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Chama River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chama River Brewing CompanyChama River Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.69/5
Based on:
19 Beers
104 Ratings
Place Score: 91
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

4939 Pan American Fwy NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87109-2230
United States
phone: (505) 342-1800

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @chamariverbrew

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: Jason)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chileman13
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The location of Chama River is odd. It can been seen off the interstate however difficult to get there for anyone who is not familiar with ABQ. You must turn on Jefferson and then take the frontage road on the west side of the interstate. It is one way heading south.
Once there you are faced with a sea of compact car parking spaces. The building is well maintained, with a patio facing the mountains. The bar is to the left, with several seperated areas of seating, which probably helps keep noise down. The bar is dark brown wood and copper. The ceiling is also copper stamped reminescent of late 1800's early 1900's. It felt like a synthesis of brewpub and Santa Fe snob.
I sat at the bar. The place was slow and so was the service. The bartender didn't seem to want to be there. I had to ask twice for a lunch menu.
I had the lunch special which was a lamb curry pot pie and salad ($10.00). The salad was very fresh and presented perfectly. I had the chipolte vingerette, which was spicy yet flavorful. The pot pie could have used a little more curry for me. I was presented well using a puff pastry covering an oval dish. Food service was fast, and the server was polite. There was however no follow up.
Now for the brew. I tasted the IPA and either I wasn't in the mood for it or something because I was unimpressed. I had heard good things about it. I decided to have a 16 oz Hefeweisen ($3.97). It seeemed to follow the traditional Hefe recipe. It started with a banana-vanilla note. The taste was an average Hefe. I really like Hefe's. This one I could take or leave.
Overall I'll return to Chama River when in ABQ.

Photo of sleazo
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Got the rec to go here from Rblwthacoz. As a bit of a Albuquerque swami he said this was better tha Kelly's and I think I agree with him.

Chamas is located right off of I25 just north of downtown. They have outside seating with a good view of the mountains and a nice outdoor fireplace by the entrance. When you walk in there are booths to the right, a long U shaped bar right ahead and tables to the far left. There also is another private room which looks onto the brew tanks. The bar itself is mainly dark brown wood and looks nice without being cheesy. The copper ceiling tiles are a nice touch.

The beers themselves were all above average for brew pub fare. I had their IPA, Brown Ale and Stout which were all very good. They had around 10 of their own beers on tap all of which were fresh. I didn't see any other beers available but I did not really look.

Foodwise they do an upscale pub type of thing. I had a bowl of chili and their house salad. The chili was good but nothing mind blowing. There were a number of other entrees available such as coffee crusted pork chops, squash pasta and some more typical pub stuff.

Service was mediocre at best. The bartender really wasn't attentive or friendly but he did check in every so often. The bill was about $24 for three beers and the two food items which I supposeis expensive for NM, but wasnt bad for me.

All in all Chama's is a good place to grab a brew and some dinner.

Photo of tcbl1007
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I was definately caught off guard when I sat down and looked at the Chama River menu. When I go to a place that brews their own beer, I expect a brewpub atmosphere, etc. This is far from it. My wife and I are a blue collar type of people, so we opted for appetizers instead of any of the $22 plus meals (which is the low end for meals there).

Let's start with the beer. The beer was very good. My wife had the Broken Spoke Honey Wheat Ale, which was a very refreshing beer. It had a very nice lightly spiced taste, with nice floral aroma. It was a very nice light beer to have with a meal.

I started out with the Jackrabbit IPA, which was excellent. It was lighter than what I expected, but the hops came exploding out of that bad boy. This would be an excellent summer ale.

Second, I had the Sleeping Dog Stout, which was also excellent. It had an excellent full bodied texture, with nice coffee and chocolate tones, without the overly smokey aftertaste that some stouts tend to have. This was a superb stout.

The appetizers were to die for! The chicken wings were very large, and the buffalo sauce was absolutely fantastic. The rib appetizers were as tender as tender could be, and they fell right off the bone. The BBQ sauce was delicious.

If you're looking for a reasonably priced place for dinner, then I do not suggest going here. This is definately a high-end establishment when it comes to dinner. Any decent dinner will cost you at least $22 a plate. I can't say if the meals are good, or not, but price-wise it didn't float our boat (we prefer a pub grub menu). But if you're looking for excellent beer, with excellent appetizers, and excellent service, then you will not be dissapointed by Chama River. And if you remember to, ask for a table that Isaac is working - he did an outstanding job (very friendly, and very efficient).

Photo of jim102864
4/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited this large brewpub located right off the highway in dusty, windy Albuquerque last month while on business (actually in Santa Fe). New in appearance and looking somewhat like a Texas steakhouse, I looked forward to the visit and was not dissapointed. In case you've never been to New Mexico, there is precious little quality beer available. I don't think there's a single beer bar in the entire state, so you're left with a select few brewpubs such as this. A large outdoor fireplace and patio was found right at the entrance. Nice touch. The interior was large and roomy with a high post and beam ceiling and a sizeable rectangular bar dominating the space as you enter. The copper topped surface and tin ceiling over the bar made for a clean, attractive and pleasing atmoshere. I'm guessing the bar sat upwards of 40 people, it was just that big. A row of curved silver armed taps with uniform white handles were in the middle of the space within the rectangle. Two flat screens in the same space were perfectly located for viewing. The beer was well crafted. I enjoyed the Munchener Dunkel(5.3%) first. I then followed up with the Double IPA - "Dangerous Intentions, " which was served in a pint glass even at 8.4%. Grassy and herbal nose and aggessive hopping made this the best of the three. I also found the Broken Spoke Golden Ale crisp and refeshing. Efficient service from the barkeeps, too. All in all a solid brewpub in the high desert that is Albuquerque. Will visit again on my next business trip and stay at the best Embassy Suites I've been to right down the road.

Photo of russpowell
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Had the sampler on a Friday evening: The barleywine was the best of the bunch, also liked the ESB & IPA

The place reminded me of a upscale rock bottom in many ways. A little too fancy for me to be truly comfortable

Our waiter was great, very attentive, despite the fact it was a busy Friday night

Most of the beers were average to above average, but the barley wine was the only beer I'd call good.

9 beers on tap to include a farmhouse ale & a few lagers, not too mind blowing IMO

The food was pretty tasty albeit a bit pricey. The Chimchuri steak was tasty but smallish. Some nice regional touches.

Not a bad stop, but nothing to to get too excited about. I expected a little more from the beer to be honest

Photo of stephens101
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was in Albuquerque a few months ago for a wedding, and Chama River looked like the place to go for a good brew. It has a somewhat modern look with a nice bar which is separated from the regular dining area. Not too busy early on a Friday Evening.

Our immediate party only went here because I recommended it. One of our party took the initiative to get us reservations because there were eight of us. When we showed up the hostess put two tables together, which would seat about six people comfortably. I was a bit put off by that and sternly asked her to pull up another table. It was apparent that they didn't want us to use up too many tables, but finally I persuaded her, and got dirty looks for the rest of the meal.

Ok, the brew, the original draw of the place. I had the IPA and the Stout. As someone mentioned, these are both very good brews, and made up for the lack of service. If I had to choose, I would pick the IPA, as it seemed a bit more robust than the stout, but that's just personal preference. The tasty brews went a long way in making up for the service.

The food was very good, and we all left satiated. I even got a few of my party to try the Stout after they finished their Coors Lights. They enjoyed the craft brew experience. Overall it was a good experience despite the service. One which I will repeat the next time I'm in Albuquerque.

Photo of breadnerd
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

We managed to make it here twice during our trip to the southwest. Atmosphere was welcoming, a little classy, with a nice bar that had chromed cobra taps, and a fountain in the seating area. A bit tricky to find, though. Plan on dodging one-way streets and driving 'round in circles a bit.

A few notable beers, especially their IPA-- nice, golden/amber with a great citrus/floral bouquet. Very drinkable. Also worth trying is the stout-- a hearty, thick bit of deliciousness that had notes of chocolate and coffee, great mouthfeel. Good selection overall, with a few seasonals on tap, too.

Don't expect much from the service, however... seemingly unattentive. I would suggest sitting at the bar where service managers are present.

Food was pretty good. It's nice to see a brewpub that doesn't just serve up brewpub food. Some items were poorly executed, but my girl had the ribs, and said "the meat falls right off the bone."

Had a long flight and need a beer? Go check out Chama.

Photo of walshclimb
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Each time I visit Chama River, I am impressed by how quickly I am seated and served. They have very good menu variety with some unique items and consistently excellent food quality. Try the blue cheese frites or ale fondue appetizers. They have very good prime rib, clams, and many other main course items. This is not just your average brew pub fare. The atmosphere is nice with a big open bar and a nice casual dining area. Their beers are typically very good to excellent. My only complaint here is that the beer tends to be served too cold by as much as 10 degrees, which requires letting it warm up significantly before tasting it.

Photo of weknowmatt
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My wife and I went here in mid-March and was very impressed as my ratings reflect. The interior is wonderful. Vaulted ceiling, a huge open bar and a fountain off to the right.We started with their sampler of ten beers. There was six regulars and four seasonals. We were very impressed with the stout and the i.p.a.. The server hovered alittle, but knew the beers well and was very quick with any request. The entrees were served in a timely manner and were hot. Don't miss the desserts. We both had the cappuccino creme brule and it was incredible.

Photo of kdoc8
4.6/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

"An oasis for beer in the Southwest".
Located unassumingly in the middle of a busy strip-mall area of town, I was happily surprised to find Chama River. It was so good! I was really surprised to find it in Albuquerque and would recommend it for anyone who goes there in the future. I sat at the bar, which was copper and wood. It had a very modern/swanky atmosphere (there was a large bronze sculpture/fountain in the doorway). I got to talk to the brewer, who recommended the Weizenbock and the Imperial Red as their two newest seasonals on tap. And wow. They were the best beers I’ve had on this trip, hands down. Eventually one of the other brewers came out and talked to me for a while, because I apparently attract attention with my beer-reviewing notebook. The staff was exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. They also had an extensive and good menu – I had the bbq beef sandwich and sweet potato fries which were good.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Chama River Brewing Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of my favorite places. It's easy to find; just a stone's throw north on Hwy 25 from ABQ International and Kirtland AFB. I've had the opportunity to visit just under 100 brewpubs in 12 different states now and CRBC really stands out. It's newer, upscale and very comfortable. As with any really great place, the staff was excellent; very attentive and well informed. I've eaten dinner there twice. The Tenderloin and the Chimichurri Steak dinners were both excellent. The Jack Rabbit IPA is good but Dangerous Intentions Pale Ale is a real treat and will keep you coming back. I highly recommend that you pay them a visit if you're planning a trip to ABQ.

Photo of ruleof72
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

We stopped by during a trip to NM for Balloon Fiesta and visiting family. This is a nice place, fairly busy. We were there on Wednesday evening which is $2 pint night, a great deal, and on a Tuesday for regular beer prices ($3.75/pint) which is still a good price. There was a decent mix of people all enjoying the beer plus a good portion eating. The food looked good but we didn't try any.

The only downside (from their standpoint) was that the servers were not accurate in accounting for all of the beer served. We were given a "free" beer because they missed it on the bill. We paid them for it anyway.

We'll stop by the next time we're in ABQ.

Photo of orsulacp
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I stopped here at the end of my New Mexico tour based on the revies from this site. It is on the chain row right next to I-25 a bit north of Albq. The place is very open with plenty of tables and a big bar. I sat at the bar. I had the double IPA first which was very good, nice floral hops with an excellent malt background, very well balanced. Next I had the Hefewiesen, which was also very good, great smells. banana and clove. I ordered the filet and it came with a mushroom side in a red wine reduction that was awesome. The steak was done perfectly and the other side, of smashed potatoes was exellent. I was very impressedy by the food. I wanted to try the barleywine and I asked the bartender for a taste and he poured me a good 5-6 oz, without charging me, very nice. The only down side was the people sitting next to me talking about how you have to try the beer that tastes just like Bud Light. Very good beer, excellent food, and with my bartender great service.

Photo of TXHops
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Although Chama River follows the standard American trend toward upscale-ish chef-inspired menus attached to brewpubs, these guys execute pretty well. The food is just unique enough to separate this restaurant from any other Applebees or Outback out there and the beers are well above brewpub average. In fact, Chama River was good enough that my wife and I ate there on back to back nights. All 4 meals were very good (with a nice emphasis on local ingredients and creativity) and the beers extremely well done. They had a standard lineup of about 6, with 4 rotating taps. I sampled 8 on my two visits, all of which would have been pint-worthy on their own. I setteled on their IPA, Stout and seasonal, double-hopped pale ale (all the hops of an IPA, without the gravity) as their best. Certainly worth a visit when in town.

Photo of bradybeer
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited Chama River Brewing on a chilly Tuesday night. The brewpub is located on, what is essentially, a chain restaurant row near a high tech office park.

The door is not located at the front but is on the side-you must walk through a patio with a fireplace to get to the door. When I first walked in I wasn’t struck by the fact that I was in a brewpub. Dinning is to the right and the bar to the left.

The ambiance here is upscale yuppie-the place was full of office workers and business types-I included among these. Not my kind of place to kick back and relax-have to pose too much.

The service was good and quick once I was noticed.

With about 8-10 beers on tap I tried 10oz pulls of:

Chamafest ABV 5.9. This Oktoberfest style ale was a little too sweet for my tastes-it could have used a little more hop character. Not a terrible beer-but not one I would try again.

Jack Rabbit IPA. As others have commented in their reviews this beer is light on hops for the style. Not that it wasn’t a beer I could have a few of-but one which needs a boost of hops.

Mal Pais Stout ABV 5.0- This was an excellent stout-something between a Foreign Export and a Dry Stout-this according to the local Brewpaper-I happen to agree. This beer was brewed by the winner of a local homebrew competition. Fantastic beer.

Still full from lunch I opted for a dessert of Espresso Crème Brule which was an excellent companion to the Mal Pais Stout.

I liked this place and wouldn’t hesitate to suggest having a beer and a bite to eat with friends or the in-laws-however this would not be my local- I prefer a more laid back establishment with less yuppies.

Photo of HardTarget
4.68/5  rDev +15%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere- Place seems fairly high-end with wood and adobe being the main construction elements with a more formal carpeted side with booths and a more casual side with stained concrete floors and tables. Brew area is glassed in and I saw the brewer working while we ate. A number of big flat screen TVs were playing sports with no sound and a fairly good stream of mellow rock music was playing and a lot of old pictures on the wall to check out.

Quality- High marks here, all beers were fresh and of good quality, the place was clean and had good food. A lot of the beers used a Belgian yeast which gave some interesting flavors to some beers like the dunkle.

Service- We were well taken care of by our server who seemed to know beer, at least knew their beers. I got a half gallon growler which arrived with electrical tape sealing the cap, but the growler fizzed out anyway on the plane ride back. Fair warning for travelers.

Selection- 10 beers on tap made for a big sampler: golden lager, golden ale, honey wheat, amber, pale ale, porter, stout, dunkle, wit, IPA, a very nice range. Menu was a little small, but your standard range of choices was there.

Food- Had a green chili cheeseburger that was really big and pretty tasty. I recommend the sweet potato fries, they were really good!

Price- Moderate price, a touch high ($8.50 burger and fries) but very fair for the portions and quality

Big thumbs up, worth a visit!

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

03/29/05:

Decided to visit again since they have changed their name from Blue Corn Cafe to Chama River. The have changed the format also, went from southwest flare to an uncommonly good steakhouse. Still very casual and reasonable prices but the menu is impressive and the steaks are fantastic.

Same brewer but they have expanded the brewing capacity and the quality of the beers seems to have improved. Upped their taps to 10 on tap at a time.

Closed in the patio and made that area somewhat of a cigar bar now. Definitely spent some bucks upgrading the interior, real nice atmosphere now!

I will definitely spend more time there!

12/05/04:
I have visited Blue Corn several times since moving here, and I have yet to be impressed with the food. basically the food is just marginal when compared to other southwestern cuisine present in the area. Fortunately I hear that they are converting the Albuquerque location to more of an upscale steak house.

As for their beers, their regular lineup beers (Atomic Blonde, End of Trail Brown, High Altitude pale, etc) are just moderately good and haven't warranted my returning often. However, their specials or seasonals seem to be of much higher caliper. There Pumpkin Ale and Jack Rabbit IPA were quite the step up from their regulars.
I will continue to frequent Blue Corn if only to try whatever seasonal they happen to have at the moment.

Photo of Loki
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited Blue Corn thanks to Beerfly and a recommendation by Guslter, definiately worth the trip. Especially if the DIPA is available, talk about fresh hops smell!

Atmosphere: Laid back, yet still lively. Very well lit, super clean, nice view of the rather small brewing area by the bar. The bartender thought they had a 10 barrel system, but they were going to double the size very soon.

Quality: They had twelve taps with at least eight available at that time of their fantastic beer. Didn't look to see what else they had beer wise.

Service: Very friendly, very quickly, very personable and knowledgable. You can't really ask for much more.

Selection: A very wide variety of their beers. They had a Hefe, Saison, Weisebock, Stout, Double IPA, and some others.

Food: Great southwestern style food, with some other choices. I had the Santa Fe Sampler which was fantastic. If you like chilis or spice ask for your food "Christmas" you won't regret it.

Photo of schoolcb
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

What a gem in the middle of the desert! I talked my family, while on vacation, into having dinner at Blue Corn so I could sample their beer. They all made an ugly face when I told them it was a brewpub. Not only was the beer fantastic (they had 9 on-tap) but the food (mexican style) was also a hit, and everyone in my family said they were happy we'd given them a try. I had a sample of every beer they had on-tap at the time, and won't go into details about each of them, however will say that they were all good, and a few of them superb.

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Chama River Brewing Company in Albuquerque, NM
91 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.