Second installment from Russ. If you missed the first, here ya go.

Frito Pie … a must in ABQ

If I asked you name a beer destination, you would probably throw out Denver, San Diego, Portland, Boston, Chicago or any of the other major cities that get press. Unless you have experienced the beer scene in New Mexico, it is unlikely you would put Albuquerque on that list…but you would be wrong. Named as a top 10 beer destination since 2015 by Travelocity, Albuquerque is not only a leader in breweries per capita, but also in the number of unique brewery experiences that make for an awesome “Beercation.” I’ve been fortunate enough to go a few times over the past three years and in this post, I’m going to highlight some of the standout brewery experiences, but since there are more than FIFTY in the ABQ area we can’t list them all. (seriously…50…that’s like one for every neighborhood).


My first brewery visited in Albuquerque and I immediately noticed two things:
1. From wheat to bock to brown ale to stout…they covered just about every style.
2. The food on offer was super cheap, but GOOD! Unlike a lot of brewpubs, they actually had really good fare at an amazing price.

My first impression of Nexus was “is this place a brewery or a restaurant?” The answer is YES. The ‘soul food’ was good and the beer selection ranged from a cream ale to a rich porter. Unique vibe and a solid visit.

Tractor Brewing

Any brewery with the slogan “Get Plowed” is bound to be a fan favorite. I have been to two of Tractor’s four locations and the first thing I thought when I walked in was ‘this place is fun’. With a funky décor and more than 15 beers on tap, Tractor aims to please with their vibe and their style. One thing that sets Tractor apart is they believe in community and their give back program is incredible. Participating in monthly Tuesday coin giving nights where YOU get to choose which of the four nonprofit community partners receives a dollar for each beer you buy.
My fave Tractor offering is Milk Mustachio Stout, but with rotating taps that is bound to change!

Canteen Brewhouse

With so many breweries in Albuquerque you would think that the oldest ones would fade away, but that’s definitely not the case with ABQ’s oldest brewery Canteen. I was impressed by the number of people who appeared to be regulars there, and the Pecos Trail Brown Ale is such a solid choice that it’s no wonder it has won so many awards at GABF. Canteen is a must visit for anyone who wants to see where the beer scene started.

Bosque Brewing

By the time I made it Bosque, I figured I had tried the best of New Mexico beer and this was just going to be another visit to grab a quick flight and then move on…but all that changed quickly. The year-round offerings from Bosque are all very solid, but Scotia Scotch Ale is a game changer. With an ABV of 8.4%, this boozy Scotch Ale has amazing caramel notes and the maltiness is incredible. Truly my favorite New Mexico beer and I long for the day they sell it in Georgia. 

Oh, and the vibe in Bosque…outstanding. We had some awesome starters to share and they paired perfectly with a flight of their favorites. I did NOT want to leave when it was time to go!

Duel Brewing

Dark Ryder … Belgian Strong Dark

My favorite style of beer is Belgian, so when my local pal and beer tour guide Kelle told me there was a Belgian Style brewery we had to go! 

Duel aims to be different from all of the other local breweries and they definitely succeed. With a constant calendar of events and a pretty eclectic food menu, Duel’s vibe is different from the moment you walk in the door. I tried a flight and can truly say that I tasted no other beers like these when I was in Albuquerque. I had a Belgian style amber that was pretty good, but then I had their Belgian strong ale, Dark Ryder, and it was fantastic. 11%ABV and full of flavor. That one is a winner and goes well with their funky vibe.
Again, this is just a sampling of the myriad of breweries in the Albuquerque area and the list continues to grow. If you are looking for a destination for an awesome Beercation, I would recommend you add New Mexico to your list as this affordable destination offers a lot to see…and imbibe. 
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July 17, 2018

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