’t seem like it will be too much work, then we usually will at least pursue it a little bit. We’ve evaluated other projects and have actually gotten far down the road on a couple of them, then we decided it doesn’t live up to our values, live up to our beer.”

For the start of 2018, the focus will remain squarely on getting those two big projects done, while also making sure the customer experience at all the existing locations will continue to be top notch.

“The buildings are cool, but what they accomplish is what we’ve been trying to accomplish from day one,” Gabe said. “We came in here wanting to do something to the best of our abilities. Jess always talks about outdoing ourselves. We’ve had a lot of reflection time this year. Why are doing what we’re doing? What is the growth strategy? Are we growing just to grow or is there something behind it?

“It stems from wanting and desiring a place to make and drink fun, good beer. There’s this intersection of place that when we first opened it was fine for what it was. Then we expanded this and we created the new space in Cruces and then Nob Hill. I think it’s almost the culmination of that. This year, these huge spaces are filling up, yet it’s still comfortable, it’s not jam-packed. It doesn’t feel stuffy. It’s not just like a restaurant.”

All of us in the Crew cannot wait to see these big projects finally come to fruition. It has been fun being there from before day one with Bosque, back when we toured the unfinished San Mateo space. To see where the brewery has come since then has been an enjoyable ride for us as well. A huge thanks to Gabe, Jess, and Jotham for taking the time out to talk last week. We cannot wait to tour Bernalillo and Open Space in 2018.

Until then, I will just have to keep stopping by and drinking the Fresh Start Breakfast Ale until it is gone and then I can bug John to make some more.


— Stoutmeister

A replacement for the original Bosque location is coming in 2018.

The cat finally got out of the proverbial bag late Monday afternoon as Bosque Brewing officially announced it will be replacing its original San Mateo location in 2018. The new spot will be located along the southbound Interstate 25 frontage road along Venice Avenue, in between two existing buildings.

“We purchased a piece of land up here off of the frontage road, between Arizona Tile and the University of Phoenix,” said director of operations/co-owner Jotham Michnovicz. “It’s 1.75 acres and we are going to get rid of the strip mall struggle.”

One of the Bosque employees tipped us off about this potential move a while back, but we had to wait until the full purchase of the property was complete. The new location will be purpose-built as a brewery, housing a 15-barrel brewhouse that will be responsible for producing much of the draft-0nly beers, as well as special seasonal and specialty releases. The production facility in Bernalillo, which is also currently under construction, will handle the main packaged brands (IPA, Lager, Elephants on Parade, Scotia, 1888 Golden Ale) for mass distribution.

“Basically, what we’re going to do is build a brewery that’s more of a production facility,” Jotham said of the new site. “We’ve been wanting to do a lot of fun beers and we haven’t really had the space to do them in volume yet. So, this new building that we’re going to have is a three-story building. The third story (includes) a rooftop patio. The patio is basically a wrap-around. There’s going to be a first-, second-, and third-story patios. You’ll be able to get views of the Balloon Fiesta as well (as the Sandias).”

The first four will not feature any seating, just a standing bar and tables, with glass windows to look into the brewery, said managing director/co-owner Gabe Jensen.

“I’m just excited about the concept of open spaces,” Gabe said. “Downstairs is not going to have any seating. The restaurant (with seating) will be on the second floor. Downstairs will have an open feel so you can browse whatever those things are. We want to have a yard outside. We’re going to have a full-sized bocce ball court, which I’m excited about.”

Gabe said that adding the new project on top of Bernalillo, while having just finished the full retrofit on Las Cruces, and still working on the expansion of the Nob Hill taproom, will be quite the challenge.

“I think the biggest challenge is going to be the fact that we’re going to open Bernalillo very close to when we’re going to open here,” he said. “Even though we haven’t broken ground here, it’s a quicker build, because like you said it’s from scratch and we’re not trying to retrofit things and permitting is more linear. Submit this and you know when you can start. I’m guessing we’re about three-to-four months apart from when we open Bernalillo in February to when we’re going to open this one in April or May, hopefully.”

Getting everything done by May 1 will be key, Gabe added, because that is the end of the current lease at the San Mateo location.

The main focus of the new location, on top of being a fun place to drink beer for customers, is to create more space and improve the existing San Mateo brewery. A new 15-barrel brewhouse will be installed, which will enable the existing brewery to still operate right until the new one is ready to go.

“A big part of that is, we have someone interested in (buying) this one, but we need to install a new while this is still going,” Gabe said. “Putting ourselves three months out of commission wouldn’t be good.”

Gabe said that the goal will be to use the new brewery to be limited runs of specialty beers that can be packaged, but in cans instead of 22-ounce bombers.

“I’m pretty sure, that aside from barrel-aged stuff, bombers are going away, just in general,” he said. “There’s a use for them, but just as a preferred platform for beer, I don’t think it’s there anymore, even for specialty.”

In the end, Bosque will have more room for brewing, which is the most important thing.

“The bottom floor is the biggest footprint,” Jotham said. “The back end is where the brewery is. We’ve got about 5,000 square feet for the brewery, I think, not including the (walk-in) cooler, of course. It’s a nice yard space space for distro.”

That will include, yes, more parking.

“A huge, huge part of the reason we’re (moving),” Gabe said. “We were looking at buying this building, but you come in here Friday at 4 p.m., there’s 88 spaces out there, and 20 are taken by co-workers, another 20 by other tenants, and now you only have 48 plus our distro stuff.”

Jotham said there will be between 90 to 100 spaces just for customers at the new location, with employee and truck parking in a separate area.

Modulus Architects and Snyder Construction will break ground soon on the new facility. The San Mateo location will stay open at least through April.


— Stoutmeister