Unhinged Brewing sets to get noticed with its low-key vibe on the West Side - Albuquerque Journal

Unhinged Brewing sets to get noticed with its low-key vibe on the West Side

Unhinged Brewing has opened its doors in Albuquerque’s West side just off 98th Street and south of Interstate 40. Pictured is owner and founder Micah Hawk-Lowenstein. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Unhinged Brewing is bringing craft beer to an underserved area in Albuquerque’s southwest pocket.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Micah Hawk-Lowenstein, Unhinged CEO. “So far, we’ve got a lot of people saying, ‘You know, I’m so glad something’s finally opened up here. We want you to succeed.’ I think we’re still trying to get our name out there. I think we’ve just barely touched the surface of letting people know we exist.”

The brewery currently serves five of its beers on draft with two more beer releases on the rise. A few guest taps fill out the lineup. Non-beer drinkers can sip on local wines and non-alcoholic canned beverages.

“Our head brewer is Paul Short,” Hawk-Lowenstein said. “He has been home brewing for I think six years now. I’m the assistant brewer and I’ve been brewing for the last two years. I helped set up the brewery down in Socorro (at) Capital Bar. There’s a little two barrel system. We started making some recipes we’re really proud of and that brewery is still going on. I handed it off so I could come back and work full time on this project.”

Unhinged beer offerings include its top seller, Jest-a-Lager, a lightly hopped Mexican lager.

“It’s got a very clean beer, very well balanced,” Hawk-Lowenstein said. “It’s got a nice little sweetness from the corn and just enough hops to give it a little something interesting.”

Right behind in requests is the Non-Linear IPA. The IPA is described as a “firm but effervescent citrusy hop profile twisted with notes of botanicals and tropical fruit. All painted over a smooth and nutty English malt with a hint of caramel,” according to its website.

Next up in popularity is the Off the Rails Red IPA.

“It’s a little more bitter, a little heavier,” Hawk-Lowenstein said. “It’s delicious. It’s made with rice. And it has that sharp kind of hoppy start that you expect in an IPA, but finishes out really smoothly.”

Unhinged will soon be putting out some beer cocktails, including Micheladas and a few recipes that go well with rum and whiskey. The concoctions will feature local New Mexico distilled spirits.

Things at Unhinged are all about unwinding – it’s an oasis where you can let your hair down and relax. Its namesake is reflective of that.

“The community that supported us from the get go, all gravitated towards this premise of the unhinged jester. A jester who knew how important fun was in a serious world who was kind and this mischievous kind of mascot. We have the story of him overthrowing the king in our heads and dispensing the drinks for the people, I think that’s a big part of what we’re doing. We think we can make some of the best beer out there. But our main goal is to make beer for the people… (It is) our kooky belief that it’s important to belly laugh with friends and take some of the weight off from the day.”

The founders of Unhinged come from high stress career backgrounds.

“That’s why we all got into brewing,” Hawk-Lowenstein said. “Our founding group is all engineers, coming from more serious jobs. And this extends now to the service team. I think all of us we’re looking for a way to make a life that we can be proud of, that we can have fun in, that we can experiment and take risks in. And, I think we found that here at Unhinged Brewing.”

The brewery is a labor of love for its founders.

“We actually designed and installed most of the place ourselves,” Hawk-Lowenstein said. “We built the bar, we stained the concrete, and we assembled chairs. Anything that didn’t need a city license to do, we did ourselves. It’s really a kind of a result of a labor of love from all the founders. We were on our hands and knees scrubbing and building for the last four months before we opened. I’m really proud to present it to people. We were shooting for something that was low key and warm. I think a lot of breweries kind of lean toward a more sterile manufacturing vibe. We really want to make it the neighborhood brewery. Somewhere you could hang out and feel comfortable.”


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