If you want to taste the winners, the Boxing Bear taproom is located in Northwest Albuquerque on the sandy banks of the Rio Grande (10200 Corrales Road N.W.).
BY EFRAIN VILLA
Another microbrewery has opened up in your neighborhood. You, along with everyone else in town, may be thinking: “I like beer. I like food trucks. I should open a brewery!” Well, not so fast.
Although Albuquerque is a brewer’s mecca, there are factors other than location to consider before you dip into the sudsy world of professional microbrewing. Justin Hamilton, veteran brewer and co-owner at Boxing Bear Brewing Co., stresses that newcomers to the brewing business need to do their homework to ensure they can hold their own in a market that is flush with high-quality beers. “Albuquerque is one of the best brewing cities – not just in the nation but in the world,” said Hamilton. “The brewing community here is very tight-knit, and many of us have been brewing with each other for more than a decade. We take our jobs very seriously.”
Hamilton believes there is still room for growth, as long as start-up breweries are willing to bring their A-game. “The market is far from saturated, but we are always mindful of newcomers because bad beer can ruin the reputation we’ve worked so hard to create in New Mexico. It can even negatively affect tourism and other industries. As long as newbie brewers produce quality beer, we will be here to embrace them.”
Quality beer is something that Boxing Bear Brewing Co., open less than a year, is already nationally known for. Earlier this month their Hefeweizen (Hairy Mit Hefe) and Bohemian Pilsner (Body Czech) took silver medals in the North American Beer Awards competition; their Chocolate Milk Stout brought home the bronze. This event is sanctioned by the North American Brewers Association to determine which brews are the best in the country.
If you want to taste the winners, the Boxing Bear taproom is located in Northwest Albuquerque on the sandy banks of the Rio Grande (10200 Corrales Road N.W.). Call ahead to 897-2327 if you’re interested in taking a free tour of their facilities. While enjoying their patio or indoor pub, you can also partake in other goodies they produce onsite, such as wine, cider, food and small-batch specialty beers. You may see Boxing Bear beer flowing from a tap near you soon, as they’re hard at work expanding their wholesale operations. This summer their featured seasonals are the
Black-eye IPA and Sucker Punch Double IPA. Visit their website, boxingbearbrewing.com, to learn more.
You might be wondering what’s with all these steroidal IPAs hop, hop, hopping to the heavens. “Albuquerque is known for being an IPA town,” said Hamilton. “We do hoppy very well here.” We do hoppy so well, in fact, that local breweries have to jump through impressive hoops to ensure they have enough hops on hand to keep cranking out the beers New Mexicans love. “Increased demand for hops throughout the country means we have to contract with suppliers years in advance,” says Jessica Myers, general manager at Bosque Brewing Company. She adds that they have enough Citra hops to brew their National IPA Challenge winner, Scale Tipper IPA, twice more in 2015. Citra trademarked hops are a rare, aromatic variety that are in extremely high demand.
Fortunately Bosque Brewing Company is working tirelessly to reduce any potential for craft beer scarcity in our state. Earlier this year, they opened taprooms in Las Cruces (901 E. University) and Albuquerque’s Nob Hill (106 Girard Blvd. S.E.).
“It was exhausting to open two new taprooms in different parts of the state within a span of just three weeks, but they are both doing well,” said Myers. “In fact we will soon be expanding the Las Cruces taproom by moving to another location in the same strip mall. That will give us three times the space we currently have.” The new location will feature a full kitchen and a layout similar to their Nob Hill taproom.
Maybe drinking beer simply isn’t enough to pacify your soul. Maybe you’re one of those do-gooders who must make the world a better place with every action you take. Fret not. Bosque Brewing Company allows Good Samaritans to drink for a worthy cause. Every month, one dollar from each featured beer sold is donated to a preselected charitable organization. There are also commemorative glasses patrons can buy to remind them of their good deed long after the alcohol-induced warm and fuzzies have faded away. Nonprofit organizations seeking to apply for funding can find more information on their website at bosquebrewingcom.
You can reach Efrain Villa at aimlessvagabond.com