It's 5:15. I'm finished work for the day. All I want is a heaping pint of some amazing local beer to chill me out and start my evening off right. Luckily, Albuquerque is chock-a-block full of great microbrew pubs. From the inimitable Marble Brewery to the brand spanking new Northeast Heights watering hole Hallenbrick Brewery, there is plenty of great beer to be imbibed in our fine Duke City. So here is my list of the best brewpubs in Albuquerque.
Image courtesy of Marble Brewery
In recent years, Marble Brewery has pretty much become the gold standard of great local beer in Albuquerque. Although only open since 2008, Marble has quickly infiltrated many bars around Albuquerque with its tasty, tasty beers. The Marble Brewpub is situtated in an out-of-the-way spot on Marble St. at 1st St. The pub has a cozy, warm atmosphere, dim lighting, huge windows that look into the brewing room & a few couches. There are 10 fresh beers on tap and pub food is provided by Chama River or you can order in from downtown restaurants.
Photo by Megan Eaves
If you're looking for variety, there's no place better than Kelly's. With 20 different microbrews on tap, their menu is a long list of beers by color, from light to dark. My personal favorite is the Brewnette, a rich roasted malty dark ale. Aside from their beer, Kelly's has a spectacular patio overlooking Central Ave. & Route 66, and a reliable food menu. Kelly's beers aren't available anywhere else, either, so you have to go to the pub for a taste-testing. You'll also love the historic gas station decor, leftover from when the site was the Jones Motor Company.
Photo by Megan Eaves
Hallenbrick Brewery is the newest pub on the Albuquerque microbrew scene, but they already have a loyal following. Located in an unsuspecting strip of industrial estates, you have to want to find this brewpub. You'll want to sit at the bar, which is the main feature of the tiny building and gives a decent view of the live music, which is always a great selection of local bluegrass and folk acts. The list of Hallenbrick beers is still growing, but they also serve a great selection of other local brews, like Santa Fe Brewing Co., Chama River and Marble.
Read my Examiner exclusive story on Hallenbrick Brewery.
Image courtesy derekbrookmeyer
I have to be honest, I am not a huge fan of drinking at Chama River Brewing Company. Their food is gorgeous and it's a nice dinner spot, but the bar feels like a stale hotel lobby to me. But I absolutely adore the Chama River Microbar, which is right downtown on 2nd St. It's that tiny little place with the neon red lights in the window that you've always wondered about. The teeny place serves up the finest of Chama's brews, and that's it. Only about 25 people can fit comfortably in there (plus the couple of dogs that are inevitably hanging about) and the music is great. Happy hours in late afternoon/early evening provide $1 off most pints and you can order in pizza. Get there early because the seats fill up very quickly with regulars.
Image courtesy Gil Garduno
Turtle Mountain Brewing Company is Rio Rancho's answer to a microbrewery, and a good one at that. For those relegated to the suburban hell of the West Side (I'm sorry), Turtle Mountain and its sister restaurant, the Fat Squirrel Pub & Grille, are a breath of fresh air. Turtle's beers are refined and elegant and the bar is decent place to sit and watch a game or just chill out with your brew. Turtle Mountain's restaurant features a tasty selection of grinders, pizzas and calzones to match their fresh, crispy German-inspired beers.