Posts Tagged ‘Ex Novo Brewing’

The Southwest x Northwest Hazy IPA, a collaboration from Ex Novo and Bow and Arrow, is now on tap at the latter.

If anyone thought that this weekly feature died in the snow, well, it did not. We all just decided to enjoy our holiday stretch without writing down every beer that we consumed (well, we still have Untappd just in case our fuzzy memories need some clarity).

Anyway, keeping things rather recent, have I mentioned how much working on Saturdays can suck? This past Saturday definitely sucked, so after a quick dinner it was time to venture forth in search of beer. Reminding myself that I had been unable to visit Bow and Arrow the night before for a new beer release, I made the long drive (for me, anyway) to Sixth Street. The joint was packed inside, including a few folks in some zombie-like makeup (no idea what that was about). I found a seat at the bar and ordered the Southwest x Northwest Hazy IPA. No, really, I ordered a hazy IPA.

The beer was brewed as a collaboration between Bow and Arrow and Ex Novo Brewing, as noted in the last edition of The Week Ahead in Beer. I have had plenty of quality beers from B&A over the last year, and Ex Novo impressed me with their offerings at the original in Portland, Oregon, and those that I have been gifted in bottle or can format. It was no surprise that this beer lived up to the quality of both breweries. A lot of hazies are citrus-flavor dominant, but this also had a bitter little bite up front from some old-school piney hops. It was not too sweet, nor too tart, finding a nice balance. The mouthfeel was clean and smooth.

It went down quickly, leaving me with the chance to try another recent addition to the lineup. Buffalo Plaid Baltic Porter is one of the more flavorful examples of the style that I have tried in town. There are strong hints of dark chocolate and a little bit of coffee up front, with a smooth finish, and a fairly robust mouthfeel. I almost ordered a full pour, until I learned that Breakfast Bandit has nearly run its course. The rather infamous coffee-and-donuts stout is still a delectable beer, so I had to get some while it was still around.

Next time, however, I will indulge in some Buffalo Plaid. Bow and Arrow has come a long way over the past year, and is now firmly in my rotation of must-visit breweries. As for Ex Novo, that IPA is a good preview of what to come once the brewery in Corrales is open and ready for business.

Now to just get the damn federal government working again so things can progress.

While we wait for that miracle to happen, a couple of the ladies in the Crew ventured far and wide in search of beers to try.

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Remember when Marble shared this photo of happy brewery representatives in Washington D.C.? Yeah, gonna guess they are not too happy with the government right now.

Most of us are aware of, yet personally unaffected by, the current partial shutdown of the federal government. Leaving the politics aside, it has nonetheless made things difficult on both federal employees and those businesses and people who rely on certain federal agencies. It did not occur to any of us in the Crew how this might affect breweries until we saw a tweet by a brewer out of town who complained about the shutdown of the TTB.

The TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau) is the government agency that handles almost everything related to breweries, and many other businesses, at the federal level. It has the greatest impact on breweries that package and forthcoming breweries, which of course means it has an impact all around New Mexico. To figure out just what that impact has been, I emailed two people who have extensive knowledge of such affairs, NM Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian and La Cumbre president/master brewer Jeff Erway.

“The shutdown affects breweries in planning with pending brewer’s notices and existing breweries with label approval applications in the pipeline,” John explained. “Brewer’s notices (federal brewers permit) and COLAs (certificates of label approval) are both issued by the TTB, which is a federal agency.”

That is not good news for breweries in planning.

“Any federal brewers notice is in limbo right now and they will be set back by this,” Jeff wrote.

It also has a negative impact on packaging breweries such as La Cumbre.

“If a beer is to be sent out of state, it needs a COLA and those are also in limbo,” Jeff wrote. “We are having to hold on shipping a few beers to AZ and CO specifically because of this shutdown.”

To sum it up: The shutdown is bad for breweries. Just like it is for everything else.

New breweries update

Originally, we were just going to lead Beer Notes with this list, but obviously events in Washington are putting all of these places on hold, to some degree. Nonetheless, here is every brewery with either a pending state small brewer license or an active one that is not yet open. Here are the breweries projected to open in the ABQ metro area in 2019. We realize there are probably more than these, but no pending license means we will not include it yet.

  • Black Snout Brewhouse (pending): We already took a tour of this new brewery located in a shopping center on the southeast corner of Menaul and Juan Tabo. The brewery had hoped to be open by the end of the month, but that seems unlikely now.
  • BLUE/Gang of Four (pending): This very small brewery is set to open on Broadway next to the Exhibit 208 gallery, just south of Gold.
  • Brew Lab 101 (pending): The next brewery to open in Rio Rancho is moving along. Located on Southern near Unser, its owner has already contacted us and we are in the process of setting up our first visit/interview.
  • Brewstillery (active): We still have no info about this brewery/distillery combo that is set to open somewhere in the 87106 zip code (physical addresses are not provided beyond zip codes, FYI), or how it relates to the next entry.
  • Differential (pending): Listed as owned by Brewstillery, we do not know how this entry, located in the same zip code, differs from the other.
  • Colonia/San Mateo Beer Co. (pending): It appears as though this new brewery will move into the current Bosque Brewing location on San Mateo when that is relocated to the forthcoming Open Space Project. In other words, it seems to be a long ways off.
  • Ex Novo Brewing (pending): We just toured this forthcoming brewery in Corrales.
  • Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing (pending): The newest addition to the list, we have been contacted by one of the owners and are working on setting up an interview time. It will be located somewhere in the downtown area.

Red River was not the last new brewery to open in the outskirts of New Mexico in 2018, and more are on the way in 2019.

2018 saw a lot of new breweries open up across the state, well outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor. Among the many were Blu Dragonfly in Cimarron, Bonito Valley in Lincoln, Cloudcroft Brewing, Hopscotch Brewing in Artesia, Red River Brewing, and Second Alarm Brewhouse in Jemez Springs. There are still a few more coming down the pipeline.

  • B3-BBQ, Burgers and Beer (pending): This Las Vegas-based restaurant is already open. We do not know if its owners plan to actually brew beer, or if they are going to use the license to keep guest taps flowing.
  • 575 Brewing (pending): Alamogordo is getting its first brewery in many years, but we do not know the exact location or its current progress.
  • Icebox Brewing (active): The newest Las Cruces brewery will be located on Picacho Avenue, east of Picacho Peak Brewing and basically due west of High Desert. No opening date has been announced.
  • Leaf & Hive (active): The latest addition to the Santa Fe scene has a soft opening scheduled for this Saturday.
  • Public House 28 (pending): We know nothing beyond the name for this brewery in Anthony, on the Texas border.
  • Rail Brewery (pending): This Santa Fe project for the Railyards area has been pending for a long time now. We do not know its status.
  • Santa Fe Spirits (pending): The existing distillery is either going to start making beer, or it just wants to be able to sell beer.

New taprooms update

Yes, 2018 was basically the year of the off-site taproom, but there are still more on the way. Someday, every commercial space in the state will be a taproom. (Hey, we can dream, right?) All of these are pending licenses.

  • Boxing Bear on Central: We already wrote about the brewery taking over the former 5 Star Burgers space on West Central.
  • Desert Valley: There are two pending licenses for DV taprooms, one located in the 87110 zip code, and the other in 87111. It is certainly ambitious, though not unprecedented, to open two taprooms at once.
  • Enchanted Circle ABQ: The Angel Fire-based brewery is opening a taproom in the shopping center on the northwest corner of San Mateo and Osuna.
  • Nexus Blue Smokehouse and Taproom: The long-awaited BBQ version of Nexus is getting closer to finally opening on Broadway south of Cesar Chavez. We will get more details in our forthcoming Look Back/Look Ahead Series on Nexus.
  • Quarter Celtic on Juan Tabo: We already wrote about the first off-site location, which will be on the west side of the road between Indian School and Menaul.
  • Red Door Clovis: Once again, we already wrote about the first bowling alley-based taproom, which will also be the first craft beer-specific place in the eastern town.
  • Starr Brothers Alehouse: This one has been pending for quite a while now, so we do not know if it is still happening or not. If it does, it will be somewhere near UNM.
  • Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden Alamogordo: The Ruidoso-based small brewery is opening a second location down the mountain.

Got info on any of these pending breweries or taprooms, or any we missed? Drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

A good deed note

Tractor has named the four nonprofits for its annual Beer for a Better Burque (BBB) program. The New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus, New Mexico Horse Rescue at Walkin N Circles Ranch, Three Sisters Kitchen, and Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts will be the beneficiaries for 2019. There will be special BBB nights on Tuesdays throughout the year where patrons can donate, plus special quarterly beer releases for each nonprofit sees $1 donated per pint, and other special themed events. You can donate at all four Tractor locations.

Good on ya, Tractor.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Greetings, New Mexico craft beer lovers. Stoutmeister here with The Week Ahead in Beer. This column covers all the breweries in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, with Santa Fe’s eight breweries, one in Los Alamos, one in Moriarty, and one in Red River also joining the party.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Stoutmeister puts on his serious face to handle The Week Ahead in Beer.

Happy New Year, everyone! Sick of the snow yet? As we all dream of warmer days, one of our local breweries and one of our future local breweries are teaming up with a nifty little collaboration beer that will be released Friday. Ex Novo Brewing of Portland, Oregon, which is opening a new production brewery in Corrales, the hometown of owner Joel Gregory, dispatched its brewer to Bow and Arrow recently to create Southwest x Northwest Hazy IPA. Loaded with Citra and Simcoe hops, this beer will chase the winter doldrums away, one pint at a time (or so we hope). The tapping begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, by which point at least part of this city should be thawed. Right?

On the new beer front this week, there are a only few options to check out, as one might expect after the holidays. Kaktus goes big with Barleywine and Imperial Stout. Marble hits all the right malty notes with Dupy’s Dunkel, Barrel-Aged Quadruple (Downtown only), and T. Gary Stout on nitro, which is named for president/brewmaster Ted Rice. Nexus brings back Bird of Prey IPA. Turtle Mountain busts out some Deep Depravity (Barleywine), as well as Tiempo Mañana (IPL), and Stockholm Syndrome (Baltic Porter) is on deck.

Up in Santa Fe, HoneyMoon adds a new kombucha, Persephone.

Continue reading for all the news that is fit to blog for the week of December 31.

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The sizable Ex Novo production brewery building is nearly complete in the center of Corrales.

It is almost a Merry Christmas for craft beer lovers living in Corrales. They can look to the heart of the village and see their own craft brewery rising up.

Ex Novo Brewing has gone from concept to almost-completed structure at 4895 Corrales Road. The 10,000 square-foot production brewery has taken shape in a lot on the west side of the street, across from the fire station and Corrales Bistro Brewery.

This will be the second Ex Novo, as the original is in Portland, Oregon. Owner Joel Gregory, however, is a Corrales native, and he wanted to bring his brewery home. Joel invited me to visit the construction site on Thursday afternoon.

“The last time we talked, all I had was dirt,” Joel said, referring to our first interview last year over beers at Steel Bender. “Now look at it.”

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This building on Tramway near Paseo del Norte will soon host a Boese Brothers taproom.

As a public service, anytime we publish a story about one new brewery or off-site taproom opening, questions appear about any additional ones coming down the pipeline. As a public service, here are some tasty beer notes with info on what is on tap for Albuquerque and beyond.

Boese Brothers head for the foothills

We have known for a while that Boese Brothers Brewing was going to open a taproom somewhere in town, but the obvious question of where went unanswered. Thankfully, a magical little moment happened on Instagram and, with some help from a good friend in the industry, we tracked down the location.

The new taproom will open soon at 7849 Tramway Blvd. NE, which puts it just south of the intersection with Paseo del Norte. While Tractor and Canteen covered the southern end of Tramway with their taprooms, Boese Brothers will be the first to move into the far northern end of the corridor.

This will be the second off-site location for Boese Brothers, which also co-owns the Desert Dogs Taproom in Santa Fe. We will be in touch with George and Sam Boese to hopefully get an advance look at the place and learn a little more about it before it opens.

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Say hello to Rio Bravo’s third-anniversary beer.

Not every significant beer event for the weekend can make it into The Week Ahead in Beer. We missed two that we should have known about, plus a third one popped up Thursday morning.

Rio Bravo celebrates its third anniversary

The good folks at Rio Bravo are jamming all sorts of fun into an all-day celebration Saturday. There will be live music, a chile cook-off, a charity beer, and a special new beer release.

Rio Bravo’s third-anniversary beer is Cherry on Brett. Brewmaster Ty Levis took the Cherry Wheat and aged it in barrels for seven-to-nine months, adding two strains of brettanomyces. He then hand bottled this sweet, funky sour, so give the man some props for that hard task alone. Those will be available upon the opening of the doors at 11 a.m.

If sours are not your thing, buy a pint of 94Rocktoberfest. For every pint sold, $1 goes to the Hops for Hunger program.

The chile cook-off will be at 3 p.m. Bring two gallons worth of your favorite recipe using New Mexico chile. The cost is $10, with $5 of that going to the Storehouse. The public will judge from 3 to 5 p.m., with a celebrity judging panel joining in on the fun at 4. Email jennifer@riobravobrewing.com for more info on how to enter.

There will also be local artists and vendors on hand, plus Creamland will be there creating ice cream floats, so yes, this is an all-ages event.

As for the music and more, the lineup is as follows: House music, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Black Pearl Band, 1-3 p.m., Poetry, 3-3:30 p.m., Icon Ulibarri & Cafe Mocha, 3:30-6 p.m., DJ Flo Fader, 6-8 p.m., Soul Divine, 8-11 p.m.

ULLR Fest heralds winter’s eventual return

The mountain calls to you. Come to the beer.

The folks at Pajarito Mountain, above Los Alamos, are preparing for the start of the colder months by throwing an annual party. ULLR Fest returns Saturday, so grab your best viking gear and head up the mountain.

There will be a BeerFest from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to local boys Bathtub Row, those in attendance will include Blue Corn, Boxing Bear, Broken Trail, Red River, Santa Fe, Second Street, Taos Mesa, The 377, Tractor, and Tumbleroot. It’s a $15 cash ticket to get all the beer samples you could ever want.

In addition, there will be live music from Auto Electric, plus a downhill bicycle race, a disk golf tournament, and a viking costume contest. Shuttles will leave Sullivan Field at Los Alamos High School every 30 minutes. The cafe will be open all day to keep people fed.

We will work on getting some beer lists for you and post them here as they arrive.

  • Bathtub Row: Little Bird Blonde, Hoppenheimer IPA, Oktoberfest, Ullr Fest (8.3% ABV)
  • Blue Corn: Gatekeeper IPA, Covhefe Collab, Oktoberfest, Oatmeal Stout, Pomegranate Gose
  • Boxing Bear: Das Bear German Pilsner, Uppercut IPA, Applebear Cider, Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout, Black and Blue Tart
  • Broken Trail: TBA
  • Red River: Bad Medicine Honey DIPA, Tucker-Brau Oktoberfest Marzen, Lazy Bear Blonde, Greenie Peak Wheat (plus root beer for designated drivers)
  • Santa Fe: TBA
  • Second Street: TBA
  • Taos Mesa: TBA
  • The 377: 377 IPA, Porter, NM Lager, Ginger Beer
  • Tractor: TBA
  • Tumbleroot: TBA

Ex Novo will be at Corrales Harvest Festival

Oh, hello, beer fridge of goodness.

Though the brewery is still a long ways off from opening, the good folks at Ex Novo are bringing some beer samples to Corrales on Saturday. There are an estimated 400 samples available, so it will be first come, first serve, until the beer runs out. The Harvest Festival will be located at 4895 Corrales Road, across from the fire station. Things will kick off at noon.

Ex Novo is based in Portland, Oregon, but owner Joel Gregory is from Corrales, so he will be opening a second brewery in his hometown in 2019. Among the beers in the Instagram photo are Eliot IPA and The Most Interesting Lager in the World, plus a slew of specialty brews. Our eagle eyes spy Dark Czech Lager, Puff Puff Passion, and Fresh Hop Eliot in those crowlers.

If there are ever any events that we miss, be sure to let us know in advance. You can reach us via any of our social media pages, or at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Lincoln is home to New Mexico’s newest brewery. (Photo courtesy of Bonito Valley Brewing)

Live from Portland, er, well, almost alive from Portland, here are some little beer tidbits that have been popping up on our radar over the last few weeks.

August brewery openings

Bonito Valley Brewing in Lincoln is now open, becoming the latest addition to the long list of small-town breweries in the state. Located at 692 Calle La Placita (Highway 380) in the middle of town, BVB will celebrate its grand opening through the weekend. If anyone stops by, take some pictures and send us some tasting notes! And yes, there is a beer called Billy the Kid Amber.

Over in Artesia, Hopscotch Brewing has its grand opening set for Friday, Aug. 10. The brewery is located at 1 Cottonwood Road on the north side of town, which was formerly the home of Desert Water Brewing (it closed earlier this year).

Up in Cimarron, Blu Dragonfly Brewing is now open, though its own beers are not yet ready. The BBQ is ready, however, so if you are up north, chow down and enjoy some guest taps. The brewery is located at 301 E. 9th Street.

Meanwhile, in the ABQ metro area, rumors persist that Cantero Brewing and Rio Rancho’s 1933 Brewing are close to opening. We are dispatching AmyO to take a tour of Cantero on Sunday, after which we will have a better idea of how close it is to opening. If anyone out there has info on 1933, please send it along.

Checking out the OG version of Ex Novo

The cozy taproom at Ex Novo Brewing in Portland.

During my long trek through the breweries of Portland on Thursday, I made sure to spend some time at Ex Novo Brewing. There will be an Ex Novo in Corrales in the future, and I talked briefly with owner Joel Gregory after the IPA Challenge. He said right now that spot is just a field of dirt as they clear it in preparation for construction, but the brewery in Portland is of course fully functional.

The space is tall, with some high ceilings that make up for the lack of width. The taproom area is out front, opening directly into the brewery. There was a good-sized list of house beers and seasonals. I went with the Perle Haggard Pils and Parliament Dunkadelic, and the flavor lived up to the awesome names. The food menu was short but solid, and I wolfed down a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with fries.

Overall, the staff was great, the vibe was positive, and things moved quickly and efficiently even with a big crowd on hand. There were young and single folks, old dudes like me, and several families. If Ex Novo can translate all of that to its Corrales location, it should be pretty darn popular with New Mexico beer drinkers as well.

Oh, and other breweries that are definite must-visits if you are ever up here on a beercation:

  • Hair of the Dog Brewing, which is within walking distance of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a jumbo-sized Explora and quite fun when you need a break from all the beer. The beer is quite good, too, but be forewarned, many of the house beers average between 7.5-10 percent.
  • Modern Times Belmont Fermentorium, which is a fully functional brewery from the guys in San Diego, loaded with all sorts of good beers made there and trucked up from SoCal. I tried a Suggestion of Mass, a monstrous (11.3% ABV) dessert stout collaboration made with Florida’s J. Wakefield Brewing.
  • Wayfinder Brewing, which has been open about a year-and-a-half, is making some tremendous lagers. It’s just a little off the beaten path, but was overflowing with people as I left to meet my friend at Ex Novo.
  • Ecliptic Brewing, our final stop for the night, is just tremendous. Huge selection, great outdoor seating area, and then it was 10 o’clock and everything closed. Boo.

Anyway, I am gonna go grab some brunch and then check out McMenamin’s Bagdad Theater. Tonight, there will be Great Notion. And probably a few other places. Bless this town.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Hey, we know that brewer! Toltec’s Kaylynn McKnight and co-owner Diana Navarrette are getting the brewery ready for an opening this spring. (Photo courtesy of Toltec Brewing)

It has been a while since we busted out some Beer Notes, but the news was piling up in our inbox, so here we go again.

New brewery updates

By our count, there are 20 forthcoming breweries, plus one that just opened. Alas, there is also another that closed, as we note below. First up, the breweries with active small brewer licenses.

  • Callahan West Brewery (Mosquero): The brewery is open in this small town in Northeast New Mexico. It is located at 22 Main Street, on the west side of town, next to the Headquarters Restaurant. Details are scarce at this point, but there is a fledgling Facebook page, and we suppose it could make for an interesting summer road trip.
  • Cantero Brewing (ABQ-Brewery District): Slow but steady progress is apparent, with the brewing system now set up. We will drop the owners another line and see if we can get an advance tour/preview.
  • Elkins Brewing (Grants): There is still no website, no social media, or anything else about this brewery. If anyone out there has information, please send it over.
  • Red River Brewing: The staff seems to be putting the finishing touches on the interior of the completed building. Hey, someone had to benefit from the mild winter up north. It should be only a matter of time before we add Red River to our next Taos Trek (which we are way, way overdue to do again).
  • Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery (Santa Fe): Plenty of positive signs abound to the point of where we have to imagine it will be the next to open. Tumbleroot has begun brewing and distilling, and in addition is starting to book musical acts for its stage. Look for a preview in the coming weeks.

The snow finally showed up, but not before most of this new brewery was built. (Photo courtesy of Red River Brewing)

Now for all the breweries with pending small brewer licenses, who are, by and large, further away from opening.

  • 1933 Brewing (Rio Rancho): Located in the old Fat Squirrel building on Southern, we have seen construction getting underway. There is also a Facebook page and a website, finally, though neither have any real information.
  • BLUE (ABQ-Downtown area): We have no new updates about this brewery, which a source told us would be located somewhere along Broadway near Lead/Coal, similar in size and scope to Sidetrack.
  • Bonito Valley (Lincoln): The brewery’s Facebook page said it hopes to open by the summer along Highway 380 in Southeast New Mexico.
  • Brewstillery (ABQ-UNM area): We still have no information on this place.
  • Casa Vieja (Corrales): The existing event space may look to do some small batch beers, but will mainly use the license to sell beer and wine at the events it hosts.
  • Cloudcroft Brewing: Formerly known as Switchback Brewery, it will instead be named for the town it will call home in the mountains in Southern New Mexico. A full build-out is now underway, with a very rustic look to the site, which is quite appropriate.
  • Hollow Spirits (ABQ-Wells Park): The distillery/brewery has hired a head distiller, Trey Allen, but no projected opening date (or even month) has been listed.
  • Hopscotch Brewing (Artesia): First, the good news is that Deepwell Brewing is alive and well under a new name. The bad news is that it will take over the building previously occupied by Desert Water Brewing, which closed recently. Still, soon Artesia will be back to having two breweries, and that is a good thing.
  • Icebox Brewing (Las Cruces): There is a Facebook page, but beyond the address of 2825 W. Picacho Ave., there is no additional info.
  • Leaf & Hive (Santa Fe): One of two places looking to open in the capital city that will offer up mainly products that require a brewing license, but are not necessarily beer. The Facebook page says it will be honeybrew, a “heirloom cultured sparkling tea.”
  • Sourdough Mine Restaurant and Brewery (Socorro): Located in the old Twisted Chile space off the main plaza, the restaurant is already up and running.
  • Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden (Ruidoso): This beer/wine bar has been in operation for a while. It remains to be seen how much (if any) beer it plans to brew.
  • Toltec Brewing (ABQ-West Side): The exterior signage is now covering all the entrances at 10250 Cottonwood Park NW. Inside, the brewery area appears ready, while the the taproom area is getting the final paint job. We can also confirm that former Nexus brewer Kaylynn McKnight will be running the brewhouse, while Adam Galarneau, formerly of Bosque, Marble, and Turtle Mountain, will be the general manager. Those are two talented and experienced people, a good sign of the commitment of the Toltec owners to putting their brewery on the map from the get-go.

That’s some swanky signage! (Photo courtesy of Toltec Brewing)

There are three other breweries we know are on the way, but have not yet applied for a license. We recently previewed Ex Novo Brewing and its plans to open in Corrales. HoneyMoon Brewery, a kombucha-centric operation, is coming to Santa Fe. Blu Dragonfly is coming to the northern town of Cimarron and has already joined the NM Brewers Guild far in advance of its opening.

If there are any other new breweries out there that we missed, please let us know.

We can also report that Guadalupe Mountain (Carlsbad) and Lost Hiker (Ruidoso) are now open and serving their own beers.

Politics and beer don’t mix here or anywhere

Well, so much for this legislative session.

One of the best things about breweries is how they are (usually) delightfully free of the venomous political discourse that has infected our country. Sadly, politics has a way of getting into the beer, and it rarely turns out well for any beer drinker, regardless of his/her affiliation.

Here in New Mexico, even after it passed both houses in the legislature, Senate Bill 204 died with a whimper when outgoing Governor Martinez killed it with a pocket veto. SB204 was designed to give breweries the ability to obtain private celebration permits. Currently, only distributors have these permits. Who knows why the governor did not like this bill, which had bi-partisan support.

It could be worse, however, as craft brewers in Maryland suffered a devastating defeat in Annapolis. Small breweries in Maryland face significant restrictions in how much beer they can brew and sell. Efforts to lift many regulations have failed, as the combination of macrobreweries and distributors have been opposed to giving craft breweries any advantages. Hopefully more progressive politicians will take another look at the situation next year.

Meanwhile, the announcement of pending tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports have left some in the craft beer industry worried. Those worries may be valid, as this story in the Wall Street Journal shows. (Thanks to Boxing Bear’s David Kim for the link.) A rise in the price of American steel and aluminum would benefit the manufacturers, but not everyone in the market may be able to afford those increases. That could hamper an industry that uses a hell of a lot of both metals. Ultimately, though, it is still early in the process, and time will tell what the full impact will be on the brewing industry.

Sampler tray

  • Little Toad Creek got some good news when its first taproom outside Silver City cleared a major hurdle. The City of Las Cruces has given its approval for the location at 119 N. Main St. Now all that remains is for state approval, which hopefully will come in advance of the Blazin’ Brewfest in May.
  • Red Door is looking to hire a new head brewer. We are working on finding out the details behind the departure of founding brewer Wayne Martinez.
  • Tart at Heart is returning to Sister for a fourth time on April 14. We will have more details as we get closer to this fun annual event.
  • Second Street will host the first Pilsner and Crab Fest at the Rufina Taproom on June 16-17. It will not be a competition, but a celebration of the style. We would love to see what other breweries bring to at least give us all the opportunity to do a side-by-side tasting.
  • Rejoice, haze lovers, for the Brewers Association has heard your cries. Three new hazy or juicy ale categories (pale, IPA, double IPA) have been added to the official ranks of the Beer Style Guidelines. Other categories have been added as well to reflect the ongoing evolution of craft beers. Click that link for more details.

That clears out the notebook for now. If anyone out there ever has any craft beer news to share, big or small, drop us a line at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or just tapping on a Crew member’s shoulder if you spot one of us out and about at a brewery, taproom, or beer bar.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

This rendering should give everyone a good idea of what Ex Novo Brewing will look like in Corrales.

A big Northwest brewery is coming to a small Southwest town. Ex Novo Brewing of Portland, Oregon, will open a new location in Corrales, which happens to be the hometown of its owner, Joel Gregory.

Joel and I sat down over lunch and brews at Steel Bender a while back. He just got the green light on financing this week, meaning the project is now going ahead in full.

“We’re doing it in phases,” Joel said. “Phase One is going to be a 10,000-square-foot production brewery. There’s going to be a little place that’s like a coffee shop, a little bitty building that we’re going to use as a tasting room. We’ll have a lot of outdoor seating, not a ton of seats inside. That’s Phase One.

“Then, after we get off the ground here and see what’s the market like, Phase Two will include more brewery space, another few thousand square feet in the brewery, and then like a full pub with a giant beer garden, and a barn for barrel aging and events.”

The brewery will be located in the heart of Corrales, specifically at 4895 Corrales Road, just a block north of the Corrales Bistro Brewery (which no longer makes its own beer). Joel founded Ex Novo almost four years ago, and the brewery has made a name for itself in the extremely packed Portland scene. Expanding the operation in Oregon, though, was proving to be more than a bit of a challenge. That led Joel to cast an eye towards his hometown.

“It’s a big, two-part thing,” Joel said. “I’m from here. I’ve been in Portland for 10 years this summer. I love it up there, I really do, but it’s a long way from family and I really like the direction that Albuquerque in general is headed, both in the beer scene and in general. I happen to know a lot of cool people that I grew up with that are part of that movement to continue making Albuquerque awesome.”

Another view of the production side of the future Ex Novo.

Physical space in Portland is at a premium, at least when it comes to expanding a brewing operation. Joel said that the popular Great Notion Brewing recently took over one of the last available buildings to increase its production.

“Portland is great, but there’s only so much you can do that’s awesome,” he added. “In a place like that, most things have been done before. My wife and I have looked for ways to come back here. The brewery is still in its toddler phase, it’s about three-and-a-half years old now.

“About a year ago, it really dawned on me that it would be possible since we’re at capacity. Do we expand in Portland? Look for more production space or try for something out of town? To be able to come home and to bring things that I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced, and the brand that we’ve built back with us and relocating here full-time, is kind of like a dream.”

Joel has spent enough time around the Albuquerque beer scene to know that simply copying and pasting what works in Oregon will not work here.

“It’s a great way to come home, not leaving something behind or sell it off or anything, we’re going to continue on what we’re doing,” he said. “It won’t be exactly like Portland, it’s a different town. Some things will be the same, some things will be unique to the Albuquerque area. I’ve been dreaming about it for a couple years what it would be like to do something here. It kept coming back to being from Corrales and spending most of my upbringing in the valley.”

Incorporating the outdoors into the brewery was something that appealed to Joel. He said the new Ex Novo will be built around its patio/beer garden, rather than adding that to a building down the road.

“Obviously Albuquerque has got so much great outdoor experiences to see day-to-day, whether it’s just abundant sunshine or the valley where things grow and it’s beautiful,” Joel said. “I think more breweries should focus on that and bring people into that. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it in the valley somewhere. It’s going to have an oversized lot where people can come (hang out). We’re going to focus on the outdoor aspect of it. Drinking beers outside, you can have the kids along, let them run around and play, not stress out. It’s awesome, I’ve experienced that in some places, but not in Portland, it doesn’t have the space.”

Ex Novo owner Joel Gregory is bringing his brewery to his hometown of Corrales.

Joel said his family here, particularly his father and sister, helped him find the right location in Corrales. That site was formerly occupied by the Rancho de Corrales, which burned down in 2012. The original building was built in the 1800s and was later the rather infamous Territorial Bar from 1972 to 1987.

“That’s perfect, there’s nothing else, it’s a blank slate, we get to build something,” Joel said. “That’s always been a dream. When you start a new brewery you always end up in a warehouse somewhere. We get to build something and design it. Anyone that’s been in this business (knows), to not have to retrofit, but to build it from the ground up, that’s also a lot of pressure. That’s the gist of it.”

Joel said he has been friends with Bosque Brewing co-owner Jotham Michnovicz long before that brewery started. While we were at Steel Bender, head brewer Bob Haggerty also stopped by to say hello, having met Joel in the past. Those connections will help Ex Novo not only get off the ground here, but help Joel and his staff understand what New Mexicans expect from a craft brewery.

“Way before I thought about opening anything here, it’s good to see what makes different methods work,” he said. “Albuquerque is super unique. I am looking forward to seeing how it changes in the next five years, how it evolves.”

Ex Novo produces a wide range of beers, from Eliot IPA to The Most Interesting Lager in the World to Damon Stoutamire (truly, Bear Down).

“I would say if there’s anything we love to do it’s bringing balanced and drinkable, a lot of session beers,” Joel said. “Our IPAs tend to be less on the bitter side, more on the balanced side. But we do make 13-percent (ABV) imperial stouts.”

Yeah, Joel brought the Crew a box of beers. That Nevemore Barleywine tucked in there was excellent. Quaker Shaker was another favorite, along with the New England-style IPA.

Ex Novo will hire a new staff for the Corrales location, rather than simply import folks from Portland.

“We’ll be hiring a head brewer to run the day-to-day in Corrales,” Joel said. “My current head brewer is going to be elevated to director of brewing operations. He’ll be the boss of this head brewer and the head brewer in Portland. He’ll make sure consistency is being maintained. He’ll be living in Portland, but coming down here quite often.”

The setup will be similar to what Ponderosa Brewing has, but Joel said his Corrales brewer will have more freedom, especially with the setup that he or she will have inside the brewery.

“We’re going to have a 20-barrel brewhouse and a 5-barrel brewhouse,” Joel said. “Obviously the 20-barrel will be geared toward production and packaging of our core beers. The 5-barrel will be the pub-only reserve stuff. We’re going to do more R&D, yeast propagation, all the things you want to have. Sometimes it’s a crazy beer, but sometimes it’s mild. Those might not sell that well, either. It’s important to not be constrained having 20 to 60 barrels of it.”

The first two beers that figure to be brewed and packaged here will be the aforementioned Eliot and Mexican-style lager.

“A couple core brands, our Mexican lager in six-packs, and our IPA, Elliot, we’ll probably jump right into those,” Joel said. “First year, we’re not looking at crazy numbers, maybe 2,500 barrels, something like that would be a fine target. We’ll have to feel the market out and the demands for the stuff we have. I think those two beers, obviously the IPA, I think it’s one of the better ones in Oregon in package, but we’ve got to come strong with the IPA game here.”

There will also be a lot of seasonal and specialty brews coming out of the smaller brewhouse that will be available on tap.

“We’ll be doing the cool stuff and doing the seasonal stuff with labels, keeping things fresh and interesting,” Joel said. “We’ve been dabbling in the New England IPA category. I think we did the right thing. We’ve been brewing it for a year. We don’t want to do it too frequently. We’re trying to figure out what we like about it. There’s a lot of examples out there right now, but not all of them are good. We just released our first batch in cans. We have some kettle sour stuff in cans. We brew up a lot of seasonal stuff. In Portland, we’ll probably release 70 new beers a year. We’ll probably do that here, if not more, with the 5-barrel.”

Joel said he hopes to get some of the specialty beers distributed in kegs to bars and restaurants, rather than only offering up the standards. In Portland, he said, breweries almost never distribute their core bands that way, but instead focus on a constant rotation of new and exciting styles.

“It leaves room for brewers to do more experimental stuff in larger volumes and distribute it more,” he said. “I think that’s really fun for beer people to go to any bar or restaurant and find beers they’ve never had before.”

This shows lots of parking. That is always a good thing.

That Phase Two construction of a barrel-aging room will be important in that regard.

“We’re super into barrel-aged beers,” Joel said. “We want to do a lot of mixed cultures, lots of wild and spontaneous. Just doing the gamut of beers. We haven’t had the space to really do that (in Portland). If we were here, we’d have one of the biggest barrel-aging programs in the state, but up there we don’t have nearly as much space as we’d like to have.”

All of that sounds quite good to us in the Crew. Our bicycle enthusiast members love the idea of someday riding the Bosque trails from Bosque North in Bernalillo, to Ex Novo, to Boxing Bear, to Steel Bender, and beyond. We will keep everyone as up to date as possible on the progress of Ex Novo. Until then, if any of you are traveling up to Portland, make sure to stop in and say hello to a New Mexico native at his brewery.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister