By: Rob McCorkle
Craft beer lovers in the state’s second largest city can now indulge their passion for sipping fresh, flavorful New Mexico ales at five locations stretching from the East Mesa to the Mesilla Valley. While the Albuquerque area reigns supreme in quantity with over 30 of the state’s more than 50 craft breweries, Las Cruces’ brewpub and taproom brews match up well in quality.
Topping the [Bucket List] for my adopted hometown was visiting the local brewpubs in the City of the Crosses. I knew it was going to be a pleasurable adventure, having sampled tasty New Mexico brews in Artesia (The Wellhead), Silver City (Little Toad Creek), and Taos (Eske’s) during summer vacations.
Twice a week this Taproom strategically located in a strip center across the street from New Mexico State University’s main entrance typically receives a shipment of 12 to 30 kegs from the “mother ship” in Albuquerque. On the Monday following the Super Bowl, deliveryman William was muscling a record 34 kegs and several cases of canned beer to restock the Bosque Brewing Taproom. I surmised he was traveling incognito in an unmarked white van to lessen the chance of a hijacking by IPA hopheads in light of the brewery’s national reputation for producing award-winning India Pale Ales.
Bosque Brewing Company opened in Albuquerque in 2012. The Las Cruces Taproom was its first foray outside of the state’s largest city. Bosque has racked up an impressive record in state and national beer contests. At the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, the brewery won a bronze in 2014 and a gold in 2015 for its Acequia Wet Hop IPA. Their Scale Tipper IPA beat all comers in 2015 and 2016 in the Brewing News IPA Challenge.
Las Cruces Taproom manager Dakotah Vaughan, concedes their IPAs are the top selling style of brew day in, day out. “We go through tons of that,” she says. “We actually went through two and a half kegs this past Friday.”
Location: 910 E. University Ave., Bldg. 985, Ste. 18.
Tuesday: Noon – 11:00 P.M. | Wednesday: Noon – 11:00 P.M.
Thursday: Noon – 11:00 P.M. | Friday: Noon – Midnight
Saturday: Noon – Midnight | Sunday: Noon – 11:00 P.M.
Monday: Noon – 11:00 P.M.
Phone: (575) 571-4626
Patrons always have their pick of the six regular house brews: Bosque Lager, Elephants on Parade (a fruit-forward American-style wheat ale), Bosque IPA, Brewer’s Boot Amber Ale, Scotia Scotch Ale, and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout. A rotation of six seasonal beers, such as the locally popular Organ Mountains milk stout and the Vienna Amber, fill out the beer board on any given occasion.
The milk stout was trucked into Las Cruces to celebrate the Taproom’s first anniversary in November 2015 and only recently was added to Bosque’s Albuquerque lineup. My recent 4-ounce sample of the stout “on nitro” proved surprisingly smooth – sporting a 5.9% ABV — with subtle chocolate and coffee undertones. The sweeter, malty amber ales, however, are more in my roundhouse. The Brewer’s Boot (5.8% ABV/30 IBU) never fails to please, although the Scotia Scotch Ale, brewed in the “wee heavy” style with a high alcohol content (8.4%), proves a close runner up when I’m in the mood for something with a little more intense flavor and a notable kick.
Bosque Brewing’s logo – a distinctive cottonwood leaf – hangs on the wall in metal relief near the front door and adorns pint glasses and company merchandise, such as t-shirts, caps and hoodies. True Bosque aficionados carry out their favorites in glass growlers in several sizes. On Wednesdays, Growler Day, a 64-ounce refill is only $8, $2 off the regular price. Twenty and 16-ounce pours are a buck cheaper as well. Any other day, specialty beers will run you $4 – $5 for 11-ounce pours, $5 – $6 for a pint, $6 – $7 for a 20-ounce and $6 for a 13-ounce goblet of a “3-leaf” rated seasonal. Beer style prices are rated on a 1-leaf (least expensive) to 4-leaf (most expensive) scale.
Save a sawbuck on pours Monday through Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. To enjoy Happy Hour prices every day, join the Bosque Club for $35 a year. Club members also receive $1 off growler refills and 16 and 20-ounce pours, 10% off 15.5-gallon kegs and 20% off all merchandise. For $85 annually, you can become a Bosque Insider, which entitles you to all the perks above, plus discounted and exclusive tickets to special events and a Bosque Insider shirt.
Eclectic to the max would be an apt description of beerheads who frequent the Bosque taproom. Expect to see a number of students completing assignments on laptops while enjoying a brew. Vaughan says the college crowd predominates when school is in session, especially during daylight hours. It gets a “bit more lively” when the sun sets. “Everyone is good people in here.”
You can sit at the bar for close-up action of bartenders slapping the taps, take a seat at one of the bistro tables with views various sports channels on the flat-screens or sip al fresco on the spacious patio with ample heating towers.
The patio caters to dog lovers and offers an ideal place to watch Aggie students cruise University Avenue and to view the nearby electronic marquee advertising upcoming NMSU events. The Taproom occupies a small storefront next door to Starbuck’s in an industrial chic-looking strip center.
A word to the wise: the rather tight quarters indoors can fill up quickly on a busy late afternoon or evening.
Currently, there is none except for the occasional food truck parked out back. [That is about to change]. The Bosque Taproom has plans to move several doors down in the same strip center to a much larger venue to accommodate growing crowds.
The projected grand opening is early March. Dakotah promises the same tasty brews and a menu offering a “bit higher end” fare than traditional pub grub. Look for dishes such as a hummus plate, falafel sliders, green chile stew and gourmet burgers and sandwiches.
Brewery owners plan to shut down the current space for the first couple of months after the new location opens so it can be revamped and updated. It will reopen later for merchandise sales, outdoor seating and to handle any overflow on special occasions.