Alibi V.23 No.37 • Sept 11-17, 2014 

A Drinkable Feast

Literary Kegger

A Drinkable Feast’s guide to bookish beering

Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
By now you’ve hopefully had a chance to see what A Drinkable Feast is up to—pairing a local beer and food truck with a damn fine read. For our Harvest Issue, ADF offers you a little something different: We present all of our nearby breweries as a kind of lit-scene, telling you where to get a pint as well as offering a suggestion (based on similarities in their respective arts) as to which famous scribe goes best with their brews. Read and drink deep!

ABQ Brew Pub (Rio Grande Brewing)

(6601Uptown NE)

With so many ways to grab one of their beers, Chama River must be a successful writer—one with vastly different offerings, each able to stand alone and each interesting in their own respect. Clearly then they are the nonfiction adventure writer Jon Krakauer. And their adventure? Into the Wort.

Uptown’s spot for craft beers has got its own niche, its own scene, and a willingness to stir up a little trouble ... all of which make it an ideal Ken Kesey of local brews. Kesey’s books and his merry prankster life were equal parts serious and hilarious—just like ABQ Brew Pub is a great place to get a serious pint after a long sentence in the madhouse (read: shopping at mall).

Back Alley Draft House

(215 Central NW)

A humble spot filled with friendly folks. You’ll have to know where to look to find it, but once you do they’ll be all too happy to tell you about their beers. With her plainspoken verse of the everyman, ADF suggests Willa Cather for the Back Alley—both offer the same homey feel and quiet grace.

Bosque Brewing Company

(8900 San Mateo NE and coming soon to 106 Girard SE)

A brewery that is classy, refined, small, smart and serious, Bosque Brewing is clearly Albuquerque’s Joan Didion. The beers are inventive and surprising, and like Didion’s The White Album (for nonfiction types) or Play It As It Lays (for fiction fiends), the Cumulus Wheat IPA Hybrid isn’t to be missed.

Boxing Bear Brewing Co.

(10200 Corrales NW)

A new and likely undiscovered gem, Boxing Bear is the Willy Vlautin of our beer landscape. A battery of easy-drinking beers, a decent bite to eat, and the no-nonsense space make for a fine pint or three! Like Vlautin, based on what I’ve seen so far, I expect more great things.

Broken Bottle Brewery

(9421 Coors NW)

Earthy, down-home and tucked away. Broken Bottle is the John Steinbeck of our scene. And like Steinbeck, they simply plug away, doing work and making beers they believe in, undeterred by the competition and all-too-happy to have you along for the ride.

Chama River Brewing Company

(4939 Pan American Fwy.; Microbar at 106 Second Street SW; Brand-spanking new Draft Station at 1720 Central SW)

With so many ways to grab one of their beers, Chama River must be a successful writer—one with vastly different offerings, each able to stand alone and each interesting in their own respect. Clearly then they are the nonfiction adventure writer Jon Krakauer. And their adventure? Into the Wort.

Cazuela’s Mexican Grill

(4501 Sara SE, Rio Rancho)

As one of our oddest, most eccentric and unexpected craft brewers, ADF dubs Cazuela’s the Harper Lee of our local scene. The Pastizal stout is terrific and worth the drive to the Westside. And you’re sure to find, in this incredibly unique setting (is it a Mexican restaurant, a brewery or batting cages?), a cast of characters as varied as those in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Il Vicino

(3403 Central NE; 11225 Montgomery NE; 10701 Corrales NW; Brewery Canteen at 2381 Aztec NE)

The wild-haired, seismic force that was Walt Whitman is ADF’s pick for Il Vicino. After all it was Il Vicino that laid down the modern foundation upon which the Albuquerque brew scene is built, and it has, like Whitman, simply become better and better with age. ADF sounds a “barbaric yawp” of drunken appreciation.

Kelly’s Brew Pub

(3222 Central SE)

Location and longevity have established Kelly’s as a prolific and inventive player in our craft brew scene. As such, they seem very much like the Richard Brautigan of breweries—proudly tied to the heart of the city—only instead of ’70s Frisco, their patio overlooks the mother of all mother roads, Route 66.

La Cumbre Brewing Company

(3313 Girard NE)

Anyone familiar with La Cumbre knows their huge flavors border on the deliciously obscene. That’s why ADF is proud to proclaim La Cumbre as the Henry Miller of Albuquerque breweries. The pure, rampaging and audacious guts of their beers belie their exacting attention to detail and their smarts. We commend their willingness to push the envelope.

Have a pint of whimsy at B2B Bistronomy.
Have a pint of whimsy at B2B Bistronomy.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Marble Brewery

(111 Marble NW; 5740 Night Whisper NW)

Inspired, ambitious and determined—great beers, great location and a blue-collar aesthetic that’s hardworking and artful—Marble is the George Orwell of ABQ breweries. Not the 1984 or the Animal Farm Orwell ... no, no. It’s the Down and Out in Paris and London Orwell—at his most subtle and humanitarian with just enough humor and edge!

Nexus Brewery

(4730 Pan American Fwy.)

Being both at the heart of a proposed brewery district and savvy in its approach, Nexus is the John Grisham of ABQ breweries. His first book, A Time to Kill, was surprisingly moving, and a similar quick-paced passion has kept Nexus filling pint glasses and plates for three years. And the fact that they both have a southern flair doesn’t hurt the comparison any.

Stumbling Steer

(3700 Ellison NW)

Maybe it’s the skulls or all the associations with bulls, but the Stumbling Steer—with its gastronomy and woody, masculine architecture—is the Ernest Hemingway of local brews. Expect adventurous, sturdy beers and the lost-generation, jazz-age comforts of its varied and refined menu.

Tractor Brewing Company

(118 Tulane SE; 1800 Fourth Street NW)

Jack Kerouac wrote a stack of novels before On the Road made him famous. So too has Tractor been around, patiently creating a quality body of solid beers. ADF dubs Tractor the Kerouac of ABQ breweries—and raises a mighty glass to their recently garnered and well-earned spot in the brew scene.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company

(905 36th Place SE, Rio Rancho)

The Stephen King of breweries. Way up in Rio Rancho, Turtle Mountain has been churning out quality crowd-pleasers for years—the veritable and capable king of the region. With just the right mix of pub and grub, of comfort and surprise, it’s less It or The Body, and more the On Writing Stephen King—a cut-and-dried how-it’s-done for our pleasure.

Of course our local brewery scene continues to explode, and despite our best efforts to avoid missing anyone—we may well have. I hear tell that B2B Bistronomy is now brewing their own Vonnegution creations (PB&J Ale anyone?) , that Red Door is set to open any day, and I will soon make my way to Kaktus in Bernalillo ... so ADF knows about them. If I’m missing anyone else, feel free to let me know (here or at facebook.com/HoshoMcCreesh), and I’ll be all too happy to try their beers ASAP. Cheers!