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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 kingjohnh
3/5  rDev -26.3%

kingjohnh, Jul 21, 2014
Photo of rpsedillo
3/5  rDev -26.3%

rpsedillo, Jul 02, 2014
Photo of ONovoMexicano
3/5  rDev -26.3%

It looks like a chain and feels like a chain. The head brewer left because, and I paraphrase here, he felt Chama River couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a steakhouse, a brewery or a bar. That's a good summary of this place.

There are decent beers here, but they can be hit or miss. The ambiance is an attempt to be classy, but it still feels a bit like an Applebee's. The food is overpriced and the servings small.

Chama River does get some credit for being the training ground for many good brewers in New Mexico, so for that they get a tip of the hat.

ONovoMexicano, Sep 23, 2014
Photo of mphopkins99
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%

Visited here while on business last week. I enjoyed two of the beers, their Sleeping Dog Stout and one of their Ales, the name of which escapes me.

I thought both beers were very good. Unfortunately, this was a business dinner and I did not take specific notes. However, I would definitely go back if in the area again for the beer.

The food was a different story. We shared appetizers (wings, nachos, calamari) and they were good, about what you would expect as typical bar fare.

I had a NY strip steak which was average at best, as was the accompanying side dish. At $30, this seemed like a rip-off to me.

Long story short, I'd be back for the beer in a heartbeat, but I would not eat here.

mphopkins99, May 11, 2009
Photo of chileman13
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%

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.

chileman13, May 26, 2008
Photo of SouthwestBreweries
3.5/5  rDev -14%

SouthwestBreweries, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of bradybeer
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%

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.

bradybeer, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of breadnerd
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%

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.

breadnerd, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of taospowder
3.6/5  rDev -11.5%

taospowder, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of stephens101
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%

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.

stephens101, Mar 21, 2008
Photo of Pidgurtle
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Pidgurtle, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of buckyp
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

buckyp, Jan 16, 2014
Photo of sleazo
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%

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.

sleazo, May 07, 2008
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

A and I escaped from the group here, 3 Feb 2011.

We were on our way back to Taos from Albuquerque, a little late for after lunch drinks, a little early for dinner. The bar was just crowded enough that we asked for a table.

Relatively upscale as brewpubs go. Lots of wood, some metal, some leather. Waiter was fairly attentive, not sure if he really knew much about the beers because we didn't ask him.

We ordered the sampler and a couple of appetizers. A got the chipotle corn soup while I got the red chile. The red chile was quite filling, considering it was just the appetizer. There was also a young lady bringing fresh rolls to the tables.

We wanted to get a logo glass but they only had them available for mug club members ($25/yr), and they had to stay at the brewery. So we didn't get any.

htomsirveaux, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of TXHops
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

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.

TXHops, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of russpowell
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

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

russpowell, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of jim102864
4/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

jim102864, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of kvnklingler
4/5  rDev -1.7%

kvnklingler, Feb 10, 2014
Photo of BcOneSeven
4/5  rDev -1.7%

BcOneSeven, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of timlyon
4/5  rDev -1.7%

timlyon, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of jdense
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%

Stop #2 on ABQ beer tour, 2.11.11.

Located on Albuquerque's north end beside I-25, Chama River Brewing Co. (CRBC) is a bustling beer destination in the Land of Enchantment appealing to an up-scale crowd. The bar features a rectangular 40-seat copper-topped bar, and during busy times it's hard to find a seat. The beer list featured only CRBC products, 6 regulars and 4 seasonals. $4.25 pints except for the specialty/seasonals which went for $5-6. High end pub grub, everything I saw come out of the kitchen looked really tasty. Small 'bar bites' menu featured meatball sliders and duck quesadillas. Service is a bit hit and miss, the first time I had trouble corralling a server, the next visit they were very attentive. Didn't seem like a real beer geek clientele, a lot of families and couples coming in for a meal and a beer. Certainly worth a visit, but to be honest the CRBC Microbar downtown had a much cooler hipster vibe. Worth a try if passing through the area.

jdense, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of Reagan1984
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%

Really nice atmosphere and much more upscale than I expected. Certainly more upscale vs. most brew pubs. I sat at the bar late afternoon and the service was friendly and quick. One of the two bartenders was very knowledgeable about beer and happy to chat about styles, hop selection etc. They were nice enough to write down the hop selection in one of their beers after I asked.

The selection of brews was very nice and the menu looked fantastic. I did not eat, but all the food I saw & smelled looked appetizing. Wednesday afternoon/evening they have a 2.50 draft special which was great.

Good spot and among the better beer spots I've hit in Albuquerque.

Reagan1984, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of ruleof72
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

ruleof72, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of hiikeeba
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

Stopped in on the way to NHC in Oakland. Atmosphere was more upscale than I anticipated, but all the customers were dressed casually. Staff was very friendly. Our waiter was attentive and knew his beer.

Although we showed up with, we were seated quickly. The waiter spent a little extra attention on the kids, offering aIm ice cream dessert if they cleaned their plate. They didn't, but got ice cream anyway. The chicken fried scallops were good. Portion size was good, not a huge plate of food I would never finish.

I don't get this way often, but I will be back

hiikeeba, Jun 14, 2009
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
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Chama River Brewing Company in Albuquerque, NM
91 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.