Bombs Away Beer Company, 9801 Acoma Road SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87123


For me, one of the most pleasing recent developments in the craft beer movement is the addition of lagers to the beer lists of many breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms. Not the pale, bland North American lagers produced by the mega brewers, most of whom are owned by international corporations — but European lagers that have long been either absent or hard to find. There are many kinds of pilsners (Czech, German, Italian and even Australian and more), helles, Dortmunder export, Vienna lagers, Dunkels, bocks, Oktoberfests, and more.

Whenever I enjoy lunch at a brewpub, I always order one of the lagers on tap. They are usually fairly light-bodied, not much above 5 percent alcohol by volume, and a really good complement to a sandwich, salad, or soup.

This week, my beer drinking friend and I enjoyed lunch and lagers at Albuquerque’s Bombs Away Beer Company, which had been founded by John Degnaro in 2016, after he’d retired from the United States Airforce, where he’d served as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician.

The military theme of the brewpub first becomes noticeable as you drive up to the building. The name of the brewery displayed on the wall is in the stencil style that was sprayed onto wooden boxes used by the military. Beside the outdoor patio is parked a military vehicle and trailer. Inside, a bomb hangs above the bar and flags from the divisions of the United States Armed Services hang from the ceiling. There is a small sign near the bar inviting patrons to pay it forward and buy a beer for a veteran.

The military motif carries over to the names of the beers: S.A.F., Mk2, Actuator, Condition Red, All Clear!, and others.

We ordered paninis from the small menu and two of the four lagers on tap and while we waited for our lunch, chatted with Tyler David, the lead brewer. He’d first discovered craft beer when he went with friends to Albuquerque’s LaCumbre Brewing Taproom. But when he began working at Bombs Away, first at the front of the house and then in the brewhouse, he discovered the wonder of lagers.

He noted that lagers had become popular because they represented an alternative to the strongly hopped, often higher-alcohol IPAs and the fuller-bodied dark ales. Younger people are discovering that they enjoy beers that are smooth, clear, and crisp. That was certainly true of the lager I’d chosen: Proximity Pilsner. “The name suggests something close and accessible. The perle hops give a good pilsner flavor when they interact with New Mexico’s water.” I also tried a taster glass of Ten Seconds to Helles,” named after a 1950s movie about a bomb demolition squad. The malts contributed bready notes. Although it was sweeter (but not too much so) than the Pilsner, it had a clean, crisp, dry finish. The Ariana hops added fruity, floral notes.

My buddy had chosen High Speed, Low Drag Lager, an amber colored Vienna style lager, with caramel notes. It was a smooth, easy drinking beer, with caramel notes, with a gentle hop zing contributed by the Saaz and Chinook Hops. We finished our tasting with Condition Red Lager. The name suggests alarm, but the beer itself was quite gentle, malt forward with caramel and toffee flavors.

These were beers to return to — smooth and flavorful, light bodied, and with a gentle hop zing. We ordered some crowlers (lagers, of course) to take home, thanked Tyler and Christy, the hostess, and assured them that we’d be back again.

We will.

NB: Many of the beers are listed as GR; gluten reduced with the addition of clarex

NB: The taproom is completely wheelchair accessible.