Beer Town coverage flows from Alien Brew Pub to Routes' brewery tour, dances over to Kaktus' belly dancing Thursdays and downs a Rio Bravo barley wine just in time for Bosque Brewery, Ale Republic, and New Mexico Craft Brewery's springtime ribbon-cuttings.
Beer Town: Aliens & Jackalopes
BY TY BANNERMAN
Pub stop at Alien
I visited the newly rebranded Alien Brew Pub the other day, mainly to try the beer and food, although I also wanted to clarify my stance on the 1947 Roswell crash.
The redesigned space, which used to house ABQ Brew Pub, is now bedecked with gray and green bug-eyed humanoids presumably from the region of Chiron Beta-5. The moody lighting gives the joint an appropriately cosmic vibe. It’s a welcome change from the typical generic brewpub décor.
The menu here has been spruced up too. We started with bacon-wrapped dates – a lovely mix of sweet and savory with cranberry-balsamic reduction drizzled all over – and a pile of Buffalo wings.
Both appetizers went beautifully with my massive 22-oz. Black Hole IPA, a dark “pale ale” with a touch of floral hops that evaporate quickly in favor of a strong bitter bite. My wife tried the Galaxy lager, which was surprisingly malty and made for a perfectly refreshing, bolstering springtime pour.
For my entrée, I ordered the Alien burger, a bacon, beef and cheese monstrosity with red chile aioli and strips of breaded, deep-fried green chile. My wife tried the Atlantic cod fish tacos and was pleased, though the slightly-sweet breading made her apprehensive about her wheat allergy.
All in all, our experience at Alien Brew Pub made for a nice change of pace for Uptown dining. Although, I must admit, I didn’t get any answers about the Roswell crash.
Albuquerque loves both bikes and beer, so it’s no surprise that the folks at Routes Bicycle Tours and Rentals found a way to combine the two.
On April 3, they’ll host a 10-to-12 mile brewery tour wherein cyclists will ride their way to Canteen, Marble, Red Door, Rio Bravo and Santa Fe Brewing Company’s taprooms. The route will feature thirst-quenching samples and back room tours aplenty. It’s $60 per biker, and you can rent a bike for just $5. For more info and tickets, visit routesrentals.com.
Every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., get your tipple on at Kaktus Brewing’s Nob Hill taproom (2929 Monte Vista Blvd. NE) while basking in the sensuous, serpentine stylings of the Desert Darlings Belly Dancing Group. Admiring the performance is free and there’s nothing better than observing skilled belly dancers doing their thing while you pour back a pint.
Bosque meets Jackalope
Bosque Brewery has major expansion plans in the works. The company plans to spearhead the redevelopment of the old Jackalope Pottery location in Bernalillo sometime this spring. Once home to the largest pottery and outdoor décor center in New Mexico, the building will provide Bosque with space for a new canning and bottling operation in addition to a taproom, and will also host a restaurant, a retail space and a humbler Jackalope. It’s all part of the Riverpointe Vista mixed-use development.
Meanwhile, Ale Republic is one step closer to unfurling their banner at an East Mountains location. According to the Mountain View Telegraph, this “democratic” brewery – where drinkers will vote on additions to the tap lineup – has taken its final permitting steps and will soon be serving pints. Brewer Patrick Johnson’s plans to cultivate and use wild yeasts for some truly unique ale flavors are also mentioned in the article.
Another brewery has announced its intentions toward Albuquerque, but this one won’t just be serving beer. New Mexico Craft Brewery plans to open our city’s first “cidery” focused on fruity fermentables – think apples, peaches, that sort of thing. The Sandia Hard Cider and Craftroom will have between 10 and 15 taps dispensing cider and beer, although the former will take the lion’s share. Its owners expect to open the Craftroom by late spring.
Brew of the fortnight
Rio Bravo Brewing’s barrel-aged barley wine is no joke. This 10.5 percent ABV monster is a trickster. The interplay between subtly fruity and sweet flavors and tantalizingly bitter hops makes it easy to down two glassfuls; fortunately, they’re only 10 oz. apiece.
This barley wine is a treat to imbibe on a windy spring afternoon, when you’re in need of a bit of insulation. It’s also a great excuse to ponder the inscrutable questions of life, like, if those Roswell bodies were dummies, why the cover-up? It just doesn’t make any damn sense.
Emergency ‘Beer Town’ addendum:
Bosque Brewing’s Scale Tipper IPA has captured top spot in the National IPA Championships held each year by Brewing News. Last year, the award went to La Cumbre’s Project Dank, so it’s safe to say that Albuquerque breweries know their hops and how to use them. Congrats, Bosque Brewing!
Ty Bannerman is a beer drinker, co-host of City on the Edge podcast, and author of “Forgotten Albuquerque” as well as a forthcoming memoir. He most recently served as managing, feature and food editor at Weekly Alibi.