Tuesday 15th May 2012
If you want to visit a piece of true Americana it is essential to visit Kelly's when in Albuquerque. The iconic building on Central Avenue was built in 1939 in the Streamline style (an Art Deco variation). It was the showroom and service station of the Jones Motor Company. At that time Nob Hill was on the eastern edge of the city and for motorists arriving from the east on Route 66, this was one of the first buildings seen.
The motor company moved to another location in 1957 and thereafter the structure was put to various uses. It was placed on the National Historic Buildings Register in 1993 and was purchased in 1999 to become Kelly's Brewery and BYOB.
The initials BYOB spell out to be "brew your own beer" as it is possible to make a beer here at a reasonable price. This is done in batches of 13 gallons (US, of course) so I assume that is the capacity for a single brew of the beers sold over the bar counter.
As can be seen from the photographs it is a very colourful pub. There are two very large rooms. One is the bar room and is more or less a normal sports bar with the ubiquitous televisions. There are also two dart boards and I'm sure there are more distractions.
The other area is more like a conventional restaurant. In addition to all this there is a massive outside shaded terrace.
I found it impossible to quantify the actual number of draught beers sold here but it is an enormous amount. I have listed the 20 house-brewed beers below but there were many, many more. In fact there was a board promoting the 13 new beers they'd put on recently!
The regular range was: Blonde Ale (4.0%), Apricot Ale (4.5%), Golden Ale (5.0%), Belgian Pale Ale (5.0%), British Pale Ale (4.5%), Weizen (5.0%), India Pale Ale (6.3%), Amber Ale (4.5%), Extra Special Bitter (4.5%), Red Ale (4.5%), Altbier (4.5%), Brown Ale (5.0%), Scottish Ale (7.0%), Dunkelweizen (5.6%), Belgian Dubbel (4.5%), Brewnette (Ale) (4.5%), Robust Porter (6.3%), Oatmeal Stout (6.3%) and Imperial Stout (7.2%) and there was one special, Belgian Trippel (abv unknown). Note that there are no lager beers amongst these.
They do no not do sampler sets but I was able to get beers in half US pint glasses (8 oz). I tried British Pale Ale, which was reasonable. India Pale Ale was the pick of the bunch. It was hoppy without going over the top. Finally Extra Special bitter had an unusual taste, but was perfectly drinkable.
I thought all of these beers were on the thin side, more body required. With a choice of twenty, just three cannot be regarded as representative and even then, there was nothing greatly wrong with those I had.
The pub is five blocks from the main campus of the University of New Mexico so I guess this is where a lot of the trade comes from. It offers a full food service.
As this pub is on Route 66 and I was about to embark on a five day journey to Los Angeles, I regard this moment as this beginning of my Route 66 segment. The song was written in 1946 by Bobby Troup. I visit several towns referenced in the lyrics and surprisingly Albuquerque is not one of them.
However British group Prefab Sprout come to the rescue with the "The King of Rock 'N' Roll" about the decline of a once famous rock star. It was released as a single in 1988 and is from their third album. It reached number 7 in the UK charts. The rather mesmeric chorus line is "Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque!" And no, I can't explain.
However, there was one major difference as my trip was by train along the route and not by road. I also made one side trip and one diversion.
Kelly's Brewery and BYOB, 3222 Central Avenue SE
Open: Monday to Sunday 08.00-23.00
There's a bus stop close to the pub on Central Avenue, used by the 66 route.
Two blocks east is a stop for the 766 and 777 Rapid Ride Express lines.
These routes have their own stops. All go to and from Downtown.