Posts Tagged ‘Nexus Brewery’

An armed man was shot and killed by an off-duty federal agent inside Nexus Brewery on Saturday night. (Crew archive photo)

The Crew were scattered about Saturday night when we all started to see tweets and other messages indicating that some sort of police incident occurred at Nexus Brewery’s original location along the Interstate 25 frontage road north of Montgomery.

After a day-plus of news reporting, we have now learned that an off-duty FBI agent shot and killed Cody Guy Wrathall, 43, who had entered the brewery with a gun in hand. Albuquerque Police had received a call from an unidentified woman that she was running from a stalker and had sought refuge in Nexus at around 8 p.m. (or 9 p.m. in other reports).

Different reports have stated that Wrathall was either the woman’s ex-boyfriend or ex-husband. It is also unclear if there was more than one off-duty FBI agent present, or if Wrathall ever opened fire. APD initially described the shooting as the result of a domestic incident.

A witness interviewed by KOB Channel 4 said that one man with a gun ordered another to put his weapon down. Gunshots were then exchanged as patrons and staff ran for cover.

Nexus was understandably closed Sunday, but said in a Facebook post that business would resume today (Monday). The police investigation of the shooting is ongoing, but has wrapped up the physical portion of the investigation inside the taproom.

A sign posted in a Nexus window on Sunday read, “We decide(d) to close today because of the shooting last night. We wanted to allow our staff to recover and to let them have some time to allow the incident to pass. We thank everyone for the numerous messages of support and prayers. We will open on Monday and things will get back to normal. Thank you. Ken Carson, Jr.”

Over the years, there have been a small number of fistfights that have broken out in brewery taprooms, but certainly nothing on this scale. All we can say is that we are glad no customers or employees were injured.

As this appears to be an isolated, but tragic, incident, all we can hope is that people continue to support Nexus and partake in its delicious food and beer.

If there is further news about the incident, we will follow up.

— 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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No, we did not ask Mayor Tim Keller to wear that shirt, he did it on his own, and we approve.

Sometimes, to get what you want, it really is all about who you know. In our case, we just needed long-time friend-of-the-Crew Carlos Contreras’ help to land an interview with Mayor Tim Keller. After a careful negotiation of our schedules (mainly his), we were able to sit down with our Metal Mayor over a pint of Munich Dunkel at Dialogue Brewing to discuss all things craft beer in Albuquerque.

“Well, I think at a very surface level, it’s something we’re very good at,” Keller said of our craft brewing industry. “This is a pride thing for us. I forget the exact publication or ranking, but we’re top 10 or top 25 in all of them. I think in one we’re top five. That’s just a great thing for our city in general.

“I think there’s a lot of things that people take for granted, like our open space, our outdoors, and our culture. And, in some ways now, it’s our brewing scene. I think we’ve come to expect it (to always be there) and we don’t realize it’s actually something special.”

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Truer words were never spoken. Now it’s time to party with Nexus all weekend!

Rather than try to jam it into an already packed Memorial Day weekend, Nexus Brewery is moving up its anniversary party to this weekend. All the feasting, drinking, and fun will take place at all three Nexus locations Friday through Sunday.

“As we move into our eighth year in operation, we are thankful for the support we have received from the community,“ owner Ken Carson said in a press release.

The beer part of the celebration begins today (Thursday) with the return of Beam Me Up Scotty (8.1% ABV, 28 IBU), Nexus’ classic Scottish Wee Heavy. Friday will mark the arrival of a new beer, 8 of 9 Blood Orange American Wheat (5.6% ABV, 21 IBU).

There will be live music, of course, with the Racine Kreyol Band taking the stage Friday at the original location from 6 to 9 p.m. RKB will then head to the Nexus Blue Smokehouse to perform on the patio Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. The Gershom Brothers will provide the music at the main location Saturday from 1 to 4, followed by Raven Rutherford and her Sweet Potato Pie Band from 6 to 9. The Gershom Brothers will then head over to the Nexus Silver Taproom to perform Sunday from 2 to 5.

As for food, there will be quite a few specials in addition to the classics like chicken and waffles. Shrimp and grits, green chile hush puppies, and strawberry slab pie will be available at the brewery. Nexus Blue and Silver will have gumbo and red beans and rice available for the weekend.

There will also be special eighth anniversary shirts and pint glasses for sale.

“We come to you this eighth year by adding BBQ to our menu in the form of Nexus Blue Smokehouse. This is ‘The Next Generation,’ so to speak,” Carson said. “We have become more than just a brewery, we are a full-fledged restaurant that makes its own beer, and we can stand head-to-head with any brewery or restaurant in Albuquerque. These concepts are created around casual vibes where you can come to socialize with your family and friends. That is what being in the Nexus is about.”

We will raise a pint, and probably a drumstick or two (one fried, one smoked BBQ) to Nexus this weekend.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

Nexus Blue Smokehouse hosts its grand opening today.

The long wait is finally over today (Tuesday) as Nexus Blue Smokehouse holds its grand opening at 1511 Broadway Blvd. SE. Located on the west side of the street, just three buildings south of Avenida Cesar Chavez (the first two are a gas station and an Albuquerque Police substation), Nexus Blue will be open from 4 to 9 p.m.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a sneak preview on Friday night, which granted me an advance tasting of the menu and a chance to take some photos of the finished space. Only the main dining area was open, so it was a bit crowded, but that is to be expected. As owner Ken Carson noted in our Look Back/Look Ahead Series article, the plan is for Nexus Blue to do mainly takeout orders at the outset. If you are planning to sit down at the taproom and enjoy a meal, please be patient.

Customers order their food at the front counter, and servers will then bring it to you in the dining area if you are eating on site.

The food, of course, is the star here. Nexus Blue has a barbecue-centric menu of smoked meats, with only a few of the more classic Nexus dishes (chicken and waffles, fish tacos) available. With the rest of the Crew unavailable, I was a good son and brought my parents to the sneak preview after they finished their stint as volunteers at the new Brain exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (hint: you should also check that out).

Your barbecue options feature smoked meats by the half-pound, five sandwich/taco options, or mega meals like The Spread and The Big Feed. The Spread can feed four to five people, with one pound of brisket or burnt ends, plus one pound of pulled pork or two hot links, plus a half-chicken or half-rack of ribs, plus two sides (pints). The Big Feed is all of the above plus six pieces of fried chicken, with quart-sized sides.

The half-rack of ribs, brisket, and french fries all went quite well with a pint of Scottish Ale.

Since there were only three of us, we each picked a different item off the menu, selecting a half-rack of ribs, a pulled pork sandwich, and a half-pound of brisket. For sides, we ordered french fries and smoked BBQ beans. The pulled pork and brisket were quite good. There is also a BBQ sauce station, so you can decide how much sauce, and what kind, you want on your meat(s). The other smoked meat options are hot links, burnt ends, and a half smoked chicken, plus of course a full rack of ribs. Additional sandwich options include a brisket, burnt ends, and hot links, plus there are brisket tacos. Other sides include mac n cheese, fried okra, coleslaw, potato salad, collard greens, and fried pickles. There are also a couple of dessert options in biscuit bread pudding and cherry/peach cobbler.

I am leaving out the prices, just in case anything has changed since Friday, but I found everything to be reasonably priced. Heck, my dad agreed, and if you can get a 75 year old to agree on the cost of food, that is a plus. Most of the main dishes were in the $8-to-$12 range.

Owner Ken Carson, center, stepped in to help his staff keep things flowing.

As for the beer, they had the regular Nexus offerings on draft, including the Cream Ale, Red Ale, Scottish Ale, Chocolate Porter, and Imperial Cream. There are eight taps in total, so a seasonal or two might pop up from time to time.

Overall, we were impressed with Nexus Blue on its first night of operation. As we have said many times in the past, please be patient and courteous with the staff of any new taproom/restaurant/brewery. They are still learning how everything works, especially as things get busier and busier. The important thing is the food is delicious, the beer is what you have come to expect from Nexus, and the space is a warm and inviting one. Do take note that the parking lot on the north side of the building is not a big one, so please endeavor to carpool if you are traveling with a large group.

We will see some of you here before the soccer game this weekend!

Whether you stop by today, later this week, or pregame the New Mexico United match on Saturday, have fun and try not to eat your body weight in smoked meats. We cannot promise that we will not attempt to do just that.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister

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 future location of the Nexus Blue Smokehouse could open its doors in February.

Nexus Brewery owner Ken Carson is a busy man these days. We had originally scheduled an interview for a Look Back/Look Ahead Series entry back in December, but it had to be postponed until last week. When we did have the time to sit down to talk about everything, from the early challenges in 2018 to the forthcoming third Nexus location tentatively expected to open in February, I also ended up getting a bit of a lesson in local history, which fits particularly well on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

First, a bit of background. Yes, the long-awaited Nexus Blue Smokehouse is getting close to finally opening its doors. Its location at 1523 Broadway SE, just south of Avenida Cesar Chavez, has a connection to the past that made it too important for Ken to pass up when he was looking for a third Nexus location.

“I know some people are probably wondering why that location,” he said. “My family is from Albuquerque. My dad, his parents brought him to that neighborhood back in 1929. Our family has been in that area for a long time. Now, the neighborhood doesn’t look like it used to be (because it was) the black neighborhood. That was the only place you could buy a house in Albuquerque back in those days.”

The demographic of the neighborhood has shifted in the decades since from African-American to Hispanic, but the previous owner of the building was still tied into the original history.

“The guys that owned the building were the Navajo Elks,” Ken said. “The history of the Navajo Elks was the Navajo Elks were all over the country, (they were) the African-American Elks. They separated from the regular Elks, in fact they just stole the name. They got sued over it, but then ultimately the Elks just gave up and said forget it.”

Segregation caused a need for separate establishments.

“Then what happened was because blacks couldn’t go to the nightclubs and stuff … they put various nightclubs across the country especially in parts of the country where the population of blacks was not that big,” Ken said. “The reason being, say you’re in a town in Mississippi where the population was 50 percent, there’s going to be a guy that owns his own nightclub. Well, in New Mexico, I don’t what it was in the 50s, but back in those days the population wasn’t big enough to support it, so they created these nightclubs across the country. I’ve been to ones in Denver, there was here in Albuquerque, (and) there was one in Phoenix. A lot of them were in the Southwest.”

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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

Bow & Arrow stole all the flavor and put it in the Breakfast Bandit.

A pair of delicious seasonal stouts appeared on tap for International Stout Day last Thursday, and to the surprise of no one, of course I went and tried both of them.

First up was Breakfast Bandit, the latest in Bow & Arrow’s series of pastry stouts. Checking in at 9-percent ABV, it is the biggest to date. Made with 240 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts and a whole lot of local coffee, the flavor is stronger with the latter than the former. There is still a fair amount of sweetness on the back end, but it doesn’t leave you wanting to rush home and brush your teeth to avoid a cavity or anything. Mostly, it is a big blast of coffee roast, with an appropriate amount of thickness in terms of the mouthfeel. As the stout warms, it gets even more complex. This is one of those beers where you might end up drinking a couple before you even realize it, so make sure you can handle the higher ABV.

For the second stout, Mustaches and Cream, that came with a group visit to Canteen. Franz Solo, Brandon, and I were meeting to discuss our applicants for the open writing spots on the Crew. Naturally, we stuck with tradition and ordered the darkest seasonal on the menu. Made with chocolate and vanilla, M&C is a burly stout, one that does not hit you with too much sweetness. Brandon tasted a lot of coffee in this one, even though technically there was no coffee in it. The powerful roast of the stout balances out with the sweeter additives. Even better, a portion of the proceeds of this beer go to Movember.

A couple other beers worth checking out around town are the Citra SMASH at Red Door and the Wee Stache, the collaboration Scotch ale at both Steel Bender and High and Dry, with proceeds from that tasty brew also going to Movember.

The rest of the Crew were off and running around town, revisiting some old favorite haunts.

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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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