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Nexus Brewery celebrates 7 years, prepares to open smokehouse

Nexus Brewery is commemorating seven years not only with the food and beer its become famous for but also the opening of its Nexus Blue Smokehouse later this year.

The smokehouse will soon offer its own style of barbecue when it opens in a few months at 1511 Broadway SE. It will also have a taproom with Nexus beers and guest taps.

“I’m going to just say it should open the fall of this year,” Nexus owner Ken Carson said. “I’d like it to open in September, but you know how that goes. I’ll say September, and it will be December. We’re way behind where we had anticipated, but at least finally we’re moving forward now and we are actually building and doing stuff and we’re putting in plumbing.”

Opening a smokehouse is Carson’s dream realized. He once considered having a barbecue menu rather than Nexus’ signature Southern and soul cuisine.

“I wanted to do barbecue, but I was afraid because I had customers that were in the barbecue business and it just seems like it’s been really hard for them to survive in the business,” Carson explained.

The smokehouse will now give Carson an opportunity to branch out into the barbecue style of cooking he loves. He is hoping to offer various smoked meats, including bacon, ham, turkey and fish.

“We designed what we call a pit room and so the barbecue pits, it’s kind of a barbecue area that has the barbecue pits in them. But they’re open on each side of the pits. It will be fenced in and everything for security. You’ll see these in Texas in a lot of places. They’ll have these open pit rooms and the barbecue pits. You’ll see them cooking the meat. You’ll see the fire, and you can see the smoke and the whole deal. That’s part of the ambiance that we have, and you will be able to sit on the patio and look over and see the guys possibly pulling meat off the barbecue pit.

Carson will leave the cooking to his kitchen staff at the smokehouse, but patrons can get check out his barbecue skills during Nexus’ seventh anniversary events. He will be cooking “Ken’s Famous Ribs” on May 26 at Nexus Brewery.

“I’ve done it seven years in a row,” he said. “It’s kind of in appreciation of my customers to get out there and put on an apron.”

Taking the brewing reins is new head brewer Randy King, who recently came on board. King, who grew up in Belen, had been brewing in Montana, prior to joining the Nexus team.

“The beers might have changed here and there, but the changes are really subtle and the beer has improved in a lot of cases,” Carson said. “… All of the new beers that he’s done, they’ve been excellent to me.”

As part of the anniversary events, Nexus will release the hop-forward Big Ugly Nasty IPA, aka the BUN, at Nexus Brewery and Nexus Silver West Side taproom on Thursday, May 24, and release Beam Me Up Scotty Scotch Ale at both locations on May 25.

“We were joking around, and I was telling (King) everybody in this town loves IPAs so much, and I said can you do a big, ugly IPA, and he laughed and he said, ‘OK, I can do it’ and I said, ‘What are you going to call that IPA?’ and he said, ‘I think we should call it the Big Ugly IPA.’ So we came out with the Notorious BUN, and that is Big Ugly Nasty IPA.”