To many of us, the craft brewery scene is still fresh and new, only making real waves in the last decade. Granted, many of us also still think that 10 years ago was the ’90s, because the march of time is cruel and unfair, with many of us being left behind. As time goes on, we see the rise and fall of so many different buildings and designs, the landscape around us changing rapidly to accommodate the newest and the greatest things that year. But, every so often, a business will stick the landing and grow with the ever-changing landscape of the city rather than being consumed by and lost to it. Il Vicino Brewing Company did just that, transforming into the now well-known Canteen Brewhouse, which is now celebrating 25 years in business.
What started as a humble addition to an already well-known pizza place by adding beer to the menu became a venture that helped cement the local craft beer scene. The first beer produced was the Old Route 66 Golden Ale, a creative concoction by partners Greg Atkin, Rick Post and Tom White. They struck a chord with New Mexicans who had been waiting for high-quality beer. Soon after their first few batches were out, they realized that the demand was much higher than the supply, and so began the process of creating their own space to brew in.
On June 15, homage will be paid to this endeavor at Canteen Brewhouse (2381 Aztec Rd. NE) starting at 4pm with a wide array of activities and food to help celebrate their quarter century of craft brewing. Featuring special beer releases, live music, food trucks, yard games and local vendors, you’re going to have your choice of all sorts of ways to enjoy a night out.
Musical entertainment for the evening includes Felix Y Los Gatos, Chris Dracup, CrazyFool and Dusty Low. In attendance for food trucks are Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ, Pink Ladies, The Street Food Institute and The Blazing Barn. The vendors who will be setting up include Fizzy Bee Beauty, Danny Hart Design, Christopher McAfee, Allegra Howell, Erin Leigh Designs, Sarah Donahue and Suzy Heer.
Never been to Canteen Brewhouse before? We’ve got your covered with a small beer guide to help you show up ready.
• Flashback IPA: Not a ton of local IPAs have the claim to fame that Flashback does, winning the gold medal at the World Beer Cup in 1996. Not much has changed about this beer since then, because why change what doesn’t need fixing? With hints of pine and citrus and an 80 IBU, this IPA is worth checking out for any hops fans out there.
• La Luz Wheat: One of the lighter beers you’ll find, the La Luz Wheat holds true to the traditional tastes and styles of wheat ale, while finding that little something extra to help it stand on its own. In this case, the subtle lemongrass scent and lightness makes it an easy drink that can pair well with almost anything out there.
• Dark and Lusty Stout: Stouts aren’t for everyone and are an even harder sell in the warmer months, but this is one of my all-time favorite stouts in the city. The deep color gives way to a darker flavor, with hints of roast coffee and chocolate on the tongue. With a fruitier finish than most would expect on a stout, this beer is worth trying once, just to know how good a stout can actually be.
Canteen Brewhouse doesn’t tend to be the craft brewery most people think of first, though they should. For 25 years now, they have accumulated more awards than they know what to do with, including 18 international, 55 national and 77 local awards for their beers. Their 2013 Saint Bob’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout was a gold winner for the wood and barrel-aged strong beer category at the European Beer Star, an award that has only been won by eight US breweries total.
This celebration is a reminder that time flows differently for everyone. For some, 25 years happens in the blink of an eye, while others can feel like a year has done nothing but drag on. Take time to celebrate your own speed and the retention of a cultural landmark here in Albuquerque at Canteen Brewhouse. We promise, it’s a beer you won’t forget.