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The building of a brewery: The Los Alamos Beer Co-Op is making progress in its start-up

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The photo shows part of a brewing system purchased by the Los Alamos Beer Co-op, which hopes to open a taproom in the fall. (Courtesy of Los Alamos Beer Co-op)

The photo shows part of a brewing system purchased by the Los Alamos Beer Co-op, which hopes to open a taproom in the fall. (Courtesy of Los Alamos Beer Co-op)

Los Alamos Beer Co-op is well on its way to achieving its goal of opening a brewery and taproom in Los Alamos in the fall of this year. It is now in search of an experienced brewer to create some savory craft beers to serve.

“We’re coming up on two years now,” Amy Engle, a member of the Los Alamos Beer Co-op board, said of the group’s formation. “It started as a group of us up here and we wanted to have a gathering place for the community in Los Alamos and thought we’d start a brewery.”

The co-op has been fundraising and accepting member loan investments since January, and is close to raising enough money to get the brewery and taproom off the ground. It recently purchased a brewing system from Albuquerque’s Bosque Brewing Company, which is significantly expanding its own operation at its mothership location in the Northeast Heights.

“We’ve been looking for equipment for awhile and trying to keep our eyes and ears open,” Engle said. “We knew used brewing systems come on the market and come off the market very quickly. We wanted to purchase a used system.”

As luck would have it, Engle struck up a conversation last year with Bosque Brewing’s director of operations, Gabe Jensen. He mentioned Bosque’s expansion plans and offered to sell the brewing system to Los Alamos Beer Co-op. The Portland Kettle Works brewing system includes a boil kettle that is used to fill 220-gallon fermenters, which serve five beer tanks.

“We’ve been very lucky,” Engle said. “The brewing community in New Mexico is supportive of our effort and everyone else wants us to succeed within the community. It worked out and he’s (Jensen) going to come and help us set it up.”

The co-op is looking for a location right now, but Engle said it is optimistic that it will have one by the fall.

“We still hope to open this year in the early to late fall,” Engle said. “It is still our goal. Location is the hardest part. Los Alamos is a small county with limited options. We knew it was going to be our biggest challenge and we would have to work through it and everything else.”

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