Earthly delights: Ex Novo Brewing Co. expanding outdoor space with beer garden

The frame of what will become a shade structure in the new Ex Novo beer garden can be seen from Corrales Road. (Liam DeBonis/For the Journal)

Rising from a small plot of land in Corrales are the bones of what Ex Novo Brewing Co. hopes will become an outdoor oasis.

Brewery founder Joel Gregory announced at the beginning of this year that he planned to build a beer garden on his 3-acre property next to the brewing warehouse. On the other side of the property are a small taproom and a large patio.

Gregory has prioritized outdoor seating, taking advantage of Corrales’ rural setting and New Mexico’s agreeable weather.

“We like serving beer outside,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Ex Novo remained a favorite throughout the pandemic, even in December and January. It was not unusual for the outdoor patio to be full, with people huddled around fireplaces and heaters.

Gregory said that initially he did not have plans for a beer garden but that the pandemic made him realize how he could best use his 3 acres. He said that even though the patio is decent-sized, it sometimes gets full. He said there is also not a good space to birthday parties or events.

“During the pandemic, we had to turn people away (because it was full),” he said. “We’ve had lots of inquiries about reserving space for parties.”

The beer garden will have space for 160 people and will be available to reserve for birthday parties, small wedding receptions and other celebrations.

Joel Gregory, owner of Ex Novo Brewing Co., enjoys a beer in his taproom. (Liam Debonis/For The Journal)

Gregory has taken the word “garden” pretty seriously. He said landscaping is key to creating the environment he wants. He’s planted hundreds of native trees, plants, flowers, bushes and shrubs. There’s also a lawn that he hopes will be a good space for families to hang out.

There will be a large structure with a metal roof to provide shade and shelter. Two shipping containers will be used as seating areas as well, helping block the elements. Fire pits scattered throughout will keep brewery guests warm. There will also be a bar and restrooms.

Gregory said that most customers and neighbors have been supportive of the expansion but that some expressed concerns about increased traffic. He said he sees it as a way to entice more people to visit Corrales and spend money at local businesses.

The brewery held a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to kick-start the project, with a goal of $60,000.

The project at Ex Novo Brewery, 4895 Corrales Road, is scheduled to wrap up by December or January. Visit exnovobrew.com/corrales for a list of beer offerings, a food truck schedule and current hours.

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