Tuesday, April 5, 2011

IVB Canteen Officially Opens

I dropped into the new Il Vicino Brewery, or as per the official name "IVB Canteen" Monday evening. The Canteen, located at 2381 Aztec, opened quietly, but it won't be long before Albuquerque's beer loving population makes the brewery another destination along with our other great breweries.
There were no marching bands or ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the new brewery, just a no-frills "here we are" opening. I spoke with David, the manager, and Darcy, the general manager, and learned that the new brewery spot will focus on being more of a brewpub with traditional table service, offering gourmet-ish panini sandwiches with ingredients like organic prosciutto, pork loin, mortadella, and arugula. I was lost at "organic", but I'm sure they will be a hit with customers. The makeshift kitchen behind the bar hosts a Berkel meat slicer that looks as if it could double as a James Bond torturing tool. The Canteen has a slew of young servers who David assured me will be just as well informed on the beer selections as they are on the food. We'll see, as the Ipod touch ordering systems each server carries would take me a year to learn without having to memorize beer specs too. Then again, I'm getting to that "Can't set the VCR clock" age technologically. No wonder they hired such young people to serve.

The staff doesn't have too much in the beer department to memorize yet. In trying to meet the demand of the three Il Vicino restaurants around town, the Canteen has only the four staple beers on tap right now: Pigtail Pils, Il Vicino Amber. Slow Down Brown, and Wet Mountain IPA. I was told it will probably be nearly two months before we can see any of Brady's Brewer's Specials on tap.In the meantime, patrons can get their fill in a 10 oz. ($2.75), 16 oz. ($4.00) or 22 oz. glass ($4.75). The Mug Club will be up and running soon, though details are still being finalized. Growlers ($15.00 new, $8.00 refilled) are available, though they will only fill Il Vicino branded glass.

The Canteen plans to be opened from 2-10 Sun-Thurs and 2-12 Fri-Sat, though they may expand the hours to be opened at noon once they get the kitchen running smoothly enough to attract the lunch crowd. Patrons can enjoy an outside seating area, though the views of the surrounding industrial area buildings aren't spectacular. I'll stay inside, counting the days till Brady gets us some Elsa's Hop Elixir and Odin's Imperial Red.


Reid Rivenburgh said...

"...though they will only fill Il Vicino branded glass."

WTF! How serious is that, I wonder? I already have about five growlers from various places, and no one has ever given me grief about the logo. My favorite is a non-branded big boy with the stopper and metal handle. Pretty silly.

Other than that, looks like a nice place. So many options....

ABQbeergeek said...

Yeah, that's how it was at the old Il Vicino tap room. Not quite sure of the reasoning, as I was told back when it started that the law was unclear to them and they wanted to stay on the right side of it, but no other brewery in town seems worried and will fill whatever. I'm skeptical.

Anonymous said...

We will fill what you have, not just our own... although we have a sweet new growler you may want to check out.

Reid Rivenburgh said...

It seems like this topic has come up here before, now that you mention it. Must be a pet peeve of mine.

Glad to hear this isn't really the policy. I think there's still some room in the trunk (car, not me), so I'll definitely check out your new growler!