Posts Tagged ‘Bosque Brewing’

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!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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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

Bosque

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

Duel

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

Marble

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

Roosevelt

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

Sidetrack

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

Tractor

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.

Cheers!

— 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.

Cheers!

— 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.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

It’s go-time for New Mexico breweries at the Great American Beer Festival this week!

The Great American Beer Festival returns this Thursday through Saturday at the Denver Convention Center, and once again New Mexico breweries will be well represented. This year the Crew is dispatching yours truly, plus Franz Solo, via the magic of press passes (Luke will also be there, but as a civilian, and we just want him to focus on having fun and not worry about work). We will be on hand for the sessions on Thursday and Friday nights, plus Saturday afternoon, and the awards ceremony before that.

For those who have never been, GABF is a massive event. It takes over a convention center several times the size of ours here in Albuquerque. In fact, the total space for the festival is equivalent to seven football fields. Breweries from around the United States will be on hand, some represented at hundreds of booths, others are just on hand for the competition.

There will be 12 New Mexico breweries represented, plus Marble gets a second booth this year (ah, the benefits of having two small brewer licenses between downtown and the Heights location). The majority (Bathtub Row, Bosque, Boxing Bear, La Cumbre, both Marble, Santa Fe, Sierra Blanca, Starr Brothers) are in the Southwest region, grouped with breweries from Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana. Dialogue Brewing will be in the Meet the Brewer area, while Blue Corn, Canteen, and Quarter Celtic will be in the Brewpub Pavilion. The New Mexico Brewers Guild will also have a booth along with the other state guilds, pouring beers from breweries without their own booths.

A lot of this probably does not mean much to many of you, who did not get (or even try to get) tickets to the event. For most folks back home, us going up and talking about what a great time we are having is almost a little callous. Our main goal with this event is to provide coverage of the awards ceremony, while also letting everyone in Denver know about the greatness of our breweries (more tourists can be a good thing), and of course trying lots of new beers that you can either seek out on your next vacation or via distribution.

Speaking of the awards ceremony, this year we have been privy to the competition beer lists for most of our local breweries. The awards ceremony happens Saturday at 10 a.m., and will be broadcast live over the internet. You can go to the GABF website that morning and find the link, but be forewarned, it is a notoriously fickle broadcast. We will have live updates via all three of our main social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). We also hope to have some live FB videos from the event. Since there are two of us, it should go a little smoother than last year. (Sorry again about the shaky cam motion sickness, Lonnie.)

Here are the competition lists we were sent from the Guild or directly from some breweries. Some may be incomplete, or are missing a key bit of info (name of beer, or which category that beer is being judged in). We are listing them by awards category, so you know which ones to pay attention to and which ones to run over and refill your coffee mug.

  • 4 Fruit Wheat Beer: Bosque Elephants on Parade, Sierra Blanca Cherry Wheat
  • 8 Chili Beer: Sierra Blanca Green Chile Cerveza
  • 9 Herb and Spice Beer: Blue Corn Ginger Braggot, Chama River Haru, Red Door Vanilla Cream Ale
  • 11 Coffee Beer: Blue Corn Apparition Pale Coffee Ale, Rio Bravo Pinon Coffee Porter
  • 15 Honey Beer: Nexus Honey Chamomile Wheat, Turtle Mountain Pour les Abeilles
  • 17 Session IPA: Boxing Bear Featherweight
  • 18a Other Strong Beer: Marble Double White, Nexus Imperial Cream Ale
  • 19a Experimental Beer: La Cumbre Hibiscus Quercus
  • 20 Fresh or Wet Hop Ale: Bosque Acequia IPA, Quarter Celtic Clark
  • 23 Belgo American Pale Ale: Second Street Diablo Canyon
  • 24 American-Style Sour Ale: Ponderosa Sour Belgian Brown
  • 26 Brett Beer: Flix Brewhouse Eater of Worlds
  • 28b Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer: La Cumbre Ryeot on Bourbon,
  • 29 Wood Aged Strong Beer: Bow & Arrow Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison, Chama River Natalia Polnoch’
  • 34b Zwicklebier: Marble Pilsner, Rio Bravo La Luz Light Lager
  • 36a American-Style Pilsner: Canteen Laid Back Lager
  • 36b International-Style Pilsner: La Cumbre BEER, Quarter Celtic Pedro O’Flannigan’s
  • 40b American Amber Lager – California Common: Second Street Rod’s Steam Bitter,
  • 41 German-Style Pilsner: Bow & Arrow Jemez Field Notes, Santa Fe Freestyle Pilsner, Sierra Blanca Desert Pilsner
  • 42 Bohemian Pilsner: Boxing Bear Body Czech Bo Pils, Canteen High Plains Pils, Dialogue Bo Pils, Sidetrack Pilsner
  • 47a Munich-Style Dunkel: Marble Dupy’s Dunkel
  • 49b German-Style Bock: Marble Maibock
  • 50a Doppelbock: Flix Brewhouse Now and Later, Nexus Doppelspock, Turtle Mountain SCH
  • 52 Blonde Ale: Starr Brothers L.A. Woman
  • 53 German-Style Kolsch: Canteen Kolsch, Chama River Kolsch, Steel Bender Lloyd’s 3 O’Clock Kolsch
  • 56 English-Style IPA: Santa Fe Happy Camper IPA
  • 58 American-Style Pale Ale: Marble Pale Ale
  • 59 American Strong Pale Ale: Second Street 2920 IPA, Santa Fe 7K IPA
  • 60 American-Style IPA: Starr Brothers Starrstruck, La Cumbre Project Dank
  • 61 Imperial IPA: Second Street Imperial IPA, Canteen Astro Hound
  • 62 American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Red Door Roamer Red
  • 63 Double Red Ale: Steel Bender Red Iron Red, Boxing Bear The Red Glove, Bosque IRA, Starr Brothers Red Zepplin
  • 64 Imperial Red: Marble Imperial Red
  • 66b Special Bitter: Sidetrack Pub Ale
  • 67a American-Style Extra Special Bitter: Rio Bravo Amber
  • 67b Extra Special Bitter: Steel Bender Sparkfitter Amber
  • 69 Irish-Style Red Ale: Sidetrack Railhead Red, Quarter Celtic Crimson Lass
  • 70 English-Style Brown Ale: Sierra Blanca Bone Chiller, Santa Fe Nut Brown
  • 71 American-Style Brown Ale: Blue Corn End of the Trail Brown Ale, Ponderosa Bellamah Brown
  • 72 American-Style Black Ale: Bosque Fifth Value, Quarter Celtic Bruce
  • 73 Berliner Weisse: Bow & Arrow Way Out West Sour, Dialogue Berliner Weisse
  • 74b Contemporary Gose: Marble Passionate Gose, Rio Bravo Peach Gose
  • 79 Witbier: Flix Brewhouse Luna Rosa, Red Door Trapdoor White Ale
  • 80 Classic Saison: Bow & Arrow Sun Dagger
  • 85 Belgian Tripel: Flix Brewhouse Tripel Whammy
  • 86a Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale: Ponderosa Preacher’s Daughter
  • 89 Robust Porter: Starr Brothers Lampshade Porter
  • 90 Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout: Steel Bender Blue Bullet Stout
  • 92 American-Style Stout: Marble Cholo Stout
  • 93 Sweet or Cream Stout: Boxing Bear Chocolate Milk Stout, Red Door Paint it Black Milk Stout
  • 94 Oatmeal Stout: Blue Corn Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout, Sidetrack Dark Engine Stout
  • 96a Scottish Ale: Nexus Scotch Ale

The American-Style IPA category is always announced last, due to the fact it is the biggest (270-plus entries last year). And, yes, Chama River was still able to enter beers even though it technically no longer exists. Not sure how that works, but it does.

Among the beers with mystery categories, there is Dialogue’s Biere de Mars and Sour Raz, Rowley Farmhouse Ales’ Saison du Sarlacc, and Turtle Mountain’s Hard Bock Life. We can probably guess the categories, but for now we will just list them as unknown. We also know that Spotted Dog has beers in categories 57a (Australian or International-Style Pale Ale), 80 (Classic Saison), and 93 (Sweet Stout or Cream Stout), just not the name of any of those beers.

If any other New Mexico breweries have beers entered, we will find out one way or the other.

How well have our breweries done in the past? Well, Boxing Bear was the Mid-Size Brew Pub of the Year in 2016 and Marble Brewery was the Small Brewery of the Year in 2014. Canteen/Il Vicino has won 12 medals since 1995, Marble has won nine medals since 2011, and Chama River will try to add one or more to its total of eight since 2002. New Mexico has routinely ranked in the top percentage of medals in relation to state population and number of breweries.

If any of you are headed up and spot us amid the crowd (it can happen, just ask Michael Waddy from Kaktus), come over and say hello. We will always be more than willing to share what great beers we have found in our wanderings.

Some final tips if you are going.

  • Download the GABF app for your phone if you have not already. Tag the breweries you want to visit, and they will show up on your map. This is invaluable.
  • Keep an eye out for timed releases. Many of your favorite breweries will have small runs of some of their most exclusive beers. They will likely be announced on social media, so make sure you follow your favorites.
  • Hydrate! There are water stations everywhere. They are not just for washing out your glasses. Yes, it might send you to the bathroom faster than you want, but unless you are a human camel, you will have to go sooner or later.
  • Do not drive downtown. This is not just a safety issue, it is to spare you from the chaos of thousands of pedestrians in different states of inebriation, Uber/Lyft drivers, hundreds of taxis, one-way streets, and a whole lotta police. Leave the car at your hotel/friend’s house/Air BnB, wherever you are staying. Oh, and the cost of parking in downtown Denver goes through the roof during GABF, if you can even find a spot.
  • Check the main website for all the off-site events, and do a quick Google search for others. This could be especially relevant if you are not attending all the sessions, or you need something to do during the day besides wander aimlessly around downtown. Some of these are as fun as GABF itself, some might be even more fun if you are into certain beer styles that are represented at their own events.
  • There are too many good food options to possibly list here in Denver, but a few of our favorites include Jelly for brunch/breakfast, and then Rhein Haus, Freshcraft, Wynkoop, Rock Bottom (for a chain, they’re quality), and Breck on Blake (great guest beer menu) for lunch/dinner. There are plenty of food options within the convention center as well, so please do not attempt to get through a session on little or nothing but beer in your belly. It will not end well.
  • Breweries within spitting distance of downtown include some of our favorites, like Prost, TRVE, Great Divide, Our Mutual Friend, Ratio, and Spangalang, plus Crooked Stave if you love sours. Also, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, which is up by Crooked Stave, comes with the seal of approval of La Cumbre’s Jeff Erway. In fact, we fear that if we did not recommend you go there, Jeff would probably disown us and abandon us somewhere in the wilderness.

OK, that is all from us for now. If you have any questions at any point this weekend, whether you are going to be in Denver or are staying home, do not hesitate to contact us via the usual ways.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The annual autumnal festival returns to the mountains above Los Alamos. Skal!

The days are getting shorter, and there’s a bit of a nip in the air here in the higher elevations. Fall will be here soon, officially, and with it the prospect of snow. To many people, snow means skiing, but, only if there’s enough of it! To please Ullr, the Norse god of snow and winter, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and the Los Alamos Ski Club host a festival each fall in the hope of bringing abundant snow. And, if you’re going to host a Nordic-themed festival, then you’re certainly going to include an abundance of beer.

This year’s ULLR Fest will be taking place Saturday at the Pajarito Mountain above Los Alamos. The weather has been very nice, so it should be a very pleasant afternoon (though being a mountain, you have to prepare for nearly anything, so dust off those hoodies). Being a themed event, there will be a costume contest, so bring your finest Viking garb.

Several New Mexico breweries will be in attendance to satisfy your thirst, and wine will also be available. For $15, you get a souvenir glass, unlimited tastings, and a pint of your favorite beer. Pints will also be available for purchase (cash only, please). Bring your ID! The beer portion of the event will begin at noon and run until 5 p.m.

Stoutmeister has been hard at work putting together beer lists for the attending breweries, and so far most have responded. Hopefully we hear back from the last three breweries before the festival begins.

  • Bathtub Row: Hoppenheimer IPA, Kritical Kolsch, Flat Cap Brown
  • Blue Corn: Apparition Pale Coffee Ale, Saison aged with Brett, Gold Medal Oatmeal Stout, Ginger Braggot
  • Bosque: Elephants on Parade, Oktoberfest, Pistol Pete’s 1888 Blonde Ale, Bosque IPA
  • UPDATED–> Boxing Bear: Uppercut IPA, Ambear, Chocolate Milk Stout, Pineapple Upside Down Beer, Cider
  • La Cumbre: TBA
  • Marble: Double White, IPA, Pilsner, Marblefest (making its debut!)
  • Red Door: Blackberry Hefeweizen, White AF IPA, Roamer Red, Oktoberfest
  • Santa Fe: Santa Fe Gold, 7K IPA, Happy Camper IPA, Nut Brown
  • Second Street: Fulcrum IPA, Atalaya Altbier, LVL Stout, Summer Rain Sour, Double X ESB, Kolsch
  • Taos Mesa: Mosaic IPA, Black Widow Porter, Kolsch 45, Great Scot Scottish
  • The 377: TBA

There are numerous other fun events planned for the day:

  • Disc Golf tournament begins at 10 a.m. at the Lodge; entry is $20. There are Pro/Advanced/Novice/Female Divisions. Cash payout for top three players in each division.
  • STRAVA self-timed downhill mountain bike race (download the app and time your run as many times as you want, prizes for the best time at the end of the day). This event is free.
  • Pajarito Poker Run mountain bike ride (pick a card as you board the lift each time, take any run you want, best two hands at the end of the day wins a prize). This event is also free.
  • NEW THIS YEAR: Downhill Mountain Bike Rentals and free lessons all weekend.
  • Lift Served Biking and Hiking 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

On top of that, there will be some great music provided by Bronach and Felix y Los Gatos.  The cafeteria will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to soak up the beer.

As usual, a shuttle will run between Sullivan Field (adjacent to Los Alamos High School) and the ski area every 30 minutes, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Also, shuttle service will be available to the White Rock Visitor Center. Call 661-RIDE (7433) to arrange that service.

Cheers!

— Reid

Stoutmeister gazes upon the glory of Bosque’s Rio Vallecitos. Or he’s reacting to Arizona’s football season already going down the drain, wondering if the hops can save him.

The advent of fall is near upon us, and the time of the harvest for all things green and good has begun in earnest. The season of the malt draws ever closer, but we are in the best days for some of the juiciest and most sought after IPAs in the land. For those of you who have not yet tried a “wet hopped” beer to date, and are of the IPA proclivity, then you are in for a treat over the coming weeks.

There are a number of different ways in which hops are added to our beers. Primarily you will have dry hop pellets as your main hop source in most beers, while occasionally, during harvest season in particular, you will have the opportunity to add fresh picked hops for an entirely distinct experience. Three breweries here in the Duke city currently have wet-hopped IPAs available, but they will assuredly not last very long in this land of hops and green chile.

Bosque has a good history with these types of IPAs, owing to the success of Acequia IPA at the Great American Beer Festival (three medals total, including a gold in 2015), and this year they have gone all out with a series of four wet-hopped IPAs slated to come out over the next few weeks. Rio Vallecitos DIPA is their first entry in the series and clocks in at a sessional 8.8-percent ABV and 95 IBUs. The aroma is of sweet lemon and caracara orange, with a hint of peppery thyme that is simply lovely. Flavor-wise, we begin with a clean, peppery bitter start, juicy citrus with a bit of melon, tangerine, and pine spice to finish.

Get it on tap, or get it to go!

La Cumbre has released a wet-hopped version of our beloved Elevated, which is available both on draft and in bombers. Wet Hopped Elevated clocks in at 7.2-percent ABV and 100-plus IBUs. This one is pure dank, like the cannabis cousin of the hop, which shares in the same harvest time. The aroma is pure weed, while the flavor matches the aroma perfectly with that sweet golden elixir and juicy cannabis with a clean sweet finish.

Quarter Celtic has also just entered the fray with a wet-hopped version of Clark containing barely two-day-old freshly harvested hops from Colorado. This hazy variant clocks in at an immensely quaffable 6-percent ABV and 60 IBUs, which is on the slightly sweeter side of the IPA style. The aroma is of orange and kush straight out of the mountains. Flavor-wise, this one goes all the way back with orange and lemon kush resins flying from the devil’s fingertips … er, something.

All that haze on the left is Fresh Hop Clark, while the original version is available for comparison.

Go forth and procure these quickly as they will be gone like the last days of summer in but an instant!

Skål!

— Franz Solo

The swanky new patio bar at Rock & Brews will be running for their Saturday beer festival. (Photo courtesy of Rock & Brews)

Fridays are always a good day to catch up on all the news that would otherwise slip through the cracks. This week, we have some changes with the front-of-house at Rio Bravo, two special brews for college rivals UNM and NMSU, a Saturday beer fest at Rock & Brews, and, yes, of course some news on forthcoming breweries and off-site taprooms.

Moving and shaking at Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo has turned over three key positions recently, all designed to help the brewery run even better than before.

“We’ve got a lot of new people in here,” head brewer Ty Levis said. “We’re seeing some big changes, some real social media push, some (big) events coming up.”

As many have probably heard, Amberley Pyles is the new marketing and social media director. She brings a wealth of experience from her time at Marble Brewery.

Joining her are bar manager Chrystal Buzzard, who comes from Vintage in the Northeast Heights, and general manager Aaron Jackson, who has managed at numerous bars and restaurants at night over the years in addition to corporate management during the day.

Aaron and Amberley have already been making sure Rio Bravo takes advantage of its huge beer garden in the back for outdoor concerts and other events.

“We’ve had quite a few concerts back there now that we’ve had 300-plus people,” Aaron said. “We have many more to come this next month.”

One of the biggest upcoming events at the brewery will be its second anniversary party on September 22. That day will also mark the debut of The Burger Stand at Rio Bravo, which will make it the first brewery in the Wells Park neighborhood with a full kitchen.

“It will keep people here for a second beer,” Ty said. “It really does make a difference in the grand scheme of things.”

Rio Grande Rivalry gets its own beers

For those who do not subscribe to the Albuquerque Journal, you might have missed the back-to-back stories on two local breweries partnering with our state’s two main universities.

Bosque Brewing will join forces with New Mexico State to create Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, a blonde ale that will first go on tap at the Las Cruces taproom (natch). It will eventually be available at both Albuquerque locations as well, and at Aggies sporting events in Las Cruces.

“We are really excited to do this beer in collaboration with NMSU,” Bosque owner Gabe Jensen wrote in an email. “We have had great support in Las Cruces and being an alum of NMSU, just made this make sense. Not to mention how excited I am to have this beer available year round. It’s one of my favorite beers we’ve done.”

Once the Bosque production facility in Bernalillo is done, the 1888 will be canned as well and available in statewide distribution.

Meanwhile, the University of New Mexico will team up with Kellys Brew Pub and Santa Fe Dining to create Lobo Red Ale. There are plans to eventually can this beer as well, but for now look for on tap at Kellys and UNM sporting events. It should also be available at Chama River and Blue Corn, the other two breweries owned by parent company Santa Fe Dining.

Rock & Brews taps a wide variety of beers for patio festival

Before summer completely disappears, Rock & Brews is hosting a beer festival on the patio this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. There are special VIP tickets available in advance, which gets you two special pours and a commemorative shirt. Regular tickets cost $15 if you purchase in advance, going up to $20 at the start Saturday.

The beer list definitely has a fruity theme to it. Here is the mix of unique local and regional beers on tap.

  • Boxing Bear: AppleBear Cider
  • Marble: Strawberry Gose
  • Ponderosa: Raspberry Saison
  • Rio Bravo: Pink Boots Pale Ale (brewed in collaboration with ABQ chapter of Pink Boots Society)
  • Sierra Blanca: Cherry Wheat
  • Starr Brothers: Piney the Apple
  • Steel Bender: Saison de la Rosa (exclusive pour)
  • Golden Road: Tart Mango
  • Great Divide: Grapefruit Roadie
  • Oskar Blues: Fugly
  • Uinta: Lime Pilsner
  • Upslope: Belgian Blonde with guava

New brewery and taproom updates

We have news on two forthcoming taprooms, but at the request of the breweries, we are withholding their names. One taproom will be somewhere in the university area. We do not know the exact location, but it is a ways off, so stay tuned.

The other taproom is from an existing brewery in Southeastern New Mexico, but it will not be in the same town as its mothership. Instead, it will be the first craft taproom in Roswell. With a population of more than 45,000 people, Roswell is the largest town in New Mexico with no craft brewery or taproom to call its own. Again, once we get the green light to name the brewery and identify the taproom location, we will share it.

As for new breweries, we do have one new name since our last Beer Notes. Elkins Brewing is looking to open in Grants some time in the near future. As of right now, Elkins does not have any social media presence that we could find. If that changes, we will share it on our corresponding social media pages.

Otherwise, the forthcoming brewery list remains as follows (in Albuquerque unless noted): Bare Bones Brewing (Cedar Crest), BLUE, Bombs Away Beer Company, Cantero Brewing, Glencoe Distillery and Brewery (Ruidoso), Guadalupe Mountain Brewing (Carlsbad), Hollow Spirits, Lava Rock Brewing, Lost Hiker Brewing (Ruidoso), Switchback Brewery (Cloudcroft), Red River Brewing, Toltec Brewing, Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe), Volume 31 Brewing.

Also, while Sandbar Brewery and Grill is now open, its small brewers license is still listed as pending, so it does not yet have its own beer on tap. When it does, we will head over to try it.

That is all for now. See some of you at the Slayer/Behemoth/Lamb of God show on Saturday!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Long after it was first announced, everything is full-steam ahead at Bosque’s Bernalillo site.

After being stuck in a holding pattern for a while, everything is suddenly coming together for Bosque Brewing. In summation, everything is a go at Bernalillo, the Nob Hill taproom is growing bigger, Las Cruces is proving whatever is old is new again, and the wet hops are coming. Got all that? Here is the full breakdown, courtesy of Bosque director of operations Jotham Michnovicz.

Bernalillo is a go at long last

Bosque started contract brewing at Sleeping Giant in Denver with the idea of it only being a temporary situation until the completion of the new production facility at the old Jackalope location along Highway 550 in Bernalillo.

It has not worked out according to plan, but there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Bernalillo has been the thorn in my side for several months now,” Jotham said. “There are so many different governmental agencies and municipalities that are playing into the permits. The (Department of Transportation) wants one thing and that sets the whole permit (process) back because it has to be reviewed all these different people. It slows everything down. So, basically, it’s just been really, really difficult. All of our equipment is in. Everything that we were supposed to do has been done. We were waiting on a final permit.”

The wait ended Monday.

“I got a call (Monday) that the permit is in hand and was delivered to Bernalillo,” Jotham said. “So, basically, they are full-steam ahead now. They have been doing all the work that they can do up until having the permit. Now that they have the permit in hand they can just go full force. So you’re going to start seeing a lot of movement out there and a lot of progress being made. The landlord called me, the contractor called me, it was a big deal.”

The big hold-up with the DOT relates to the plans to expand and revamp 550 through Bernalillo. Anyone traveling along that road during morning or evening rush hour knows how badly traffic can back up coming from or heading to Interstate 25. The plans for the road are now settled, so the DOT in turn has granted Bosque permission to start full reconstruction of the old Jackalope building. Once it is complete, it will house the primary production brewery for all of the canned and bottle Bosque beers (seasonal/specialty beers will still be done on the old brewhouse at San Mateo), plus it will have its own taproom space.

That alone should have been a huge relief to the Bosque staff. It was not the only recent good news, however.

Public House set to double in size in Nob Hill

It has been quite some time since the Bosque taproom’s neighbor, Wise Pies Pizza, closed its doors in Nob Hill. The space sat vacant for months, but that is about to end. Bosque is expanding into the space, taking over the entire building near Girard and Central.

“As with everything at Bosque, that was delayed quite a bit,” Jotham said. “But we finally got a permit for that one as well. We started construction on that last week. We took over the Wise Pies space. What we’re going to do is convert it to a full kitchen since we have the same setup we had here at San Mateo, just panini presses and limited equipment. That’s going to be a full commercial kitchen. The full menu you see at San Mateo will be available there. There will be a lot more seating. It’s just going to be a lot more comfortable like you see here.”

The wall between the two spaces will be knocked out in the coming months so that the two will truly feel like one space.

“The whole space is going to be ours,” Jotham said. “We’re creating the space to be a lot more cohesive. I think when you go to a lot of restaurants and they add on, it’s like you put me in the little kids room or something. We’re designing it so the whole space is going to function as one. It’s going to be awesome.”

The goal is have everything done before the end of the year in Nob Hill, Jotham said.

“I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen down there,” he added. “(Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction) is about to finish up. Love it or hate it, ART’s a thing. Everybody has been experiencing a down time in that area. We’re going to open our doors to a taproom that’s twice the size with ART being finished up and school back in town. I think it has the potential to be pretty crazy. We’re also going to be installing a really cool shade structure on the patio. It’s going to have those shade sails, so it’s going to be really nice.”

Two for one taprooms in Las Cruces

Down south, Bosque’s popularity is through the roof. The brewery moved its taproom to a larger space in the same complex across from New Mexico State University, but it was still packed to the gills. The good news is that Bosque never gave up the old taproom space, so now it will reopen as a no-frills beer bar.

“So the old space, you’re right, we closed it down after we opened the new space,” Jotham said. “The new space is located about three doors west of the old space. We have three to four times the amount of space. We have a full kitchen there, just a lot more area for people to roam around. But people have definitely been clamoring for that old space to (re)open. They like the small bar feel.”

The primary reason for the closure was the rather desperate need to finally fix up the original spot.

“That space had been used by another taproom before us, so it had been pretty beat up,” Jotham said. “We put a fresh coat of paint on it. … We went ahead and just made it look and feel like the other (taprooms). We got some new tables in there, those will come in this week, and we got a bigger draft system. We fixed up the patio a little bit. That should all open within a few weeks.”

The new taproom space has a full kitchen, making it more of a true brewpub. The original spot will cater more to the beer-only crowd.

“It’s going to kind of work in tandem with the other place, but they will be (distinctly) separate spots,” Jotham said. “One spot will have Bosque food (while) the beer bar will be a place where people can bring in their own food if they want to. Only communal tables and a bar top. The patio is going to have backyard-style furniture, so it will have a more backyard feel, I guess. It’s going to be focused on packaged beer, merchandise, a lot of that kind of stuff.”

All the Bosque fans in Las Cruces, and their friends from El Paso, will rejoice that there will be more space for drinking beers, eating food, and getting beer to go.

A new can and a new beer series

Anyone visiting a local liquor store or supermarket lately has probably seen Elephants on Parade now appearing in six-pack cans. The decision to make EoP the fourth canned beer was an easy one, Jotham said.

“When we started selling that beer, it came out as a specialty beer,” he said. “We saw that every table in the taproom had a pink beer on it. And then we rolled it out again for another one and we couldn’t keep it on. It was flying off the shelves. We realized that we had a product that beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike really loved. That’s what was remarkable about it.

“We decided to put it on as one of our staple beers, we replaced Pale Ryder with that one. Just because of the popularity of it, selling at other accounts, and the popularity at our taprooms, we decided it was the next best release. We were talking with our distributor, they were getting multiple requests for it as well.”

If you have not gone out in search of EoP in cans, well, now you know.

As for the big autumn beer releases, one of the first that Bosque has planned is of course Acequia, their award-winning wet-hop IPA. This year, though, it will come with a fun twist.

“The biggest thing coming up is we’re going to do a wet-hop beer (series) release,” Jotham said. “It’s going to focus (around) Acequia. We always bottle that every year and we usually do a pretty limited run of it. We’re going to do a limited run again this year. But, we’re going to surround it with a few different beers that are all going to be wet hopped. I don’t have much more information on it than that at this point, but we’re in the process of putting all that together.”

The as-yet-unnamed wet-hop series will release before the Great American Beer Festival in October, though as Jotham noted, an exact date has not been set. Whenever it happens, it should be a fun time for beer geeks and the Bosque staff.

“We were able to source wet hops from a couple different farms,” Jotham said. “It will be kind of cool to release a series that allows us to play with different varietals and regions. It’s something we don’t get to see a whole lot of in New Mexico. Last year, I was up in Portland (Oregon) and everywhere I went had at least three or four wet-hop beers on. I was kind of jealous of that. In New Mexico, we get access to wet hops sparingly. They have them in their backyard. It’s a lot of fun that we get to do this. I’m going to drink a lot of beer over the next couple months.”

As always, the Crew will be around to keep everyone updated on all of the projects at Bosque. We cannot wait for the wet-hop series, the Las Cruces reopening, the Nob Hill expansion, and to finally see Bernalillo in full bloom. Good times are ahead, beer lovers!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister