Monday 13th May 2012
It was an overcast and rather hot sticky day when I walked towards the La Cumbre brewery. It was about a twenty minute walk from the nearest bus stop. I had certainly worked up a thirst when I arrived at the rather nondescript building on an industrial estate. Despite the rather bleak exterior facade I found that the main tap room to be a warm and welcoming place.
The brewery was founded in 2009 by Jeff and Laura Erway thus fulfilling a long-term ambition to own their own brewery and pub.
They were both teachers when the brewery bug was first caught. Jeff quit his job as a music teacher and enrolled in a course with the American Brewers Guild from whom he received a degree. His first brewing job was nearby Chama River Brewing where he received several awards for his brews.
In the short time since La Cumbre started he has received several accolades for his products and the people of Albuquerque have taken to this pub judging by the comments I heard whist I was in the city.
The bar staff told me there were six beers available so I ordered a sampler selection. These came in rather generous 5 oz (1/4 imp pint) glasses and I soon got stuck in.
I began with Jeff's Hefe (5.4%) as wheat is not my favourite type of brew. I was pleasantly surprised as it was much more bitter than expected. I then tried South Peak Pilsner (4.8%) which was a good bitter lager that, sadly, was gassier than the others.
This was followed by Pyramid Rock Pale Ale (5.8%) which was truly excellent, being a very bitter English-style Pale Ale. Then Elevated IPA (7.2%) which was a good example of a true US IPA. Another great beer was Malpais Stout (7.0%) which had a great rich roasted malt taste and a good bitter finish.
These previous five beers comprise the basic range. I then had a seasonal beer, Zythos Pale Ale (6.3%) which was a single hop variety ale. I liked it a lot, very bitter and also very dry.
The brewery gets its name from the brooding mountain that overlooks the whole Albuquerque basin and at least some of beer's names come from topographical features. See the photograph for a glimpse of the South Peak taken later in the evening light.
They also tap a cask ale every now and again and serve it via their two hand pumps. There are no kitchens at the pub but they are visited by a food truck between Tuesday and Saturday. There's live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Their beers can be found in good bars all over the area. I liked this pub a lot and commend it to visitors to Albuquerque.
La Cumbre Brewing, 3313 Girard Boulevard NE
Open: 12.00 until late
The No 5 bus starts from the Alvarardo Transportation Center every 25 minutes.
There's a reduced service at weekends. Take it to the Carlisle and Candelaria stop.
Walk along Candelaria in a westerly direction, cross the Chama River,
then right into Girard Boulevard and La Cumbre is on the left. Overall: about 20 minutes.