NOTE: The Bosque Brewing Company has six locations including two in Las Cruces and one in Bernalillo. Only the location in San Mateo reviewed here has closed.
In 1978, the number of breweries across the fruited plain had fallen to an all-time, post-Prohibition low of 89. That year President Jimmy Carter signed into law, a bill that legalized home brewing on a national level. Since the craft brewing market began to pick up steam in the mid- to late-1980s there has been no surcease in sight. Today, there are more than 2,500 breweries operating across the United States with another 1,500 breweries in the planning stage. According to the Brewers Association, as of 2013 the craft beer industry experienced double-digit growth four straight years in both dollar sales and volume.
So what accounts for such growth in popularity of local beer? Experts theorize that similar to the locavore trend in the culinary world, cervisaphiles (aficionados of beers and ales) have grown tired of being subjected to industrially brewed swill (anyone remember the “skunky” beer commercials?) and have discovered the pleasures of carefully crafted beer flavors made under the same roof where it’s consumed. A similar evolution among consumers also transpired among oenophiles (wine connoisseurs) and coffee-drinkers.
These trends have not been lost on the Duke City which in 2014 was named by Livability.com as “America’s best mid-sized city in the country for beer.” According to the Web site, Albuquerque is known for its “cultural diversity, authentic landscapes and genuine characters – and that extends to its brews. Residents here enjoy mostly sunny days and have their pick of micro-breweries that always have fresh beer on tap.” As of July, 2016, Yelp listed more than thirty brewery restaurants in the metropolitan area from which cerevisaphiles can pick with new ones launching virtually every month.
The Bosque Brewing Company entered the keenly competitive craft beer foray in November, 2012 and, despite a location far from the beaten path, has experienced significant growth. Thanks to a March, 2014 expansion, the brewery now has a production capacity of 3,500 barrels per year–ten times more than what it sold during its first year of operation. A second location on Girard just south of Central Avenue in the University of New Mexico area launched in late spring of 2014. I wouldn’t be writing about The Bosque Brewing Company, however, if it didn’t also serve food that’s a notch or two above most pub food.
Surprisingly–considering the quality of the food–the Bosque Brewing Company didn’t (during my inaugural visit in 2014) boast of a large kitchen in which a staff of chefs, sous chefs, expediters and servers prepared and served your food. Instead, all the food was prepared behind the bar on small countertop stoves and a panini press. The kitchen’s motto “Flavor Is Boss” was an ambitious expression considering the spartan cooking capacity, yet large flavors emanated from that Lilliputian kitchen. In June, 2016, after my friend Ryan “Break the Chain” Ryan apprised me that the Brewery had “completely reimagined their menu” and now served “outstanding” food, a return visit became inevitable.
During our return visit our server informed us that the brewery now had a full-service kitchen and is now able to prepare and serve more than just sandwich-type fare. The menu now offers true gastropub fare–high quality, freshly prepared food that may surprise discerning diners. It’s a diverse menu, several orders of magnitude superior to the stereotypical pub grub of yore. Small bites include duck confit egg rolls, long the domain of the Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro. The “something to share” section of the menu offers so many intriguing options that you’ll be hard-pressed to decide what to have. Similarly, burger and sandwich fare is mouth-wateringly inviting. Then there’s the “Big Appetites” section of the menu which lives up to its name though it could just as well be called “Big Flavors.” Cumin is used in the chile recipes.
11 May 2014: The special of the day during our inaugural visit was a German brats made with a housemade tarragon sauce and sauerkraut. The tarragon with its sweet-tangy flavor and anise-like notes should be bottled and sold. It is that good! The bratwurst sandwich is thick, meaty and heavily spiced while the sauerkraut has a tangy, zesty flavor without the lip-pursing qualities of some sauerkraut. The German brats weren’t available during our second, but our server informed us the menu changes frequently and that the brats might someday make a triumphant return. Even if the brats aren’t available, the tarragon is (on the tarragon turkey sandwich). It’s too good not to grace the menu.
11 May 2014: Soup of the day is not to be missed if it’s roasted red pepper and smoked Gouda soup. While it’s undoubtedly even better on a cold winter day, it’s a delight any time of year and would probably taste just as good cold as it does steaming hot. The smooth, mellow flavored smoked Gouda pairs exceptionally well with the vibrant sweet-savory-tangy flavors of the freshly roasted red peppers for a full-flavored and hearty soup. The salad and soup section of the menu also lists New Mexico’s ubiquitous green chile pork stew, always a crowd-pleaser but especially good on blustery days.
2 July 2016: Perhaps no sandwich is as ubiquitous on deli and sandwich shop menus as is the Reuben, (corned beef, house-made sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing served on rye) a sandwich with several variants, most of them delicious. The Bosque Brewing Company’s version is very admirable in that the corned beef is piled high (or at least high for Albuquerque) and the sauerkraut is plentiful. The marbled rye is a perfect canvas, offering an assertiveness that counterbalances the sweetness of the thousand-island dressing. No longer served solely with a heaping helping of Kettle chips, you can have your burger or sandwich with your choice of fries or seasonal veggies or you can substitute house or Caesar salad or soup for two dollars.
2 July 2016: Mussels are offered two ways on the “something to share” section of the menu. Now, if mussels are prepared well, they’re too good to share unless you really love someone. Few Thai restaurants could have prepared mussels quite as good as the Thai-style mussels (blue point mussels with a spicy coconut milk broth with ginger, garlic, Thai chile, and cilantro served with a baguette to sop up the juicy goodness). The blue point mussels are fresh and meaty with none of the characteristic off-putting “fishiness” that defines bad mussels. The broth is wonderful, reminiscent of an excellent Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut soup). While the baguette does its job admirably and dredges up the broth with efficiency, you’ll probably ask for a soup spoon, too.
2 July 2016: Poutine, an artery-clogging Canadian delicacy, is to Toronto, Canada what red and green chile are to New Mexico. In other words, it’s a long-time favorite, a tradition and a way of life. At its very core, poutine combines three simple ingredients: fresh-cut pomme frites (French fries), homemade gravy and toothsome cheese curds. Beyond these three ingredients, poutine is open to both interpretation and augmentation. On the “Big Appetites” section of the menu, the Bosque Brewing Company offers an Albuquerque meets Toronto poutine dish big eaters will enjoy. That would be the duck poutine (a heaping mound of fries topped with red chile duck gravy, white Cheddar cheese curds, and shredded duck confit). The red chile doesn’t register much in terms of heat, but its flavor does sneak in just a bit. Molten white Cheddar cheese curds and a plenitude of shredded duck confit bring out the best in the fries (which don’t appear to be the standard out-of-a bag variety). Ryan may confiscate my man card when he finds out I could finish only about half the prodigious portion.
The Bosque Brewing Company is located almost as far north as you can go on San Mateo before its terminus, but if you’re thinking San Mateo east of I25, you’d be wrong. Make sure to consult your favorite mapping application before heading there. If the beers are comparable in quality to the food, this brewery is going places.
Bosque Brewing Company
8900 San Mateo, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 2 July 2016
1st VISIT: 11 May 2014
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: German Brats, Reuben Sandwich, The Italian Sandwich, Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Gouda Soup, Duck Poutine, Thai-Style Mussels
18 thoughts on “Bosque Brewing Company – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)”
My Child Bride & I make the Bosque of San Mateo a regular Saturday evening stop but I guess we were several hours after Gil.
The Belgian Mussels are even better than the Thai version and I have enjoyed them a couple of times. Last night though I tried the Fish & Chips which are unlike any I have had elsewhere. The Fish is 8oz thick cut with little batter, much like a pad fried cod. I didn’t get excited about the chips but I find the very best chips (fries, frites, etc) just ok. I remember The Pier at Harwich in Merry Old where you specified the type of fish and the method of cooking when you ordered Fish & Chips. This made me remember what could have been an option there. We have also enjoyed the Poutine but I still prefer the classic Poutine, the national food of Quebec. I guess Poutine is sold at some chain in Toronto-it is sold here, I will check it out in September. We always make a poutine palace our first stop upon entering Quebec and out last upon leaving.
My dining partner always orders the same thing she ordered last time wherever we go because she ate it before and didn’t die. At Bosque they start pouring her drink (best Premium House Water with lemon) and making her Ruben as soon as they see a yellow Mini pull up out front.
Bosque has completely reimagined their menu at the San Mateo taproom. It is outstanding. I’d recommend the garlic wings, Bosque burger, and the duck poutine fries.
I. LOVE. THIS. PLACE.
Not only is the food outstanding, the beer incredible, and the staff friendly, they are also…
My newest client at Western Assurance.
This brewery will be known as THE southwestern brewery across the US in the next 3 years.
Well Ryan, I pretty much agree with you. Several of their sandwiches, particularly the Caprese and the Tarragon Turkey are wonderful and the soup of the day is always worth trying.
Ah, I see Sr Plata is still in the mentionable space. I meant no harm to my Ashkenazic brethren, fat fingers had their way. The Placitas Cafe was great and my company was superb. Next time, we must invite more for a great meal in a wonderful rustic area!
I feel better.
I asked Sr. Plata for a translation.
He said he meant to write “eat” not “rat”.
Thanks for the answer.
No nastiness intended. I was poking fun at a comment Sr. Plata made in his review of the Placitas Cafe: “Anyways, the Placitas Cafe was a very quaint place, must return, nice to see locals rat in.”
I’m intrigued by the term, “local rats from Placitas”?
Is it meant to be a slap in the face?
It sure feels nasty.
That’s all well and good, but do they serve PBR? And is it frequented by the local rats from Placitas?
I will have to ask BOTVLR about the PBR because that is the type of thing my mind skims by on the menu (as opposed the the Village Person’s brain lock). At the San Mateo location I forgot to interview the customers as to their location of origin or species. I doubt that rats from Placitas could squeeze through the mob to get to the Nob Hill site.
We have been dropping by here occasionally because I like the beer, the small menu is quite good and its lonely location makes for a quiet atmosphere. Last Thursday however they FINALLY opened the Nob Hill location so we stopped last night. The German Brat was indeed wonderful as was the Italian. The quiet atmosphere was certainly gone though as every student at Mighty Lobo High on East Central was there. I can see how either could become a favorite depending on your mood.
Yes, this brewery is definitely going places. They just hired John Bullard as head brewer, a Great American Beer Festival Gold medal winner. The brewery has expanded its San Mateo Bl. location, and soon, the kitchen will expand into where the old, smaller brewhouse use to be. The brewery is planning to open a second tap room on Nob Hill, hopefully by the end of the summer. Great staff, great beer, and soon to be great food.
The terragon mustard on that Bratwurst was the best. I’m going to find out if they made it themselves or if they’ll tell me where to buy it.
I gotta go there on a day when I’m not working so I can try their brews. My employer frowns on returning from lunch redolent with Bavarian brew. Or, with the miasma of Bavarian brew. 😉
Dang it!!!! Forgot to mention: That is the most ‘lame’ Selfie I’ve ever seen!! Ya really gotta get with the program Gil!!!
Ah, yes, my self-indulgent, attention-seeking, socially-dependent narcissism on display for all too see. Vanity, thy name is Gil.
Actually I chose not to Photoshop myself out of the image because of the slimming effect the window had on me.
OMG! ….2 years later and ya had to eliminate the Selfie reflection per the opening pic after all!!! Too Funny
Went specifically for the Brat (on chalkboard/not menu)for the sauerkraut. Indeed is as described and a great remembrance of the Kapusta my Babci and Matka would make. Whoa, the couple of days it would take to air-out the flat of its telltale aroma per its time of ‘stewing’ and more so in winter! I recall both sliced the cabbage more finely tho. The Brat was fine, LOL, and the panini ‘roll’ was just right in terms of crunch without annoying chewiness; a very ample supply of kettle chips.
~ Had the Cumulus Wheat IPA which I think held its own in coming through with flavor to the sauerkraut!
~ Despite my favoring of Louis Sullivan’s design dictum of “Form follows Function” which I think my choice of my first TV is classic: http://tinyurl.com/qb2j9uy i.e. it encapsulated the essentials without the big box/console look…I still prefer what some, e.g. the antidisestablishmentarians, might refer to as my fuddy-duddy ambiance of panelled walls/tufted, red leather…OK, vinyl…booths! Nevertheless, many Folks are obviously happy with ‘functional’ as the dozen bar stools and dozen tables were almost full up with a melange of after-work(?)imbibers…mid-week! being attentively served.
~ Alas I can’t share the “out-of-the-way” sentiment as it only took me 8 minutes to get here…tee hee! Before turning from Alameda onto the block to go on San Mateo, I could see I-25. Beyond that aren’t most places in ABQ about 15 minutes “away”? E.g. it’s 13′ from 100 First NW according to Google! In any event, they are working on a site adjacent to the perennial Mannie’s at the foot/head of Nob Hill. (Geesh, it took me longer to compose/edit this than it took to get there!!! L@M!)
When I went to Bosque Brewing some 14 months ago, the menu consisted of a couple of sandwiches (paninis) and maybe a salad or two. Was meeting some old co-workers who are nearby there for happy hour, so we did not partake of the food – just the libations.
Beer was OK. Had one good, and one not-so good. For the life of me I cannot remember what they were called or even what they were.
Looks like I’ll have to go back for that brat alone!
Out of the way is one way of putting it. Think San Mateo/Alameda/I-25 and you’re in the neighborhood.