Posts Tagged ‘La Reforma’

These guys are gonna be the next brewery to open in Albuquerque this Friday!

All of us in the Crew figured we would have a nice, relaxing June after ABQ Beer Week ended. Then, a new brewery opened. And, another one. And, another one. It has left a lot of people’s heads spinning, trying to remember what is open, and what is still on deck. To help out everyone else, and maybe even to help ourselves, we present the great guide of everything that has opened since about May 20, will be open soon, and what is much further down the road.

ALREADY OPEN

Ex Novo Brewing, Corrales: If you have not been to this most excellent NM version of the popular Portland, Oregon brewery, you are missing out. Its beers are now popping up at bars and restaurants around town, and you can pick up six-packs and four-packs, but really, you should drive up Corrales road a ways and enjoy the most excellent taproom that is adjacent to the big production brewery. It is right across the street from the fire station and Corrales Bistro Brewery (which does not, alas, brew its own beer). Just please remember to adhere to the strict 30 MPH speed limit.

Enchanted Circle Brewing Taproom, San Mateo and Osuna: The Angel Fire brewery’s taproom also opened during Beer Week. They have a full kitchen, and all the beers from up north. They are tucked into the same shopping center as Amy’s Donuts, right near Cliff’s amusement park.

Blue Grasshopper Brewing Taproom, Second Street and Summer: The latest addition to the Wells Park brewing scene is almost a carbon copy of the other two Blue Grasshopper locations, and that is just fine. Enjoy a wood-fired pizza and a huge beer list (mainly guest taps). They are still working on building the brewery in the other half of the building.

Hops Brewery Taproom, Los Ranchos: Located at 7226 Fourth Street, north of Osuna/south of Paseo del Norte, this charming little spot has a lot of beer, not much parking (carpool, please), and a limited food menu, but it often has food trucks pulling up for special occasions.

Thirsty Eye Brewing, Broadway and Gold: The neighborhood pub for EDo (East Downtown) is now open, serving coffee starting at 7:30 a.m. and beer in the afternoon/evening. We got a full preview of this spot from the good group of people who have made it a reality at 206 Broadway SE.

La Reforma Brewery, San Mateo and Alameda: We got to chow down in advance of the opening of this brewery in the old Bosque taproom space at 8900 San Mateo. The taqueria food, done Mexico City-style, is excellent, the beers are tasty, and as a result we think this is gonna be a popular joint for a long time to come.

Brew Lab 101, Rio Rancho: We did a full preview a while back, but now this long-awaited addition to the RR scene has opened as of Tuesday night. Featuring beer and cider, it is just west of Turtle Mountain on Southern, past the post office and before you get to Joe’s Pasta House. Speaking of which, you can bring in food from there and other local establishments so that you do not drink on an empty stomach.

ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE OPEN

Black Snout Brewhouse, Juan Tabo and Menaul: The good news is that we will be able to move these guys to the open list as of Friday night. The grand opening is set, so make sure to head on over and tell us what you think of the beers, the space, the whole thing. One of our writers is planning on a review to run early next week, just in case you want us to test the waters first.

Quarter Celtic Brewpub Taproom, Juan Tabo: Just around the corner from Black Snout, the QC taproom is very close to opening. How close? We just got invited to a soft opening/trial run for the spot. It should be ready for everyone well before July 4 rolls around.

FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD

Among those breweries still in the planning/built-out stages are the B2B Garden Brewery, on Comanche just west of Wyoming; Turquoise Trail Brewing, on Central near Juan Tabo; Hausammann Brewhaus, on Central across from UNM; Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing, on Sixth Street just a few blocks south of Bow & Arrow; Desert Valley Brewing’s taproom on San Mateo, just a block south of where Enchanted Circle opened; and Tractor Brewing’s taproom in Los Lunas.

Breweries outside the ABQ metro area still on the docket include 575 Brewing (Alamogordo), Boogie’s Brewery & Distillery (Deming), Lauter Haus Brewing (Farmington), Piedra Blanca Brewery (White Rock), Public House 28 (Anthony), and off-site taprooms from Boese Brothers (Los Alamos), Icebox (Northeast Las Cruces), Lost Hiker (Downtown Ruidoso), Picacho Peak (Alamogordo), Red Door (Roswell), and Truth or Consequences (Las Cruces). Oh, and then of course there are the new Bosque taprooms coming to Santa Fe and Las Cruces (yes, a third one), but those do not have pending licenses yet with the State of New Mexico.

Got all that? We will do our best to keep you continuously updated. In the meantime, enjoy the new ones, support the old ones, and just in general have fun with the vast variety of breweries that we have across New Mexico.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Stoutmeister needed some help reviewing La Reforma Brewery, so he brought along Erin and Dan (who took the photo, but you probably know him as the guy in the Crew shirt who sometimes wears a kilt).

La Reforma Brewery officially opens today (Monday) at 8900 San Mateo Blvd. NE, but a few of us in the industry — or industry adjacent — were invited to a soft opening Friday night.

While I am perfectly comfortable reviewing the beer the general setup of a new place, I am quite possibly the worst person imaginable to review authentic Mexico City-style food, mainly due to a specific allergy. With that in mind, I brought along my friends Dan and Erin, both of whom took a vacation to Mexico City back in March.

It’s the old Bosque space re-imagined.

First up, the space is both the same one you were used to with Bosque being there, but also there are subtle changes. The bar is still up front, but the tables have been changed around to have a more personalized dining experience (no more community tables). The TVs are still up there on the wall, but we forgot to ask co-owners John Gozigian and Jeff Jinnett if they will be showing soccer games in the future. We will let them announce watch parties online.

The initial beer lineup had three of the four beers available for us to try. La Ref Lager, Maximillian (Dunkel), and Turbia Hazy IPA were ready, with Hi-Wit (Hibiscus Belgian Wit) not quite ready for us, but it will be on tap today. There are also a Michelada made with the La Ref, Bosque guest taps (see our previous story as to how Bosque and La Reforma are sharing the brewery), and six cocktails made with the spirits distilled on site.

From left to right, La Ref Lager, Turbia Hazy IPA, and Maximillian Dunkel were all solid house beers.

We each ordered a flight of the three beers, with Dan and Erin opting for Micheladas, then a cocktail each, before Dan switched to a lager to finish and Erin had one more cocktail. They mostly just made yummy sounds when it came to the Micheladas and cocktails, which were also at many of the other tables around us.

My own take on the beers was that the La Ref was quite the standout. It tastes like a high-end cerveza, with the Tettnanger hops and corn sweetness combining for quite the sweet beer. At just 4.8-percent ABV, it hits the spot without leaving you too loopy.

The old bar is still there, but note the windows looking into the brewery and the kitchen.

The Maxmillian (5.5% ABV) is a Munich-style dunkel. It is a solid beer, but could use a little more flavor. Franz Solo is our resident German beer expert, so at some point I will need to utilize his palate to figure out exactly what is missing with the Max, but if anyone else out there wants to try it and let us know your opinion, please do so.

The Turbia (7.2% ABV) is neither too juicy, nor too hoppy. It ends up somewhere in the middle, with even the non-IPA fans at the table enjoying it. We will see what the haze-heads think of it, as I could see the recipe changing based on their whims to either juicier or hoppier.

The Mexico City-style quesadillas were a huge hit, as was that jalapeno green sauce.

Now, as for the food, here are the quick reviews that Erin emailed over shortly before slipping into a food coma at home:

  • The jalapeño “salsa de Lupe” was reminiscent of the purest CDMX flavors. This particular batch was also hot enough to knock you on your ass before you even threw a punch.
  • The carnitas burrito was so packed full of flavorful ingredients that we didn’t even have room in our stomachs for the tacos we ordered. But, I have a feeling they will be amazing on the re-fry!
  • If you’ve never had true Mexican-style quesadillas, do yourself a favor and order them here. You’ll never want to order Americanized quesadillas ever again for fear of utter disappointment.
  • The “El Tri” was a refreshing summer cocktail that was deceptively … alcoholic. The Michelada was spot-on. The crisp, bright lager was a flawless base that complemented the michelada mix all too well.

We also need to point out that our server was excellent (we made sure to tell her bosses), and the service overall for a brand-new brewery/eatery was impressive. As always, please be patient as some kinks will still need to be worked out here and there, especially when things get really busy at peak hours. The good news is that the owners are not new to any of this, so they should be able to straighten things out in a hurry and have La Reforma operating like a well-oiled machine in record time.

A big thanks to John and Jeff for the invitation, and to Erin and Dan for coming along to be my official food tasters (they have volunteered for future missions as well).

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

The new Hops Taproom in Los Ranchos is ready for its grand opening this weekend.

Now that I am back at work (yay, money), the beer news is starting to pile up, so let us get to a few pertinent items.

First, though, in a moment of self-promotion, I will be giving a free talk about the history of brewing in Albuquerque this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Special Collections Library, which is located on the northwest corner of Central and Edith, directly across from the Artichoke Cafe. I will have copies of Albuquerque Beer: Duke City History on Tap for sale ($20, cash only), and this talk will include the story of how an Old West shootout impacted the first Southwest Brewery in 1884.

Moving along …

Here a taproom opening, there a taproom opening

We already chronicled how the third Blue Grasshopper location at Summer and Second Street opened its doors during ABQ Beer Week. It was far from alone among new offsite taprooms holding soft openings.

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Say hello to the forthcoming Thirsty Eye Brewing, under construction now at Broadway and Gold. (Photo courtesy of Thirsty Eye)

It is a relatively quiet week out there, spring winds aside, so it felt like a good time to dust off the old beer notebook.

New brewery updates

We keep waiting for the number of forthcoming breweries to dwindle down, but that has not happened yet. There are currently five breweries with active small brewer licenses around the state which have yet to open their doors, another nine with pending licenses, and a handful of places adding a brewing license to an existing business.

  • 575 Brewing, Alamogordo (pending): This new brewery is being built from the ground up, with foundation construction having commenced on April 19 at 234 W. 8th Street.
  • B2B Garden Brewery, Albuquerque (pending): We do not have any updates on this space, located on Comanche just west of Wyoming.
  • Beer Creek Brewing, outside Santa Fe (pending): Our last trip out there found that business was going well and the brewing system was finally in place. For now, stop by and enjoy a pizza, guest beers, and even some collaboration beers made at other local breweries.
  • Black Snout Brewhouse, Albuquerque (active): The Crew will be stopping in early next week, which means that this brewery is nearly ready to open its doors on Menaul just east of Juan Tabo.
  • Boogie’s Brewery and Distillery, Deming (pending): There are no new updates for this long-awaited successor to Mimbres Valley Brewing.
  • Brew Lab 101, Rio Rancho (active): The projected timetable is for a late May opening. For more info, see our last story.
  • Ex Novo Brewing, Corrales (active): The first test batches are now running in the brewery hall, while renovations continue on the adjacent taproom building across the parking lot. We expect to return soon for a final preview story.
  • La Reforma Brewing, Albuquerque (active): The goal of opening in early June in the old Bosque location, on San Mateo north of Alameda, has not changed.
  • Lauter Haus Brewing, Farmington (pending): Progress continues on this new brewery, spearheaded by former Three Rivers head brewer Brandon Beard. The fun news? They have purchased some vintage arcade games for the taproom.
  • Looking Glass Spirits & Long Lost Brewing, Albuquerque (pending): We finally dug up an address for this newcomer, which will be located at 1803 Sixth Street NW, just three blocks south of Bow & Arrow. There is still no social media with which to follow the progress, so we will remain patient.
  • Piedra Blanca Brewing, White Rock (pending): We have no updates at this time on this brewery located in the town next to Los Alamos.
  • Public House 28, Anthony (pending): Other than the fact that this newcomer has already joined the NM Brewers Guild, we have no new info. It will be located outside Anthony at 10108 Highway 28.
  • Rail Brewery, Santa Fe (pending): We have no new updates.
  • Thirsty Eye Brewing, Albuquerque (active): The Crew has made contact with the owners and we hope to make our first trip over to 206 Broadway Blvd. SE sooner than later. You can follow their progress on Facebook.
  • Turquoise Trail Brewing, Albuquerque (pending): We have no new updates on this brewery, located on Central near Juan Tabo.

In addition to those breweries with pending or active licenses, we did learn more about the mysterious Context Brewing that popped up on the Brew to Do list that we wrote about recently. It is apparently the brewery going into a space at 816 Third Street NW. Former Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian tipped us off to a possible brewery going into that space, but again, there is no pending license yet, so it figures to be a ways off.

New taproom updates

The home of the future Truth or Consequences Brewing taproom in Las Cruces. (Photo courtesy of T or C Brewing)

Yes, there are also more off-site taprooms still in the pipeline. Because of course there are, right?

  • Blue Grasshopper, Albuquerque (pending): Located in Wells Park, we wrote on this one before, and when there is more news to share, we will head back. We assume a license for the brewery half of the building is still in the works.
  • Boese Brothers, Los Alamos (pending): Our man Reid still has not figured out where this taproom is going to be located.
  • Desert Valley, Albuquerque (active): Progress continues on Wyoming near Comanche, which is where this taproom is replacing the former Red Door spot.
  • Desert Valley, Albuquerque (pending): Wait, what? There are two DV taprooms in the works? Yes, we have now confirmed a second one is indeed happening at 5231 San Mateo Blvd. NE. Located a block south of Osuna and the next taproom listed below, this space was under construction/renovation the last time we drove by.
  • Enchanted Circle, Albuquerque (active): The last batch of construction photos show the bar is in place, and states that the taproom is about two weeks away from being ready for opening at Osuna and San Mateo, in the shopping center on the northwest corner of the intersection.
  • Icebox Brewing, Las Cruces (pending): Even though the main brewery opened only recently, an off-site taproom is already in the works, though its exact location has not been revealed.
  • Picacho Peak, Alamogordo (pending): We have no new updates on this first off-site taproom for the Las Cruces brewery.
  • Quarter Celtic, Albuquerque (active): Construction continues apace up on Juan Tabo between Menaul and Indian School, but no opening date has been set.
  • Truth or Consequences, Las Cruces (pending): Yes, T or C is heading south to Las Cruces for its first off-site taproom, as that city is suddenly filling up fast. It will be located on East Lohman, not too far west from Interstate 25.

We will do our best to keep everyone up to date on all of these forthcoming places, as well as keeping an eye on the news at the existing places. May is going to be one heck of a busy month, including the Blazin’ Brewfest in Las Cruces (which will now be preceded by the new Las Cruces Beer Week!) on May 17 and then ABQ Beer Week, which begins May 23. Throw in some expected openings from some of the places above, and there will be no rest for the weary Crew this coming month.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Yeah, it was crowded for a couple hours at the farewell fiesta for Bosque’s San Mateo taproom.

The Bosque San Mateo taproom closed out its nearly seven-year run with a farewell fiesta on Saturday. The only thing is, Bosque will still be brewing at that location, even with La Reforma Brewery set to take over the taproom space this summer. How it will all work going forward comes down to one word — synergy — as 8900 San Mateo NE moves into the future.

To get all of this cleared up, I sat down with La Reforma co-founder John Gozigian, Bosque chief experience officer/owner Jess Griego, and Bosque chief executive officer/owner Gabe Jensen.

“There’s a lot of confusion over who’s behind each thing,” John said. “So La Reforma is a project that was put together by me, Jeff Jinnett, and some investors we brought in. Bosque is involved as well. They contributed basically the entire physical plant, brewing and kitchen equipment, and are substantial owners of the company, too.

“There’s been a lot of synergies developed as the project has moved forward. We’ve figured out a lot of efficiencies and synergies that I think will be good for both businesses. One of the coolest things that’s happening is the current brewers at Bosque San Mateo are going to remain on site and be the brewers for La Reforma. And, they’re also going to be brewing all of Bosque’s one-offs and seasonals for the foreseeable future.”

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Flix Brewhouse’s Unbreakable Glass earned one of four medals at the Best of Craft Beer Awards. (Photo courtesy of Will Moorman)

Here on this blustery Friday, it feels like a good time to stay indoors and catch up on some local beer news as we empty the notebook yet again.

Flix picks up four medals at Best of Craft Beer Awards

If there is a theme early on in 2019 to some of the beer competitions going around, it is that Flix Brewhouse has come to make a statement.

The brewery/movie theater, which makes all of its beers on premises in Albuquerque, earned four medals at the recent Best of Craft Beer Awards. Three other local breweries brought home another four medals, as well.

Flix earned gold in the Baltic-style Porter category with Darth Malt, and another gold in Belgian-style Witbier for Luna Rosa, which is a year-round beer. Flix also picked up a silver for James Blond in the Belgian-style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale category, and a bronze for Unbreakable Glass in the American-style Cream Ale category.

Those medals follow up a strong performance at the Beer Army Beer Wars last month. Congrats to Flix for making New Mexico proud again!

As for the other local winners, Sierra Blanca won gold for its Green Chile Cerveza in the Chili Pepper Beer category (that was how the competition spells Chili, so please don’t yell at us), and a bronze for Cherry Wheat in the Fruit Wheat Beer category. Rio Bravo brought home a silver for its Amber/ESB in the British Bitters category, while Abbey Brewing snagged bronze for its Monks’ Dark Ale in the English-style Mild or Brown Ale category.

Congrats to one and all!

New brewery updates: Things are moving again

Another new brewery is coming to the East Central/Foothills area. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carlson)

The end of the partial shutdown has several of the pending breweries around town back on track. Here is the latest that we know about each.

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The new project from outgoing Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian.

The news that New Mexico Brewers Guild executive director John Gozigian was stepping down at the end of March did not catch us by complete surprise when it was announced last week. We were aware of John being involved in a new project coming to replace the Bosque San Mateo taproom/brewery, and seeing as how the Guild bylaws prohibit the director from having a financial stake in any brewery, that meant his time would eventually be up.

That time is almost here, so I sat down with John over lunch on Monday to talk about his new project, La Reforma, as well as his time with the Guild and what is coming down the line.

“It’s been in the works for a little while,” he said. “When Bosque announced that they were going to developing the Open Space (location), and I learned that they were basically going to leave the space on San Mateo, it got me to thinking. I never intended to get back into the brewing industry. Even less so, was I interested in getting back into the restaurant business.

“But, from an entrepreneurial point of view, you look at a second generation restaurant/brewery space becomes available, and you can potentially cut in half the cost of developing it for that use. The infrastructure is already there.”

John said he talked to managing director Gabe Jensen and ended up “shocked” that no one had approached Bosque about taking over the space. That led to John making a call to an old friend.

“I ran the idea by my former Marble and Santa Fe Dining partner Jeff (Jinnett) about his level of interest in getting back into the brewery/restaurant business,” John said. “Jeff was kind of the same mind I was after we left Marble, don’t need to do (another) brewery, don’t need to do a restaurant. It’s like the Mob, you know, every time you try to get out, they pull you back in. We tend to gravitate back to what we know and what our area of expertise is.”

Our first photo of John Gozigian as Guild executive director was snapped at Starr Brothers three years ago. My, how time flies.

It was Jeff who came up with the idea for La Reforma, which will bring a new theme and approach to a brewery in a town loaded with options.

“Over the years, Jeff had always talked about the restaurants he went to when he was a kid in Mexico City, because he grew up there,” John said. “He would go to these carnitas restaurants, these huge places that specialized in carnitas and tacos, and it was a real family (friendly) thing. There was beer, too. We had talked over the years that if we ever did a brewery again, we would do a Mexico City-style culinary experience, and do some Mexico-style beers, lagers, obviously.”

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