New Mexico’s former highest ranking law enforcement official is getting into the craft brewing scene with the opening of a new brewery in Albuquerque’s Old Town Plaza.
Jointly owned by former New Mexico State Police chief Pete Kassetas and his nephew, Cody Huffmon, Downshift Brewing at Outpost 1706 is opening temporarily for the two weekends of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with plans to officially open this November or December.
The taproom, located on the second floor of 301 Romero NW in Old Town, will be the Albuquerque location for the Ruidoso-based brewery which is set to open in Ruidoso later this year.
Kassetas said plans for the brewery began earlier this year when Kassetas began managing the Plaza Don Luis property, which overlooks the west side of the Old Town Plaza.
Kassetas said Huffmon approached him with the idea to open a restaurant, but the pair ultimately decided to open a brewery instead.
“We think that the more breweries in the area that are responsibly doing alcohol service is important to the tourists, because we’re almost known as a brewery destination now, but also we want to bring locals in,” Kassetas said.
Kassetas said he is excited to be a part of the revitalization of Old Town and surrounding neighborhoods like the Sawmill District.
“It’s such a beautiful, wonderful area,” he said. “It’s really opened my eyes up to the flavor of the city and a lot of that stems from Old Town.”
Though house beers won’t yet be available during the initial opening, Kassetas said there will be a selection of other local beers from breweries like Marble, cocktails made with locally distillery Teller spirits and ciders from Noisy Water.
However, once the brewery is fully opened the beer choices will range from traditional favorites like lagers to more experimental options. Local liquors and wines will remain on the menu.
Kassetas said that many beer drinkers like to bar hop to different breweries and he hopes that Downshift Brewing will provide another option for beer lovers in the Sawmill area and the soft opening will allow guests to have a first look at the 2,000-square-foot brewery.
Downshift Brewing is open Oct. 1- 3 and Oct. 8- 10 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.