Visitors to the Old Town now have another family-friendly place to rest and drink a beer.
Downshift Brewing Company Outpost 1706 had its soft opening during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and spirits began to flow steadily in early December. The bar is located upstairs in Plaza Don Luis at 301 Romero Street NW.
The name pays homage to the founding year of Old Town and the fact that the new venture is a change of career and pace for the owners and head brewer.
The owners are former New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas and his nephew Cody Huffmon. Kassetas said none of them had any experience or desire to become expert brewers. Instead, they hired Eddie Gutierrez, someone with a lot of experience and well known in the brewing world. Gutierrez has been a brewer at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston for eight years, the last four as head brewer. He graduated from New Mexico State University with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Kassetas said they hope to launch some of their beers by March. Until then, customers can still sample local craft beer with guest taps from Marble, Steel Bender, La Cumbre and Ex Novo breweries.
They also serve cocktails, including Bloody Marys and a New Mexico-style margarita made with jalapeños or green chili, using alcohol from local distilleries.
Kassetas said they obviously wanted to welcome tourists because of its location, but they also wanted Outpost 1706 to become a place for locals.
“It’s such a great area,” he said. “You have tourists. You have people who live in the old town. The people who work here. We want to make it a place of destination.
Kassetas said when designing the place, they wanted something authentic to New Mexico but not too touristy. Artist Izzie Arév has painted a black and white mural on one wall that features images of tumbleweeds, a rattlesnake, roadrunner, pueblo, chile ristra and other images one would associate with the New -Mexico.
Kassetas said the bar top is made from an alligator juniper from the Gila National Forest. The old pews of a church in Cuba provide intimate seating areas where visitors can admire the square through large windows.
Chairs and tables are set up on the patio that surrounds the dining room, offering views of the historic Old Town Square and the Catholic Church of San Felipe de Neri. In fact, the church is so close, Kassetas said they had to ask the church for an exemption to open their doors.
There is no kitchen, but guests can bring food or have it delivered.
The brasserie is open Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Mondays.