I was in Portland last year in the heart of hop harvest season. Every brewery I went to (which was a lot…) had multiple wet hop beers on the tap list ranging from the expected IPAs and pale ales to the unexpected kellerbier and saison. Jealous that we rarely have access to this amount of fresh or wet hop beers in ABQ and with our Acequia Wet Hop IPA garnering honors three years in a row at the Great American Beer Festival, I tried to convince John to source more fresh hops for a multiple-beer wet hop series. Wouldn’t you know it, he bit!
For the last three years, we’ve purchased fresh hops from a small farm in Colorado for Acequia; this year’s Acequia will keep the tradition. However, we’ve also sourced fresh hops from the Pacific Northwest and from a small farm in northeast NM to bring you a unique (to NM) series of fresh and wet hop beers:
- Rio Vallecitos Wet Hop DIPA – Trying to keep it as local as possible, this beer exclusively uses malts from Colorado and Wet Hops from NM.
- Acequia Wet Hop IPA
- Citra Blonde
- Hazy Mosaic – A northeast style hazy IPA
First up is Rio Vallecitos Wet Hop DIPA (8.8% ABV | 95 IBU) where New Mexico meets Colorado for the ultimate expression in hyper-local freshness. We’re welcoming fresh hop season with a unique Double IPA showcasing Chinook hops grown right here in New Mexico with malt produced by our neighbors up north. Pungent, earthy, and bursting with complex freshness, Rio Vallecitos is our way of celebrating local ingredients and the beginning of our brewer’s favorite time of year!
New Mexico’s affection for Riverwalker IPA has been steadily increasing since its launch in February 2015. However, the national craft beer explosion has created some unanticipated problems, namely trademark conflicts. While many are amicably resolved, some have led to vicious and nasty legal battles. This was not the case for Riverwalker IPA, but a conflict exists nonetheless in the form of Riverwalk Blonde Ale from the now-defunct Twisted Manzanita Brewing Co. based in California. Anticipating a lengthy and uncertain process to acquire trademark rights, we opted to submit this beer to the 2016 World Beer Cup competition under the moniker Bosque IPA, for which no additional trademark was required. The 2016 Bronze Medal win in the Australian or International Pale Ale category set the name change in stone. While the name change is substantial, have no fear: no changes were made to the original Riverwalker recipe.
Bosque IPA, along with Bosque Lager and Scotia Scotch Ale, will be available for purchase at local retailers in 6-packs of cans beginning in October 2016.
Engineering plans for our new headquarters and production facility in Bernalillo, New Mexico are currently being finalized as part of the new @ Rio North project located in the former Jackalope retail space. When the facility opens in 2017, we will initially have the capacity to produce at least an additional 10,000 barrels of beer a year. For reference, since we opened, we’ve produced 350 BBLs in our first year, 1,200 BBLs in year 2, 4,000 BBLs in year 3 and are on pace to finish this year at roughly 6,000 BBLs.The space will also include a taproom, kitchen, and two-level, open patio. However, as usual, there have been construction delays, so we’ve decided to take a creative approach to ensure a timely launch of our new product line. We’re going to join forces with Sleeping Giant Brewing in Colorado (www.sleepinggiantbrewing.com) to temporarily brew and package our IPA, Lager, and Scotia so that we can meet growing demand and get packaged beer on the shelves while the construction project is underway.
Partnering with Sleeping Giant Brewing solves a temporary production issue and allows us to amp up packaging efforts right away rather than waiting for the facility to open. In an increasingly competitive market, it is important to get our beer onto shelves as soon as possible. Initially, we were extremely skeptical to utilize a third-party to brew our beer. However, after Gabe and John flew out to Denver and met with Sleeping Giant’s President, Matt Osterman, and Vice President of Brewing Operations, Robert Kuntz, tasted the beers they produce, and toured the facility, it was obvious that their attention to detail and devotion to quality aligned closely with our values. For us, this is a solution to a temporary problem that allows us to maintain the top-notch quality and consistency that our customers have grown to love about Bosque.
Sleeping Giant uses each brewery’s own recipes and works closely with brewery staff to produce their beer at a single state-of-the-art facility. That means the beer can be brewed, packaged and shipped, which solves a huge problem for small craft breweries who are challenged by the space and cost requirements for building out a packaging facility. Sleeping Giant helps these breweries keep up with demand and grow their packaged sales while maintaining the exceptional quality that local craft consumers demand.
In October 2016, we'll begin delivering packaged beer to retailers. The initial 600-barrel order will cover three of our year-round brands and represents approximately 6,600 cases. Once our new facility opens and the initial term of the contract with Sleeping Giant has been fulfilled, all production of packaged product will take place at the Bernalillo facility.
Ah, Scale Tipper, you are loved by many and elude even the most devout. And as such, every last drop of the Scale Tipper kegs and bottles that made it to our taprooms is gone. But don’t fret! If you’re still jonesing for a fix, you can, for a limited time, find bottles of it at these fine establishments across the State:
Albuquerque Metro Area
Total Wine (Uptown)
Total Wine (Westside)
Kelly's Liquors (Bernalillo)
Kelly's Liquors (Juan Tabo)
Kelly's Liquors (Mountain Run)
Kelly's Liquors (Wyoming)
Jubilation Wine & Spirits
Triangle Grocery (Cedar Crest)
Whole Foods (Carlisle)
Whole Foods (Wyoming)
Santa Fe Area & Taos
Kelly's Liquor Barn (Santa Fe)
Susan's Fine Wine & Spirits
Whole Foods (Cerrillos)
Side Door Liquor Store
And if bottles aren't your thing, Scale Tipper’s going to make a brief comeback on draft at the taprooms in roughly 2 weeks.
Bottle Release: Imperial Coffee Brown
Collaborations with local artisans are an excellent way to experiment and create inspired new products. Today we release one such collaboration: Imperial Coffee Brown Ale (9% ABV | 20 IBU).
This newest release can be found at all of our taprooms and will be available on retail shelves over the next couple of days.
Las Cruces Turns 1
It’s hard to believe that one year has passed since we opened our doors in Las Cruces… John Bullard heard your pleas to bring the milk stout back and he answered. We will be celebrating on Saturday, December 12 with a special, Las Cruces-only beer release: Organ Mountains Milk Stout! With that, the first 100 people through the taproom doors will receive a small token of our appreciation for making this year such a success!
On December 3, we hosted our first Bosque Insider event at the brewery. Attendees were given an opportunity to purchase the first 50 bottles of Imperial Coffee Brown before they were released to the public, were given access to prereleased specialty beers paired with food items that preview our new menu at the Nob Hill Public House, and heard from John Bullard and Gabe Jensen about barrel aged beers and Bosque’s plans for the new year.
This event was a huge success and we are excited to start planning the next event! We will keep you posted to let you know when tickets go on sale. Thank you for making the night one to remember!
THE WAIT IS OVER
For the last year, Jet Black Winter Russian Imperial Stout has been aging in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels provided to us by Jubilation Wine & Spirits. We are releasing this collaboration at a special tasting at Jubilation on Friday, November 20 from 4 to 6 pm. John Bullard will be onsite to talk barrel-aged beers while you sample this unique creation. That's not all...
It comes with an exclusive invite!
The first 35 customers to purchase this small-batch release get an invite (limit one per person) to our inaugural Bosque Insider event, the first in a series of events we'll be hosting in the coming year. This event will be complete with beer discussions with John Bullard, beer samplings, food pairings, and the first crack at our Imperial Coffee Brown collaboration with Essence, a local organic coffee extract company. Each attendee will be given the opportunity to purchase one of the first 50 bottles of this beer the day it was bottled at a reduced price of $8 per bomber, well before it is released to the public. The event is being held in the brewery (8900 San Mateo Blvd., NE, Suites J & K, 87113) on Wednesday, December 2 at 6 pm.
We'll see you at Jubilation Wine & Spirits next week!
The Rabble Imperial Pumpkin Spice Ale
Bosque’s 4th bottled offering hits shelves and taps (nitro, too!) today with the release of The Rabble Imperial Pumpkin Spice Ale. At 8.5% this beer is an exquisite blend of spice and warmth.
Acequia Wet Hop IPA & Gold
This weekend was a milestone for our young company. Last Saturday, in the 2015 competition of the Great American Beer Festival®, Acequia Wet Hop IPA took a Gold Medal in the Fresh or Wet Hop category. On top of this, Outside Magazine named Acequia one of the top 10 beers of 2015. We are quite honored and this all adds fuel to the fire as we look toward the future! If you're looking for a taste of the liquid gold, Acequia is on tap and in bombers at all three Bosque locations.
Finally, from the brains behind the beers and a man of few but pertinent words:
Let’s just cut to the chase: we’re happy to announce that we are now able to offer Scale Tipper at a lower price and in more sizes (starting tomorrow). $10 for 22 oz bombers, and $6 for a pint! First, we’d really like to thank everyone who has supported us in so many ways over the last couple of years and that includes your willingness to purchase the last few releases of Scale Tipper at a fairly high price point. We are now able to sell Scale Tipper at a new, lower price. In some ways, the reasons are simple, and in some ways, they are a web of complexity. The short answer is “supply and demand.” Although demand has increased, we now have a larger supply, which is due mostly to our access to specific hops. If that satisfies your curiosity, then don’t feel obligated to delve any further. However, if you’re overly curious or want to geek out with me on business and economics, then I’m happy to oblige.
We’ve all heard about the supply and demand curve. That’s macroeconomics 101. In reality the curve has way more than two lines that must converge to set a price. To explore those multiple lines I’d like to retell the history of Scale Tipper IPA. Scale Tipper has seen several iterations, the first iteration was actually the result of a faulty scale and a couple of brewers with very little experience. The most recent iterations were the result of one of New Mexico’s finest brewers, John Bullard. The first time we made a batch of beer that we called Scale Tipper, it was 8.5% ABV and off the charts in IBUs (not exactly sure the exact number due to that broken scale I just mentioned). It was a pretty decent beer, for what it was. It wasn’t, however, the two-time New Mexico Brewers Guild IPA Challenge Champion, nor was it the Brewing News National IPA Challenge Champion. No, that special beer was created by our very special brewer. It was a competition beer and we gave no thoughts to cost.
We also decided to do away with the notion that only high ABV beer could be sold for a premium. Plain and simple, malt, and other sugars, which drive ABV, are relatively cheap. Hops, on the other hand, are not. We could have thrown a little more malt at this beer to increase the ABV and no one would think twice about paying the prices we needed to charge in order to justify making this beer more than twice a year. However, we’ve always had the philosophy that making quality beer will always trump the economics behind it. If we can’t make quality beer a sustainable business model, then we might as well go do something else. An increased ABV does not necessarily equate to higher quality and we did not set out to make another big beer. This beer was meant to be a hop experience like no other. To kick up the ABV just for sake of justifying a price tag, well that didn’t seem right.
Winning some awards and gaining notoriety increased the demand for this beer, so if we were going to make it more often, we actually had to crunch the numbers Holy crap! it was expensive to make. With continued increases in demand for Scale Tipper, the supply was just not there to do many runs, so we continued to hold off until competition season. We knew the demand for Scale Tipper in package was there as well; we knew we should make it. What we didn’t know is how a select few (the vast minority) would react to the price tag we were about to put on it. Given the cost of hops, the labor of bottling, the cost of labels and the cost of bottles when you are doing such low quantities, we had to charge a pretty hefty price tag of $12 for a 22 oz bomber. We were honestly quite hesitant to do that. To be completely blunt, I had no doubt in my mind we’d be able to sell it at that price, but feared the backlash. While there were some grumblings on social media about the price of the beer, for the most part, our customers welcomed the product with open arms. We made the decision to sell it in 13 oz glasses and bombers only (no growlers) so that the beer could be experienced by more than just the diehard fans that would devour it in short order. Let’s face it, this beer is an experience and that’s what you’re paying for. The pricing and sizing succeeded in reaching our three main goals of:
Stretch out the availability of Scale Tipper;
Have the needed quantities for the competitions;
Make sure we it was available after the competitions (it doesn’t go over well when someone from out-of-town comes in the day after you win an award for a beer and you don’t even have it on tap!);
Increase the length of time Scale Tipper was available so that a broader spectrum of beer enthusiasts could experience it, and;
Have enough to package.
We always emphasized the fact (especially in social media exchanges with vocal detractors of the price) that if we could find a way to decrease our cost that we would decrease the price. So what’s changed? Well, now we get back to supply and demand. A couple of weeks ago, we were able to secure more hops for this year. One of our biggest worries was using up our hops that we needed for our other beers (especially Riverwalker, which is our best selling beer). Our brokers no longer look at us as the little guy and have been more willing to help us fill the gaps we have, as well as reach out to us when unexpected supply becomes available. So when additional supply became available, we snatched it up. That was the number one reason we are able to drop the price. The next biggest influencer in our ability to drop the price has been a tremendous innovation that John has come up with that, in short, has given him nearly 50% increased utilization of the dry hop. We don’t want to reveal too much on the technical side; however, this innovative strategy has brought you Little Tipper and will bring more fun beers in the near future.
We’re excited to be able to offer more Scale Tipper, at a lower price point, ON SHELVES, and hope that this helps our goal of broadening the spectrum of beer enthusiasts that are able to experience this wonderful beer.
back to back!
It’s safe to say that this year’s NM IPA Challenge was the most expensive competition to date. With some IPAs pushing 10 pounds of hops per barrel, the NM brewers were hopping their entries with ungodly and reckless amounts of their prized hop varietals. In a competition this fierce, walking away with the title for the second year in a row gives us pause to be thankful for our our staff and our patrons, but especially our brewing team. Under the leadership of John Bullard, they consistently strive for, and achieve, eminence in our thriving industry that is craft beer. Surreal. Special thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy these NM IPAs and support our breweries and the brewers guild!
beers of note
Only days ago, we tapped the first (Pink Elephants on Parade) of two fruited beers as a way of celebrating the summer season and taking a side road from our recent IPA speedway:
Farm & Cherry (6.3% ABV | 12 IBU)
Pink Elephants on Parade (5.5% ABV | 12 IBU)
Also, in mid-to-late August, we’ll take a trip to the southern hemisphere with beer featuring Chilean malts and Dr. Rudi hops from New Zealand. Flavors of citrus peel, lemongrass and pine are reported for this hop. We’re excited to play around with this hop and experience it as a solo act.
great american beer festival
Last but not least, we are gearing up for the Great American Beer Festival with a few of our entries fermenting away or scheduled to be brewed in the next couple of days. This year we’re entering Scotia Scotch Ale, Scale Tipper IPA, Riverwalker IPA, Bosque Lager, and last year’s bronze medal winner in the wet/fresh hop category, Acequia Wet/Fresh Hop IPA. Go big or go home, right? Anticipation is high as we move closer to the archetypal beer competition!