It’s dry and high in Albuquerque—at least that’s what you’ll pick up on first. Then, you might notice the green chile, the endless line of cyclists from the foothills to the river valley, and the powerful craft beers that inhabit a league of their own. The beer will hit you harder at 5,300 feet above sea level, but it’s a small price to pay for the highly talented, innovative brewers who call the “burque” home.
“The increased competition is spurring innovation and creativity,” says New Mexico Brewers Guild Executive Director John Gozigian of the past two years’ surge in craft breweries. “New Mexico is known for hops-forward beers and the public has consistently rewarded breweries that execute them well. So, now it’s getting interesting to see how new breweries differentiate themselves style-wise.”
With this explosive growth and a highly active homebrew community, there’s not a pocket of town without its own set of original craft—and the leaders among them are pushing the creative envelope with internationally recognized rosters. You won’t be hard-pressed to find a quirky brewer with something unabashedly bold on tap; you just might have to beat the cyclists to the door for those Saturday morning limited-release batches.