ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
A galvanizing intergalactic experience, Urban Square’s ALIEN BREW PUB succeeds at being a “low key tavern” with its snickering moniker parodying New Mexico’s secret underground alien base. There’s a diamond-shined flying saucer (shown above) crashing above the resin-topped U-shape bar and a beer-drinkin’ green alien on the left wall welcoming those daring enough to step inside this cosmic Albuquerque-based clubhouse.
Inside a well-kept freestanding corner building with a flat brown stone base and rust aluminum awning, Alien’s extraterrestrial interior features a skylight Cathedral ceiling, ample seating, rear brew tanks, stucco-walled tap handles and 3 TV’s. A cement-floored side deck with black metal furnishings offers outdoor splendor.
Veteran brewer Rich Weber’s relaxing craft brews get complemented by delectable pub fare such, though the daringly heated bacon-wrapped jalapenos with cheddar cheese should be gobbled separately ’cause its a tempestuously terrific tongue burner.
Open December 2015 (in conjunction with Weber’s long-time Moriarty-based Rio Grande and Sierra Blanca breweries), I initially visited Alien for a Sunday April ’16 noon swoon.
Attentive bartender, Rachel, made damn sure my friend Dennis and I tried all 15 diverse house brews while mellowing out at a few centralized bar seats.
Perhaps Alien’s most approachable brew, Crop Circle Wheat contrasted sharp curacao orange bittering against coriander-spiced navel orange tang above the light white wheat base.
Crisply clean Rio Grande Pilsner brought mild Noble hop bittering to German pilsner malt sugaring as well as brisk celery, fennel and radish vegetalia. Refreshingly smooth Galaxy Lager (a.k.a. Outlaw Lager) coalesced caramelized pale malts with light citric hop dryness.
Sun Chaser Pale Ale (a Sierra Blanca spinoff) delegated caramelized Munich malts to sweeten zesty grapefruit and orange sunniness atop oats-dried cereal grains.
A few other Sierra Blanca-related brews included Alien Amber (the most popular beverage), a barley-roasted moderation with lemony orange fruiting, and the second best seller, Bone Chiller Nut Brown, an English ale yeast-infested medium body with polite grain-roasted coffee and dark chocolate tones.
Two simple, likable India Pale Ales were next. Voluptuous Rio Grande IPA brought bright grapefruit, orange, pineapple and peach tropicalia to syrupy honeyed malts and relegated herbal hop notions. Dryer Area 51 IPA polished its yellow grapefruit tang with soft piney hop lacquer and currant-glazed peach and apricot illusions.
Cascadian Dark Ale, Black Hole IPA, allowed cocoa-powdered dark chocolate bittering to consume copious dried fruiting over its piney hop char.
Pleasant Cranberry Sour may have seemed out-of-step here as the lone sour ale, but its tart lemon-limed cranberry pucker, musky crabapple subtlety and lactic acidulated malting sufficed.
Mild pilsner-infused Poncho Verde Green Chili greeted the tongue with roasted chili peppering atop olive bread crust.
Sweet raisin and fig fronted molasses-sugared Alien Dubbel Belgian while banana bubblegum inundated rum-spiced, white-peppered Alien Triple Belgian.
For dessert, two divergent dark ales hit the spot. First up, stylishly easygoing Imperial Stout leaned on light-roasted coffee overtones to upend nutty chocolate sweetness. Meanwhile, creamy Milky Way Stout recalled the iconic candy bar by serenading its caramelized chocolate nougat center with vanilla, toffee and dark cherry nuances.
A charming alien-themed pub, this cosmic joint generates a varied crowd of sports fans, businessmen, lighter beer aspirants and lucky New Mexico vacationers.