ABQ named top ‘unexpected’ beer city

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico is known for its distinct flavors of food like red and green chile. Meanwhile, the brewing scene hasn’t necessarily taken a spotlight.

But now, Albuquerque is getting national recognition for the attention it hasn’t gotten yet for its beer.

Albuquerque was recently named the “Best Unexpected Beer City” in the U.S and lots of local brewers say the city’s local industry is on the cusp of a business surge.

If you ask the brewers already here, they’ll tell you they already have a lot of faith in their own local brands.

“What’s being produced in the city is world class,” said David Facey, assistant brewer at Chama River Brewing Company.

Brian Langwell, owner of Left Turn Distilling, said, “People really like the small level quality.”

While both outlets have won awards on a national scale, many agree the city hasn’t necessarily become well known for its drinks.

“It’s really a secret thing we kind of have going on here,” said Langwell.

But that could change with the new recognition.

“New Mexico in general, you know, we’re known for our food, for chile and bold flavors and I think people are starting to want the same quality in beer,” said Facey.

Livability.com is the website that recently named Albuquerque as the top “unexpected beer city” in the entire U.S.

“To travelers, it may seem like Albuquerque is an unknown beer spot, but I think to locals, we’re not surprised,” said Facey.

Facey says Chama River is getting more attention these days from outsiders.

“People that actually travel from wherever they’re coming from to Albuquerque because they’ve heard of our great beer scene,” said Facey.

Langwell also agrees. He started a hard liquor brewer, Left Turn Distilling in mid-2013.

“We’ve had a really big influx of tourists,” said Langwell. “We’re pushing the limits.”

Langwell’s business is also surrounded by three other brewers in a “brewery district” that state senators made this year. Langwell sees a big influx of new brewers starting soon.

“I’ve actually talked to a couple of – let’s call them future distillers – that are looking to move into this neighborhood, not to mention a couple of brewers,” said Langwell.

He says the city’s brew future is bright.

“We’re putting Albuquerque on the map with the breweries and the distilleries,” said Langwell.

Albuquerque based Marble Brewery also recently got the spotlight for it’s beer, taking home a gold for it’s pilsner at the recent World Beer Cup. There are now more than 40 breweries across New Mexico.

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