An interview with Jess Griego, chief experience officer and
certified Cicerone®; Gabe Jensen, chief executive officer; and
John Bullard, Bosque North brewmaster and chief production officer

Local Hero: Best Brewery

Photos by Stephanie Cameron

Bosque North Brewery and Taproom in Bernalillo.

Bosque Brewing Company is an inclusive local business that aspires to improve their community by creating world-class beer, food, and experiences in their five locations throughout New Mexico for both their coworkers and their customers.

Tell us a bit about the hops Bosque uses. Where are they sourced? Are all hops created equal?

Bullard: Bosque uses hops from around the world, though the majority of our hops come from the Pacific Northwest. Every hop imparts its very own character to beer. Some are only used for their bitterness contribution, while others are highly prized for specific aroma qualities. It really comes down to the brewer’s preference when selecting the right hops for the right beer.

How is your beer connected to the local area?

Griego: Quite literally, outside of our own taprooms, you can find our products in hundreds of restaurants and retail stores throughout the state, as well as in southern Colorado, which is bringing revenue back into New Mexico. This revenue is reinvested into our business to create more jobs and manufacturing facilities, and also plays a part in making New Mexico a craft beer tourism destination.

In such a prolific beer brewing community, what is something unique about Bosque Brewing Co.?

Griego: This is always an interesting question to answer . . . we are all so unique in our individual ways in this industry, and also have many similarities. One thing I can say for certain about Bosque is that our focus is less on what sets us apart from our competition, and is rather a constant internal look at ourselves to assess how we can be even better today than we were yesterday.
Do you have a favorite craft beer or is there one that made you fall in love with brewing?
Bullard: I took a trip to Northern California in my early twenties and discovered two beers that changed my life. Pliny the Elder from Russian River and Old Rasputin from North Coast both interested me so much that I started homebrewing. My career as a professional brewer started shortly after.

Left to right: Gabe Jensen, chief executive officer; Jotham Michnovicz, chief development officer; and John Bullard, chief production officer. Not pictured, Jess Griego, chief experience officer and certified Cicerone®.

To what do you attribute Bosque’s success?

Jensen: I believe the biggest single factor is making sure we surround ourselves with talented people. It started with both the brewery and taproom management. Early on it was obvious that Jess was better at running a taproom day-to-day than I was, and giving her freedom to do that was a key step in our growth. It was quickly obvious that I wasn’t all that great a brewer, and bringing on John to take that on and push us to a new level of quality was very key. Now, we are always trying to find people that can take a job and run with it. That has found its way into all aspects of our evergrowing and evolving business.

How does Bosque Brewing give back to the community?

Jensen: What a tough thing to do well! We are always wanting to impact the community in a positive way, hoping that if we were ever gone, the neighborhoods we’re in, the state we love, would genuinely miss us. We strive to foster long lasting relationships with community partners that are already doing great things and hope that we can help strengthen or continue what they are already doing rather than try to do something new or on our own.

What’s next?

Jensen: Right now we have a focus on additional taprooms and replacing our specialty brewery. The wholesale space is tough right now and growth is slow for craft beer. Once we open our five additional taprooms over the next twelve months, we will assess where we are, where the market is, and how we feel we fit into the space. A lot has changed over the last seven years since we opened, and we don’t want to force anything that may have once been a goal but doesn’t make sense anymore.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with edible readers?

Griego: Thank you, edible readers, for the honor of naming us your Local Hero! We look forward to continuing to grow our community together and to enjoy some world-class beers with you along the way. Cheers!

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Edible celebrates New Mexico's food culture, season by season. We believe that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing. With our high-quality, aesthetically pleasing and informative publication, we inspire readers to support and celebrate the growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals in our community.