Posts Tagged ‘Kellys Brew Pub’

The old brewhouse is still going strong at Chama River, now brewing most of the beers for Kellys Brew Pub.

There are still faint echoes of the brewpub that was at Chama River. The booths are still there, the copper-top bar is still present, and much of the kitchen equipment remains. It has all gathered some dust since Chama closed its doors in August 2017, but one thing remains operational — the brewhouse.

Yes, there are still beers being made at Chama, even with the rest of the business shut down. That is where Andrew Krosche, the director of brewing operations for Santa Fe Dining, spends most of his time. With a year to reflect on what happened, I sat down with Andrew at that copper-top bar recently over pints of his crisp and clean American Pilsner.

“So when we took Kellys over and Chama was still open, plus Blue Corn, we had three breweries working independently under one umbrella,” Andrew said. “Once Chama was closed, we continued working out of Chama, that’s (assistant brewer) Cordell (Rincon) and I at the time, brewing for inter-company distribution under the Chama name cause there was a few beers throughout the restaurants that were staples.”

With the Chama brewhouse still at his disposal, Andrew soon decided how it would best be used.

“Somewhere around that time, when you’re only brewing enough to keep a few restaurants going, it’s hard to make sure the product is fresh,” he said. “So in response to that, also knowing that Kellys with pretty slow with lots of drama that happened right before we bought it, I decided to bring all the brewers together under one roof and work out of Chama’s system, that being the best system in the company. I spent a lot of time rebuilding this facility in the two years that Chama was still open. Also, it kind of gave everyone a chance to work on the same level, to understand my terminology and what was expected. Everyone was on the same page.”

The tanks are still full of beer in Chama’s walk-in cooler.

Andrew, along with Blue Corn head brewer Paul Mallory and Kellys head brewer Dan Cavan, have been able to stay on that same page since.

“Fast forwarding to now, we’ve got the eight house beers at Kellys, (plus) a few inter-company accounts up in Santa Fe,” Andrew said. “It works out very nicely to continue working out of here (because), one, we can brew smaller batches, keeping everything fresh, keeping the quality up. Everything is served out of kegs over at Kellys, so it’s easy enough to have them to place an order for the week and then we can just use the delivery van. In that case, it’s really nice.”

It also helps in one other area for Kellys.

“Kellys, obviously, doesn’t have a barrier between the brewery and the restaurant,” Andrew added. “It is kind of nice brewing here and not worrying about say guests wandering into the brew space. Not that it’s their fault, you would have no idea you couldn’t come back there. For me, it’s just a huge liability because if we’re CIPing and some caustic sprays onto some innocent bystander, it’s not the best of things.

“That’s kind of where we are with this facility. We’ve definitely been enjoying it with this little retreat.”

On occasion, the Kellys brewhouse does get fired up to make a beer or two.

“We have been brewing, or had been brewing, occasionally over there, keeping the machinery still going,” Andrew said. “It’s like an old car, you don’t want to let it sit too long or more problems start. That, and obviously we have to keep our small brewing license and we have to have a minimum of barrelage. So we do that to supplement, usually with some of our top sellers or brews that work really well on that system, as opposed to the ones here.”

Certain styles of beer actually tend to turn out better on Kellys’ system, as opposed to the Chama brewhouse.

“The water in this city is great for stouts, and they’ve got minor filter system and no softener,” Andrew said. “Brewing over there for something like the stout or apricot (wheat) is fine with the city water. Whereas over here, I would never brew the lager there. Here I’ve got a water treatment facility to ensure it’s the best I can make it for the water.”

What was once a bar is now a brewer’s office.

Andrew has managed to turn the bar area into his own office. His laptop and a pile of paperwork sit atop the bar. He keeps a few clean glasses behind the bar as well, for quality control and that sort of thing. Those couches that were over by the entrance have been moved to where the tables used to sit by the bar. There is one TV still running, with the laptop hooked up to it. A pile of beer books sits on one of the remaining tables below it.

As for how long this setup will continue for Andrew, Chama River, Kellys, and all the rest, it is a bit of an ongoing mystery.

“Honestly, I don’t even know,” he said. “I know we own it and (Santa Fe Dining president) Gerald Peters likes that he owns it. As far as I know, selling is not something that is an option. I’ve definitely written game plans for any scenario, mainly because if and when something happens, I want to make sure that my crew is ready, that we can handle it. Just a little preemptive planning, but you never know. This isn’t like moving some kitchen equipment, this is going to require weeks of moving. ”

The craft beer world around the old-timers like Kellys and Blue Corn continues to evolve, but for the most part, the brewpubs have seen neither a sharp rise in business, nor a sudden decline.

“Looking at numbers, if we’re just going to go barrelage-wise, nothing has really changed, at least since I’ve been running things,” Andrew said. “Blue Corn’s barrelage has been the same for the last four years or so. Chama’s was for the two years I was here with it. Kellys is about the same. We’re not getting massive growth. I think a lot of reasons for that is there’s a lot more places to go. There’s a lot more neighborhood pubs. The traffic of going to the places nearest to you is not ours nowadays.

“But, being steady and consistent, that’s a plus. I’m confident that with Paul already (winning) the IPA Challenge, I’m sure that his numbers are growing right now, which is great. With the changes that Dan and myself have kind of put (into) Kellys, working on recipe development and really trying to show the public that it’s different, I feel that we can start seeing a rise soon. Maybe not through this winter, but by next spring I feel like things will change for the better.”

With so many other craft beer options out there, Andrew said it has been tough convincing folks to give Kellys another chance.

“Unfortunately, yes, (but) then our marketing team is doing their best to let the public know that things are different,” he said. “I think the challenges that we run into is a lot of times Kellys is obviously one of the oldest breweries in Albuquerque and they had gained a (bad) reputation over so many years, that a lot of times people I feel when they hear Kellys they just kind of zone out.

“They’re not even paying attention that it is a new ownership, a new brewing team, a lot of it is word of mouth. I’ve been pushing a lot of festivals for Kellys. If we can’t get the public to hear us, let’s get some samples in their hands so we can prove to them right there, real time, that this product is superior to what it used to be.”

One of the ways to do that was to move some of the Chama recipes to Kellys.

“We did cross a few beers over to Kellys,” Andrew said. “The Sleeping Dog Stout is now a Kellys beer. We didn’t change it at all, it’s a strong, solid stout that’s been around forever. The Kellys IPA, for lack of a better word, is practically the Jackalope.”

Even brewers need a comfy spot to take a break now and again.

After a brief chat about the many late summer/early fall festivals, Andrew explained one of his other strategies with Kellys that differs from many of the other breweries around town.

“The way I’ve focused Kellys right now is, cause you were asking about what we’re taking to festivals and if we’ve changed it or not, we have eight house beers as opposed to your typical six and four specials,” he said. “What brings in regulars is your house beers, not your specials. We wanted a good, broad menu that caters to everyone’s tastes and really focus on those to make sure those are the best that we can give, and not worry about specials as much.

“When we build a menu for a festival, we typically don’t change it and we are very rarely going to take a special, because we want the house beers to be the focus. We want people to know they can come into the restaurant at any time and that beer will be there just as the way that they remembered it.”

Of course, just like any mad scientist brewer, Andrew is still cooking up some innovative seasonal/specialty beers from time to time.

“Speaking of specials, it’s very rare that we do one so when we do one we get pretty pumped about it, not sure when this is going to be released because we have to taste it over the next few weeks, but I just transferred an American pale ale into the server onto cocoa nibs and coconut extract,” he said. “So we’re making like a chocolate coconut pale ale, and it’s very hop forward. It drinks almost like an IPA, but the alcohol is like a pale ale. We’re pretty excited about it. It smells great. We picked the hop bill to match the coconut.”

We definitely look forward to trying that rather offbeat-sounding beer whenever it is ready. I will highly recommend the American Pilsner, as well, and Canteen head brewer Zach Guilmette swung by later to hang out for a bit, whereupon he declared it to be one of his favorite lagers in town.

For the most part, it is just good to see a great brewer like Andrew still getting to showcase his talent, even if the current setup between Chama and Kellys is a bit unusual. We encourage everyone to head back to Kellys and give the beers there another shot. We will certainly be stopping by after we get back from the Great American Beer Festival later this week.

Thanks to Andrew for the interview, the beers, and the tour through the ghostly little building he still inhabits.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Gear up for one last big Saturday before it all ends for this year.

As we approach the end of Beer Week for 2018, the temperatures are a rising, so staying cool in the shade with a good pint or two is a must. Thankfully, there will be plenty to try today at events across town, from special releases to food pairings to even a mini lager festival.

Take note, however, the Crafts, Crops and Hops Beer Farmer’s Market scheduled for Canteen today has been postponed until later this summer. The special beer release set for today is still on, thankfully.

Featured Event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Mini Lager Fest. Where: Ponderosa Brewing. When: Noon-4 p.m. Cost: $15.

Details: Seven breweries are gathering at Ponderosa for this festival celebrating the (underrated?) style. Your ticket gets you a sample of all the lagers, plus a pint of your favorite and a commemorative pint glass. Choose between Bosque Lager, Bow & Arrow’s Denim Tux Lager, Dialogue’s Maibock, Kellys’ American Pilsner, Marble’s Dortmunder Export, the Steel Bender/Flix Brewhouse collaboration Schnitz N Giggle, and a TBA lager from the hosts. There may also be an eighth brewery on hand, though that was not yet confirmed.

Why you should go: Lagers are perfect in these hot, dry days. Now you can either confirm that your favorite is the best in town, or discover a new lager that demands to be kept in your fridge via bottle, can, crowler, or growler.

All the other great events

What: Steel Bender Tap Takeover and Wild & Sour Charcuterie Pairing. Where: M’tucci’s Market and Pizzeria. When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: A slew of big, funky beers are heading to the restaurant, including Ingenio, The Judy, and Bullet’s Reserve. They will be paired up with charcuterie boards. Why you should go: Satisfy your craving for some perfectly paired beers and food items.

What: Lawn Ninja Collaboration Beer Release. Where: Quarter Celtic Brewpub/Palmer Brewery. When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Lawn Ninja is a rice ale, an easy-drinking beer that’s perfect for summer. Why you should go: Keep encouraging more collaborations between breweries by drinking their combined offerings.

What: Zafado Groove Beer Release. Where: Canteen Brewhouse. When: Noon-3 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Enjoy this Belgian ale with passionfruit aged in chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces. Why you should go: It’s big, sweet, and funky. Perfect for the patio.

What: Third Annual Food Truck Battle. Where: Red Door Brewing (Candelaria). When: Noon-4 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Five food trucks will be going head to head for the title of the Best of Albuquerque. You try the food and decide the winner, all while washing it down with some delicious Red Door beers. Why you should go: Who doesn’t like a good competition where the audience is the biggest winner? Because that’s what this is.

What: “Breakfast with the Boiz” Beer Release and Bash. Where: Santa Fe ABQ Taproom. When: Noon-3 p.m. Cost: $12. Details: Come enjoy brunch with two of Santa Fe’s top brewers, Bert and Dave, as they present a new beer made in the style of a traditional brass monkey. There will also be a Bloody Mary beer bar. For the ticket, you get a pint glass, one beer, and either a breakfast burrito from Chumlys or a stuffed, beer-battered jalapeno from Rockin’ Taco. Why you should go: Beer, bloody beer, food, and a chance to talk with the brewers. Sounds like a good start to the day.

What: 90s Beer Prom. Where: Tractor Wells Park. When: 8 p.m.-midnight. Cost: $25. Details: The theme is Under the Sea, dressing up 90s style is highly encouraged, and dancing like a fool is pretty much a requirement. It all supports TEDxABQ. Why you should go: Oh, just get goofy and let loose. Though the first of you to say “how old were people who went to prom in the 90s” gets dragged out and shot in the parking lot. (Kidding, just kidding. … Maybe.)

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Got any questions, comments, complaints? Send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), or on Instagram.

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

We’re off to a metal show, but you should be off to indulge in the casks at Quarter Celtic.

Sometimes life leaves you with difficult decisions to make. In our case for this Beer Week, it was whether or not to stay in town or make an overnight run to Denver to see one of our favorite metal bands.

The chance to see Insomnium won out today.

For the rest of you who probably can’t make the drive up (work and all, right?), you can still make us jealous by hitting up some of the fun events today, particularly a certain mini cask fest.

Featured Event

Every day we will pick what we consider the biggest, most interesting, most unique event. This does not mean you should go to only this event and ignore the rest. All of them deserve your attention, but realistically, you can probably only attend a few. So we will make our daily pick, and you can either jump on it, or declare the Crew is foolish (we kinda are) and pick your own.

What: Mini Cask Fest. Where: Quarter Celtic Brewpub. When: 4-9 p.m. Cost: $5 per flight.

Details: Quarter Celtic will tap four special casks out on the patio. Grab a flight of all four — Pedro O’Flannigan on oak wood chips, Pedro with Mosaic hops, Crimson Lass infused with chai tea, Mor-Buck IPA double dry hopped with Azacca distilled hop cloves — and/or a pint of your favorite.

Why you should go: Two variations of a World Beer Cup medal winner? Plus the Lass and IPA? Oh, man, maybe we should turn the car around.

All the other great events

What: Rebel Donut Pairing. Where: Tractor Four Hills. When: 3-7 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Four special Rebel Donuts will be paired with four Tractor beers. Why you should go: Donuts and beer. Donuts and beer. Need we say more?

What: Marble and M’tucci’s Pairing. Where: Marble Heights. When: 5-8 p.m. Cost: $25. Details: Instead of beer and cheese, this time around it will be a tray of cured meats paired up with some delicious Marble beers. Tapped for this event are Session White, Amber, Kentucky Julep, and Rita. Why you should go: It’s rare to see M’tucci’s this far across the river, so take advantage and get some noshing in with your weekly (daily?) visit to the taproom.

What: Brain Gang Trivia Beer Edition. Where: Canteen Brewhouse. When: 6-8 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: The weekly trivia event goes with a full beer theme (of course). You can win anywhere from $10 to $25 in Canteen house cash, and it’s free to join. Why you should go: Win beer trivia to get beer money. What a brilliant concept.

What: Star Wars Themed Beer Crawl. Where: Bosque Nob Hill, Kellys Brew Pub, Hops Brewery, Tractor Nob Hill. When: 7-10 p.m. Cost: No cover charge. Details: Go full cosplay and head out from Bosque’s Public House. There will be trivia, prizes, and $1 off your first pint at each location. Why you should go: Oh, come on, you started the month wearing costumes for May the 4th Be With You, so put ’em back on and go enjoy some beer and fun.

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Got any questions, comments, complaints? Send them to nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com, or leave them here on our site, on Facebook, on Twitter (@nmdarksidebc), or on Instagram.

Enjoy yourselves out there, but please, do it responsibly.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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

Tractor’s Nob Hill taproom is back behind those trees, away from much of the construction for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

The Albuquerque Draft Station shut its doors on April 3, through no fault of its own. The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project had torn up Central Avenue outside, and during the construction a water line was ruptured, forcing the craft beer bar to shut its doors. Draft Station would not reopen until April 12. Nine days of revenue were lost.

It was perhaps the most extreme example of the negative effects of the ongoing construction, which has hampered businesses not only in the stretch of Central west of downtown, but also in Nob Hill, which has been torn to pieces for months. The Crew reached out to the breweries and off-site taprooms in the affected areas. While Bosque and Draft Station never got back to us, I did have a chance to sit down with Kaktus owner Dana Koller, Kellys head brewer Dan Cavan, and Tractor marketing director Jeremy Kinter. Each of their respective Nob Hill locations has had a different experience with A.R.T.

Kaktus only opened its taproom on December 31, 2015, making it one of the more recent new additions to the neighborhood.

“We only opened a few months before we really started getting into that (construction),” Dana said. “We don’t have numbers to compare it to, but it’s definitely been an uphill battle. We feel there’s a (clear) reason for that. We’re getting our high ratings, people love what we’re doing up there, but it has been really difficult to get that walk-in traffic. We see our numbers going up slowly, really slowly, but they are going up. I think we would be about 35 to 40 percent stronger if the construction wasn’t there.”

Kellys has also had a hard time discerning the exact impact of the construction, as the longtime brewpub recently went through an ownership change. Now under Santa Fe Dining’s umbrella, Kellys has revamped its food and beer menu.

“Honestly, I think it’s just slightly less than business than usual,” Dan said. “Probably the changeover had more impact than this on our sales.”

Tractor has been the most established and stable of the three, but that has not meant it has avoided a drop in sales.

“It’s been interesting, but surprisingly enough A.R.T. hasn’t impacted us as deeply as we expected,” Jeremy said. “We’ve held our own. Sales have been down, yes. We have noticed a drop, but it has not been significant by any means. We’re one of the lucky few.”

Tractor does have a couple things in its favor. First off, it has its own established parking lot out front, and many customers over the years have learned to park on the side streets like Silver and Tulane. The taproom also has a loyal clientele from the residential neighborhood to the south.

“What’s nice about our Nob Hill location is it’s more like a Cheers (style) bar,” Jeremy said. “There’s a ton of regulars and those regulars still come, mostly from around the neighborhood.”

Parking issues are still there for everyone, however.

“We’re one of the lucky few where we have parking, unlike areas like Harvard, for instance, in the Bricklight District,” Jeremy said. “That’s a lot tougher. Getting there is really tough, getting in and out is really tough. I know Winnings (Coffee) is having a tough time. They have the Indiegogo campaign for $10,000. It’s really sad to see that it’s impacting those bigger businesses as well. I don’t want to see Off-Broadway go out of business. AstroZombies won’t go out of business, but they’ve taken a hit. Everyone has taken a hit. Nob Hill Bar & Grill, they’ve taken a hit. Even Two Fools.”

It is that drop in support for all businesses in Nob Hill that has Tractor concerned.

“All in all, it has impacted us, but not bad,” Jeremy said. “We’re more concerned with the neighborhood in general. That’s our biggest concern right now, concerned with the other businesses shutting down like Red Wing (Shoes), Hey Johnny, the furniture store. We’re worried about the impact on Nob Hill in general, because that impacts all of us.”

These sorts of signs are becoming all too common in Nob Hill, worrying the breweries and taprooms.

Kaktus has made moves to try to combat that by bringing the various businesses together.

“We’ve been trying to get involved wherever we can,” Dana said. “We did that passport program recently to encourage business and encourage the businesses to come together and build that excitement. I’m happy to see that our numbers are going up, because that means we’ll probably make it, even though it’s been a struggle. Chances are high we’ll make it, especially after the construction is done. We should see some strong numbers.”

The passport program involved 19 businesses on or near Central, where patrons could get a small booklet and receive a stamp every time they made a purchase. They could then turn them in to be part of a drawing for $700 in prizes.

“It got us some positive exposure in the media,” Dana said. “It’s the perception that people are getting more than anything else, if we kind of create events, they’ll make their way down. That was pretty successful for the first one. The biggest thing was we got positive news. It was in the Journal. KOAT covered it.”

Kaktus may look to do a second go-around with the passport program, Dana said, as construction is expected to continue through July. Those construction plans extending into summer is where the Nob Hill locations could start to see a major impact.

As Dan noted for Kellys, “we’re patio driven, so we’re also weather driven,” meaning the coming weeks and months will truly show whether or not the construction will have a tangible effect on the brewpub.

“They’ll probably finish the bulk of the construction during our slow season,” Dan said. “(But) it will be interesting to see what happens when they’re working on the sidewalk on our side of the street.”

The bulk of the sidewalk construction is currently along the north side of Central in Nob Hill. It has created headaches for locations such as Il Vicino, Two Fools, Matanza, and more. Once it reaches the south side, where it could begin to affect Tractor, Kellys, Nob Hill Bar & Grill, and even close to Bosque.

The sidewalk construction is creeping closer toward Kellys.

One major casualty, events wise, has been the loss of the annual Pride Parade, which will move to Lomas this year. The uncertain end date for construction means that Route 66 Summerfest could also be in jeopardy of being relocated.

“That’s a huge loss for us, especially for Tractor and our involvement in the LGBTQR community,” Jeremy said. “That’s one of our big demographics. We have Drag Queen Bingo and we do events sometimes with the social club. At Pride we do a float and people come to Tractor (afterwards). That was a big loss for us and we weren’t too happy about it moving to Lomas, but we understood. You can’t do that on Central right now.”

Tractor still intends to be involved with the parade.

“The word as of now is next year it will move back to Central, which is good,” Jeremy said. “Also, they’re working with me to let Tractor to close down a portion of the street or block in Nob Hill and host a post-Pride Parade party. That’s a nice stipulation that they gave us. They’re working with us and Nob Hill Bar & Grill.”

The Tractor staff is thinking positive thoughts about Summerfest staying put. So far, city officials have not officially committed to keeping it in place, nor have they officially said it would be moved. That call may not come for another few weeks, so the city can better analyze the state of the construction and its progress.

“What we were concerned with, and we just had a meeting with the economic development (committee), and our biggest concern has been the loss of Summerfest,” Jeremy said. “As you know, Summerfest is a huge event in Nob Hill. It’s our number one day for sales. That’s the case for a lot of the businesses in Nob Hill. There has been some talk of Summerfest moving away from Nob Hill, but that hasn’t happened. We’re very fortunate for that.”

Kellys, likewise, will miss having the Pride Parade around and hopes that Summerfest is not going anywhere.

“Those are huge bumps,” Dan said. “Losing Pride from Central, we’re busy from 7:30 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. That will definitely impact us. Summerfest is huge, that’s the largest event on Central. Just keep it rolling, get (the construction) done by Summerfest.”

For now, the Nob Hill breweries will keep their fingers crossed that things will keep trending in a positive direction as the construction gets closer to completion. None have been hit so hard that they are in danger of closing shop, but not every business in the district can make the same claim.

“We’re more concerned about the neighborhood in general than ourselves,” Jeremy said. “Tractor will be fine. We do things to try to drive traffic there. We have music two nights a week. We have art openings. We have those events to generate our own traffic. Scalo, I think, is bringing back music as well. It’s about that time of year. We opened our patio. Once the warmer weather is back we’ll see more traffic.”

The Crew will keep an eye on the status of all the breweries and taprooms up and down Central, as well as the ultimate fate of Summerfest.

In the meantime, get back out to the affected areas and show your support for all the businesses in Nob Hill, East Downtown, West Downtown/Old Town, and downtown itself whenever the construction finally reaches there. Let us focus on helping our local small businesses, whether they sell beer or not, keep their doors open, regardless of the status of old Route 66. Lomas and Lead/Coal are our friends!

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The tap handles are being whittled down until only 20 are left at the revamped Kellys.

The tap handles are being whittled down until only 20 are left at the revamped Kellys.

Kellys Brew Pub has sometimes been referred to as the great missed opportunity of Albuquerque breweries. Despite the history, the great location, the huge patio, and more, it had fallen far behind the more modern breweries around the city and state. Even so, it still drew plenty of followers, though the beer geeks had long since migrated to the various craft taprooms and beer bars in Nob Hill. Now, there may finally be a reason to go back.

Santa Fe Dining completed its purchase of Kellys earlier this month, bringing the old joint under new management. This means a new plan is in store, with some big changes on the way. To find out about all the beer-related moves coming down the pipe, I sat down with SFD director of brewing operations James Warren and the Kellys staff on Tuesday afternoon.

“The plan for Kellys is we’re going to pare down the house beers from the 19 or so that they had down to eight,” James said. “Eventually, two seasonal beers going all the time and 20 draft lines from the 67ish that they had here, so that we can have some Blue Corn, some Chama, some Marble and a couple other guys, maybe Quarter Celtic and Bosque down the line.”

Those changes are already underway.

“We won’t be brewing again probably until October,” James said. “We’re rearranging the brewery and selling the home-brewing equipment we have back there. We’re getting rid of all of that.”

This old home-brewing equipment is now for sale. Interested? Contact Santa Fe Dining. (We're serious, do it!)

This old home-brewing equipment is now for sale. Interested? Contact Santa Fe Dining. (We’re serious, do it!)

Kellys head brewer Dan Cavan and assistant brewer Ben Lenetsky will remain in their roles.

“We’re going to send these two guys around to Blue Corn and Chama, learn a little bit about Santa Fe Dining and the way we like to brew things,” James said. “Then we’ll get going again and hopefully we’ll sell out of our current inventory of Kellys beer and then we’ll start over again.”

There are still about 40 beers on tap. As each one runs out, it will simply be taken off. Eventually the area with all the taps will be remodeled just like the rest of the building. The smaller TVs have been removed, leaving just the bigger screens. It feels more open and welcoming inside.

“All the Budweiser signs are gone,” James said with a smile. “The distributors took back all the neons.”

It just feels like there is more breathing room inside the bar area.

It just feels like there is more breathing room inside the bar area.

The types of dishes on the food menu have not been changed much, but how the food is made is being changed. The ingredients will be more local, and everything will be made in house.

The beer, though, is what most people have complained about over the years. As the local scene evolved, Kellys remained stuck in the past. How old were the recipes?

“They date back, let’s see, we’ll go through them,” Dan said. “Blonde is relatively new. Golden, that’s 10 years, at least. Apricot is basically the Blonde with apricot extract. Amber, gosh, that’s probably older than 15. Session IPA is six, seven years old. IPA again is same as Amber for the most part, probably 12 to 15 years old. Mars DIPA is brand new. Scottish Ale, that one I’ve tweaked a lot, but basically it’s about six to seven years old. And then the Oatmeal Stout, I’ve tweaked that a lot, too, so that’s basically a couple years old.”

The styles of beer will not change, but how they are made and what they are made with will change to make them more comparable.

“There’s some good history to it,” James said. “We want to keep those same styles of beer to honor those ideas, but we want more of a modern brewing approach.”

The brewhouse is only two years old and does not need to be replaced.

The brewhouse is only two years old and does not need to be replaced.

The three canned beers — Amber, Apricot, Session IPA — will remain the same. For Dan, though, it will mean a new opportunity to make other beers as well. He reflected on a conversation with Zach Guilmette of Canteen, where Dan asked how many seasonals Zach has made so far in 2016. Zach could not come up with a number, Dan said, while Kellys made less than he could count on one hand.

“It’s a breath of fresh air for me, honestly, just because that menu was so overwhelming, I couldn’t break free from it,” Dan said. “It was that and the way the old owners liked it.

“I’m just looking at it as a clean slate type of thing. We have a decent base of beers, let’s just tweak them. This is not 2000, you don’t have to have 17 styles. You don’t have to have a red, brown, and amber on tap at all times. Getting back into brewing, is what I like to call it.”

Gotta admit, this new display of malt, hops, and wheat is pretty cool. James Warren photo bomb not usually included.

Gotta admit, this new display of malt, hops, and wheat is pretty cool. James Warren photo bomb not usually included.

Kellys has always drawn a crowd from the general public. Now it may be able to bring back the craft beer geeks who have moved away.

“It has tons of potential,” James said. “What we have here in this area that nobody else has — a brewery. There’s lots of taprooms and stuff, but nobody is making the beer right here (in Nob Hill). At this time right now, to be able to reorganize these beers, focus more on a modern idea of what beer is to New Mexico, to dial in these beers, we’ll make them more modern, we’ll make it more interesting.”

The Crew will head over in October when the revamped beers are ready. We look forward to seeing what a modern brewing setup can do for Kellys.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister