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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 kvnklingler
4/5  rDev -1.7%

kvnklingler, Feb 10, 2014
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 timlyon
4/5  rDev -1.7%

timlyon, Jun 18, 2014
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 buckyp
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

buckyp, Jan 16, 2014
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 kingjohnh
3/5  rDev -26.3%

kingjohnh, Jul 21, 2014
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 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 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 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 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 BcOneSeven
4/5  rDev -1.7%

BcOneSeven, Aug 03, 2014
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Chama River Brewing Company in Albuquerque, NM
91 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.