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Chama River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chama River Brewing CompanyChama River Brewing Company
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

49 Ratings
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
Active Beers: 27
Beer Ratings: 114
Beer Avg: 3.74
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
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 hophead505
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

hophead505, Nov 05, 2013
Photo of HardTarget
4.68/5  rDev +15%

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!

HardTarget, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of jjayjaye
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

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.

jjayjaye, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of walshclimb
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

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.

walshclimb, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of kdoc8
4.6/5  rDev +13%

"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.

kdoc8, Mar 13, 2007
Photo of schoolcb
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

schoolcb, Jul 06, 2003
Photo of jcurtis55
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%

I'm in New Mexico on business and always like to check out the local breweries and brew pubs. I picked up my wife at the airport and headed over to Chama River for dinner. I had a coupon from Avis for a free 'suprise' and that turned out to be a 5-beer sampler. I tried three seasonals, none of which are listed on BeerAdvocate yet for review. I had the Class VI Lager, the Rio Lodo Brown, and the seasonals were an Extra Stout, Imperisl Red and a Raspberry Heffi. All were very good, but the food itself was exceptional. The nachos were some of the best I've had with actual chunks of roast beef included. I had the oven fried chicken with a honey-pecan glaze and my wife had the prime rib. No desert, but I did pick up a bomber of there High Five Anniversary Barleywine, which can only be purchased at the brewery and one other retail spot. I think I'm going to cellar that one for a while.

I highly recommend Chama River for the beer, the food and the atmosphere.

jcurtis55, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of Loki
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%

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.

Loki, Sep 10, 2004
Photo of mistaya
4.53/5  rDev +11.3%

Great selection of beers. I had the Rye, which was one of the best I've had since Steelhead's in Eugene at the KLCC Brew Fest last February. Also had the Citra Red. Nice Citra hops taste, not as citrusy as at the Fresh Hops Fest in Eugene. Refills on growlers very reasonable. Less expensive than Oregon and a bit more than Montana. Take a growler when you go. Food also good. Altogether a great experience. Waiter, Eric, exceptionally informed about beers and beer culture. The deserts are to die for. Pinon pine nuts where great with the Citra.

mistaya, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of weknowmatt
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

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.

weknowmatt, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of tcbl1007
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

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).

tcbl1007, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%

Our first stop in New Mexico and boy was it a great one. After a 6 hour drive from Phoenix we were hungry and thirsty. Flipped a coin between here and Marble, knowing La Cumbre had, at best, just a food truck, but we could hit it for a nightcap.

A very nice place indeed. A long bar with plenty of seating on the left. We sat in a very nice high walled booth in the dining room. Eight beers on tap, ranging from respectable to excellent. Standouts were the brown ale (rarely my thing), the amber and, most of all the Jackalope IPA. The second best IPA I had in NM, but only because they share the state with La Cumbre.

Food was outstanding, two or even three cuts above bar food. Steak, fish, chicken, all perfectly prepared and served. We particularly enjoyed the regular visits by the bread man.

Service was friendly and quick. A great stop, and a big surprise.

HV

sholland119, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of orsulacp
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

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.

orsulacp, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%

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.

Wolfsdenbrew, Dec 05, 2004
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%

$1-2 sample 4oz glasses. Or $5 flights of five 4oz glasses. Free tastes. They sell growlers and fills for around $15-20, depending on the beer I suppose.

They had 10 beers on tap when I went, so you can try every beer with two flights, so about $10, unless you buy the samples separately like I did. Wonder why the bartender didn't consolidate it since I specifically said I wanted a flight, just one beer at a time so the head on the beers wouldn't die before I got to them. Oh well, easy error and only a few bucks difference. I say it's worth it just to support craft beer.

They will cut you off after a certain number of beers, which is responsible and more places should do this. The menu tells you which beers (higher ABV, like 7%+) count as "two beers" towards your cut-off limit.

I believe they'll let you have a bit more to drink if you're eating there also. I didn't try the food because it was a bit pricey, but the waitress offered me some free bread and butter in a tray. Sourdough and a couple other fancy varieties. Helped cleanse the palate.

I like how the bartender immediately placed water glasses infront of us as soon as we sat down, without us having to ask. This should also be standard practice at bars. Not only does it help out the liver and quench thirst, but it's pretty much required to rinse the mouth between beers.

The place was pretty clean and well decorated. Dozens of Great American and international beer festival plaques/medals decorated the wall by the entrance. I don't think any of the gold medal winners of the past were currently on tap when I went.

The staff is all very attractive - it must be a prerequisite for hire there. It's nice to have people who are easy on the eyes when sitting at the bar.

Good recommendations. One bartendress was very sweet and offered a little banter. Recommended the Brown Ale as it was her favorite and asked if I could tell her what I thought of it. Turned out to be a good pick, one of the best in the lot.

Most of the beers are all pretty decent. The only one I didn't enjoy was the pale ale. 9 out of 10 beers being good is a pretty good putting average.

I highly recommend checking the place out.

ZenAgnostic, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of LittleDon
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%

An upscale brewpub with exceptional food. Located in the typical modern big-box retail type space just off I-25 (e.g., there's a Texas Land & Cattle next door and a large movie theater in the same complex). It has a corporate concept feel, think BJ's but better done, so don't expect any unique funkiness. The atmosphere is comfortable, even if a bit predictable. Not too loud, which is a plus these days. It was full on a Wednesday night (short wait for a table). The food was inventive and well prepared. I had the fries with truffle oil, blue cheese, and bacon (needed more blue cheese and less truffle oil) and a green chile chicken pot pie (nice balance of shell to filling). Price were reasonable for what you got, but maybe a bit pricey for a brewpub in Albuquerque. The entrees ran from about 17 to 35. The beer was very good. Service was good, despite having to ask for bread and water. I'd return if I was up for a good meal and good beer, but might look elsewhere if I was only interested in good beer.

LittleDon, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%

Probably my favorite place to get a brewpub beer in ABQ. Food is good, but a bit pricey...usually Americanized New Mexican cuisine...AKA they will please a green chile craving but dont expect enchiladas or tacos. Upscale decor and atmosphere, but pretty comfortable sitting at the large rectangular bar in a t-shirt and shorts on a weeknight. Beer can range from average to excellent, especially their one-offs. Bartenders are pretty friendly and are generally a little knowledgeable, not enough to please most hard core beer geeks though. Highly recommended if you find yourself staying a night in Albuquerque.

twiggamortis420, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of naweir
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

naweir, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

This place is dog friendly on their patio, which is a huge plus in my household! Our server was very friendly to us and our pooch, and quickly brought out some water for the dog to drink. We were there for lunch on a weekday, and the food was decent. Prices were extremely reasonable, and we were able to order a plain chicken breast for the dog to eat. Beer was very good, and they had a good range of styles. Their sampler is of all their offerings, including seasonal/special brews, and their growler fills were very affordable ($9 for reg, $14 for seasonal/special). Also, they fill outside growlers, which was fantastic! Seems like they had a lot of events planned, and the inside was very open and welcoming. Good sized horseshoe bar with plenty of seating. You are able to view the brew area through big windows...not sure about tours because we didn't ask.

GarthDanielson, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of M_chav
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

M_chav, Sep 25, 2014
Photo of Ashford
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Ashford, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of Painmob
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Painmob, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of BretSikkink
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

Located off a frontage road - very eastern Southwest - in a large building among several other large buildings. Everything appears quite new, and is in excellent condition (clean).

Business casual was the order of the day, and the average client was on the older-and-established side. Prices reflected the new building and yuppy patrons. The menu is small, but with two excellent and unusual vegetarian dishes, quite good. Expensive, but worth it in my estimation. The wait staff walks around with a basket of muffins and breads, and everything was uniformly delicious.

The beer menu was about 8 strong, although the Foreign Export Stout touted on the chalkboard menu was already blown. There were about five standard styles, with two experimental beers on rotation - I like to see that. I enjoyed the best-selling Jackalope IPA, and then an after-dinner stout, and both were of sufficient quality as to recommend the place for dinner and drinks.

Within the ranks of the brewpub, I give Chama River points for not being a national chain and for having an excellent and focused menu. Their beers are well-brewed, if slightly unremarkable, and they are far from running on auto-pilot, with a variety of experiments and seasonals. It might look like a BJ's and smell like Gordon Biersch, but Chama River is definitely a cut above. Highly recommended in the ABQ area.

BretSikkink, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of tonyfugere
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

I try to go to Chama River at least once per season to enjoy their seasonal brews as well as their everyday brews. The beer is very good. Their food is also delicious, but a bit pricey for Albuquerque. Unfortunately, their service is hit or miss. Mostly it is good, but there is the occasional bad server. The atmosphere is eclectic for a brewpub. I usually prefer the hole-in-the-wall style pubs, but it is nice to take the lady out to a "fancier" joint for some good food and beer. I have not had a bad glass of any of their beer. If you visit from out of town, this is a sure stop along the way. Beware of the frontage roads on I-25. They tend to confuse people at first.

tonyfugere, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of cggarcia
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%

Great beer! The brewpub is a nice new building with that nondescript cookie cutter feel of the mass produced yuppie infill. However, the beer produced is superior well-crafted by someone who loves brewing. I've tried all the styles and they are fine examples of each. When I'm in the area I always pick-up a few growlers to enjoy at home. The restraunt serves good food and service is average. Prices are a little high, but is normal for what brew-pubs seem to think is expected these days. The beer, however, is worth the price.

cggarcia, May 27, 2008
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Chama River Brewing Company in Albuquerque, NM
91 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.