Friday, August 17, 2012

Nexus Brewery

Nexus Brewery is another of the many wonderful new breweries that Albuquerque, NM has to offer to the resident beer geek, or just someone looking for an escape from American Light Lager.  Nexus Brewery is off 1-25, just north of the Montgomery Blvd NE exit at 4730 Pan American Freeway.

                Nexus opened in May, 2011, by Ken Carson, a former banker who got the itch to open a brewery.  Remembering Star Trek: Generations he realized the perfect name for his new brewery, Nexus.  For those of you who may not be familiar, in Star Trek mythology Nexus is an extra-dimensional realm that exists outside of time.  In the Nexus someone’s is able to shape reality to reflect their innermost desires.

                When it came time to open his brewery, Ken Carson turned to an expert in the field, Paul Farnsworth and an experienced brewer, Manuel Mussen.  Paul Farnsworth is currently a lecturer at the University of New Mexico and has served as a consultant for over 100 breweries around the world.  Manuel Mussen, got his start at Rock Bottom and AleSmith before pursuing a degree in Food Sciences (Brewing) at the University of California – Davis.  After graduating from UC-Davis, Manuel headed over to the UK and apprenticed as a brewer at St Austell Brewery where he learned the secrets of traditional English brewing and was able to hone his recipes.  An interesting side note, or at least interesting to me, apparently Manuel was a fire-walker in his time at UC-Davis (yeah, I found an article on Manuel at the UC-Davis Aggie).  According to Manuel, walking on hot coals helps someone to realize they can do anything after that, “if you’re not prepared you might end up burned. You have to really decide this is what you want to do.”  Sounds like a great motto for life.

                Nexus currently runs on a 7-barrel system and has 8 beers on their lineup, although when I stopped in they had 10 beers on tap: a Cream Ale, a White Ale, a Brown Ale, a Scottish Wee Heavy, an ESB, an Imperial Cream Ale, an American Red, a Stout, Beam Me Up Scotty (an Imperial version of the Scottish Wee Heavy), and a West Coast-style IPA.

                Before getting on to the beers, I want to share the pledge that Nexus has on their menu, because it’s awesome!

                “I pledge allegiance to the Craft Beer Nation which is a group of common minded beer enthusiasts who know the difference between great beer and the watered down beer from the national beer companies.
                I pledge to always look for great craft beers first before drinking regular beer.  And to the Craft Beer Nation for which it stands, to great brews, and to the best malts and hops available, indivisible, with liberty and friendship for The Connection of all.
                I will always drink craft beer and enjoy the Exbeerience as a Nexus Neighbor till the day I die!”

The Beer Menu
The Flight of Beers
                On to the beers!  I will not be including Beeradvocate or ratebeer because there aren’t enough reviews on either for Nexus to have scores.
Cream Ale

They say:
                  A pale golden lager created by the German immigrants to the USA in the days before prohibition, considerably more flavorful than its current counterparts. A light easy-drinking yet flavorful beer, perfect for a sunny afternoon on our patio!

                6.0% ABV
                30 IBU

I say:

                The Cream ale was pale straw with a thin white head that remained thin after agitation.  It had a very mild malt aroma, with very little hop presence.

     The flavor had very pleasant mild malt notes with a low underlying hoppy bitterness.  It was very smooth, refreshing, and easy drinking.  The Cream Ale was low to medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

A very good beer.

White Ale

They say:

A cloudy wheat beer spiced with coriander and orange peel. An easy drinking wheat beer with orange and spicy notes.

5.0% ABV
18 IBU

I say:

                The White Ale was light gold with a thin white head that became more impressive after agitation, once there was room in the glass to agitate it.  It held pretty good retention.  The aroma was complex like a good Wit should be.  It had a nice wheat aroma accented with orange and just a touch of coriander.

                The flavor was bready and dominated by banana fruity esters from the yeast, backed up by wheat, and orange.  The coriander that was noticeable in the aroma was almost imperceptible in the flavor.  The Wit was medium bodied and smooth with a moderate to high level of carbonation.

                It was a very excellent Belgian Wit-style beer that was exceptionally drinkable and refreshing.

Brown Ale

They say:

                Not sure what the commercial tag on this is, because it was not on the menu when I was there and is not on their website.

                6.0% ABV
I say:

                The Brown ale was light mahogany in color with a light tan head that held good retention after becoming agitated.  The aroma was slightly caramel and very malty.

                The flavor was full of complex caramel and vanilla notes, with just the right amount of hoppy bitterness to ensure that it was not cloyingly sweet.  It was medium to high-bodied and moderately carbonated.

                The Brown Ale was a very good beer.

Scottish Wee Heavy

They say:

                A strong very malty, deep brown ale. Malt flavors predominate with nutty flavors mingling within. The malty sweetness is balanced by light hopping rates and alcoholic warmth rising through the malt.

8% ABV
28 IBU

I say:

                The Scottish Wee Heavy was light mahogany in color with an off-white head with moderate retention.  The aroma was very sweet, with caramel malty notes and just the slightest hint of alcohol, betraying its 8% ABV.

                The flavor was sweet and nutty with hints of nougat; and a slightly bitter finish.  There was a slight alcohol bite on the backend, but it finished smooth.

                Another very good beer.


They say:

                A traditional English ESB, a coppery golden ale, with a caramel and toffee notes balanced with a generous helping of English hops for a floral finish.

5.2% ABV
26 IBU

I say:

                The ESB was amber with a very nice white head that held excellent retention when agitated.  The aroma had strong caramel and toffee notes, with earthy hop notes from a generous addition of Fuggle hops.

                The flavor had tons of caramel and toffee notes with fruity yeast esters and a floral hop finish.  It is exceptionally smooth and drinkable, but it seemed a little under-hopped for an ESB.

                This was an excellent beer, with all the nice fruity/earthy/nutty notes of a well-brewed ESB.

Imperial Cream Ale

They say:

                No official description, but an “Imperial” version of the cream ale.

                9.5% ABV

I say:

                The Imperial Cream was light gold to straw in color with a nice white head that held excellent retention after agitation.  The aroma was very smooth with light malts, potentially just pilsner and maybe 2-row.

                This was a very sooth beer with light malt character and a low hop profile.  There was a slight hint of an alcohol bite on the back end from the 9.5% ABV.  The Imperial Cream was medium to high bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

                Another very good beer

American Red

They say:

                A stronger deep red ale with strong malt and caramel notes. Dry hopped for that American finish of citrus and pine.

7.0% ABV
48 IBU
I say:

                The American Red was on the red side of mahogany in color with a nice tan head that had good retention.  The aroma was malty with caramel notes and a slight bit of hoppy bitterness on the back end.

                It was creamy with caramel notes up front before transitioning to bitter then finishing smooth and malty again.  The bitterness hit hard, but then faded, presenting a very complex beer; far more so than many Red Ales.  The American Red was medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

                Another excellent beer!
An American Stout

They say:

                A full bodied jet black ale with brimming with chocolate and roasty flavors.

5.8% ABV
40 IBU

I say:

                The Stout was a nice opaque brown with a very small head that refused to form even after agitation.  The aroma was chocolaty and roasted with smoky notes.

                The flavor was of roasted oats with definitely chocolate notes.  It was full bodied and smooth.  I don’t remember whether this was served on cask, but it was very lightly carbonated so I am guessing it might have been.

                A very well-brewed stout!

Beam Me Up Scotty

They say:

                There was no commercial description on the menu, but the waitress at the bar said it was an Imperial version of the Scottish Ale.

                10.7% ABV
I say:

                Beam Me Up Scotty was just on the reddish side of mahogany with a very nice tan head that held excellent retention, in fact it’s that beer off to the far right in the picture up top that has the impressive head.  The aroma was slightly roasted with hints of malty sweetness and definitely alcohol notes on the back end.

                The flavor smooth and sweet with nutty notes before giving way to a strong alcohol bite.  As the sample warmed, the alcohol bite began to subside and the sweetness came to the forefront and the beer tasted almost like a toasted marshmallow.  Beam Me Up Scotty finished smooth.  It was a full bodied beer with a moderate level of carbonation.

                This was a good beer cold and it continued to get better as it warmed up.

American IPA

They say:

                A big bold American IPA. A light golden color with a big hoppy/citrusy finish. Made in West Coast tradition with lots of citrusy and piney hops.

6.8% ABV
65 IBU

 I say:

               The IPA was amber and developed a nice white head after agitation.  The aromas were dominated by citrus and pine from the hops, with light malts in the background.

               The flavor started piney and resiney with a slight bit of citrus in the finish.  It was moderately bitter and well-balanced.  The IPA was medium bodied with a moderate to high level of carbonation.

               It was another very good beer.

                Head Brewer Manuel Mussen definitely knows what he is doing.  His time spent at UC-Davis learning from the esteemed Charles Bamforth compounded with his experience at Rock Bottom, AleSmith and St Astall seems to have paid off.  Mr. Carson, you have a very good brewer on your hands, one that has the potential to win many awards for your brewery.

Manuel Mussen Cleaning at the end of the day
                That’s all for the week, check back on Monday when I swear I will be back on track with my posts.

                Have a great weekend!

                Happy Drinking!!

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