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A blockage in Corrales’ sewer line, now cleared, was caused by wastewater from the Ex Novo beer brewing operation across Corrales Road from the fire station. The business owner, Joel Gregory, said the clog was caused by waste hops particulate that apparently settled in the six-inch sewer line along the east side of Corrales Road near Perea’s Restaurant.

He said that seemed strange since the wastewater containing the residue seems to have passed through the two-inch effluent line from the brewery’s septic tank, yet clogged up when it was in the much larger diameter sewer line. The material apparently settled from the wastewater stream a quarter-mile away. Gregory said a strainer already in the effluent discharge line had not proven adequate for the waste hops, so he is now installing a more elaborate —and expensive— remedy. The brewery here is trucking cans of Ex Novo beer about once a month to his outlets in the Pacific Northwest where his business began. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXVII No.10 July 21, 2018 “Ex Novo Brewery: Big Leap for Commercial District?”)

Shortly after he launched his project here, he said his plan was to ship a quarter-million cans of Ex Novo beer from Corrales to outlets as far away as Los Angeles. Gregory grew up in Corrales and moved back about three years ago after starting his brewing career in Portland, Oregon.

On his Ex Novo business card, Gregory identifies himself as “beer baron.” He unveiled his plans during a July 12, 2018 ground-breaking for the brewery on the site of the burned-down Rancho de Corrales restaurant. In phase one, Ex Novo erected a 10,000 square-foot brewery and small tasting room, as well as loading docks and tanks to hold water and beer. At the time, he said a later phase would involve a restaurant and beer garden.

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In an interview for Corrales Comment July 6, 2018, Gregory said the brewery will produce a wide variety of beer styles —and that he expects to continually introduce new products. One of the more popular he’s already bottling in Portland is a prickly pear variety. “We love all styles of beer if they’re done well. We really appreciate the traditional styles, and then we do a lot of fun, kind of experimental stuff. We hope to have a small orchard on site growing peaches, nectarines, plums and other fruits” that might go into the brew.

Some beers would be ready to pour in two to four weeks, while others he intended to produce would require closer to two years. “There’s really no end to the experimentation.” He said he expected to sell draft beer throughout the metro area and Santa Fe. After growing up here, Gregory earned a degree in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo, and then worked for Honeywell in Albuquerque before being laid off in 2012. “That’s when I made the jump,” he explained.

He opened a craft brewery in Portland in 2013, “learning as I went. I fell in love with craft beer out there. That’s when everything was really taking off. “I started brewing at home, and started visiting a lot of breweries to find out what makes them work.” He started his own. It wasn’t long before Ex Novo had outgrown its maximum capacity with the equipment, pub and restaurant. “We did a good amount of beer there, but we’re full up, and looking to grow.”

He and his wife were ready to move back to the Albuquerque area “to be closer to family.” His parents live here and hers live in the Heights. “The pull to move back to Corrales was very strong now that we have a couple of small kids. So the question was: how do we get back to New Mexico.”

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