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Breakout Brewer: La Cumbre Brewing

Low yeast pitch rates, a blend of hops, and eleven days from start to finish create La Cumbre Brewing’s house IPA, which dominates its local market and has taken home GABF gold.

Emily Hutto Jun 22, 2015 - 8 min read

Breakout Brewer: La Cumbre Brewing Primary Image

Beer making involves a lot less addiction than music making, says Jeff Erway, the president at La Cumbre Brewing Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The jazz-guitar-player-turned-brewer tried his heart out to make it as a musician before he realized he wasn’t a junkie. “And I was never going to be a junkie,” he jokes. “I was never going to sit in a small apartment and play my instrument twelve hours a day. It wasn’t for me.”

Now, Erway labors in a 2,400-square-foot brewery on a 30-barrel brewhouse for hours on end instead. He and his wife, Laura, opened La Cumbre Brewing in 2010 after Erway’s homebrewing got the best of him. “I caught the bug. I brewed feverishly,” he says. “I dreamt for a long time about opening a brewery of my own. Luckily I had the foresight to realize I needed to work in a commercial brewery before I did that.”

So Erway attended the American Brewers Guild brewing program and then joined the brewing staff at Albuquerque’s Chama River Brewing Company before opening La Cumbre. All the while, he was focused on IPA. “My wife is a hophead, and because of that I’ve dedicated myself to really perfecting that style,” he says. “You know how they say you’re your own biggest critic? Well, my wife is my biggest beer critic.”

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