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Open Space

Beer, trails, people and Bobber’s schlobbers


Alexa Tubbs and Matt Leef met while hiking the Continental Divide Trail in 2019. Then, within 24 hours, they bonded over bright green cans of brown ale featuring a Moose on the can – Moose Drool beer.

And there it was, the dreams came together and the focus began. Their venture turned into the Open Space Brewery, a place on the edge of a trail system where both their passions meet.

Officially starting with a soft opening on Oct. 28, 2023, the brewery welcomes camaraderie, music lovers, beer aficionados and dogs.

“It’s overwhelming in the best way,” Alexa said. “It’s a privilege to finally be focusing on what we are excited about – beer, trails and getting to meet people around here. It’s exhausting but it’s so rewarding and it’s so like a life fulfilled. I get to talk about trails and Matt gets to talk about beer.”

After signing the lease in January 2023 and jumping through licensing hoops for almost a year, the business has been brewing for more than a year now.

“For most of year we did pilot batches,” Alexa said. “When the license came through in July, I quit my job. Matt was still working part time but then we said we have to put our all into this.”

After that it was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get to the Halloween themed opening. Now, Alexa said, the brewery can have their annual anniversary party on Halloween every year.

“So now its like the funnest thing ever,” she said. “We dressed as characters from pulp fiction, so maybe we are doing John Travolta themes forever.

For Matt, the brewing bug started in 2010, when he got a basic home brew kit as a gift from his parents.

“The words my dad told me were ‘okay here is a hobby, don’t make it anything more than a hobby,’” Matt said. “And of course, I was very good at listening to my father, so I turned it into a whole career.”

Matt fell deeper and deeper into the beer brewing hobby, becoming involved in the San Deago brew club, the Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity, (QUAFF). Now, at Open Space, he is working toward building a local beer club.

Matt’s love for the beer brewing business comes down to science involved.

“It comes down to all the different components that go into making beer,” he said. “You are not just a chemist; you are not just a biologist. You are a physicist, you are a biochemist, you are an artist. It’s a balancing act.”

Matt’s voice gets faster and faster, his eyes glow, his arms wave about …

“For me it was always about the mash – how many amazing enzymes there are in the grain already and when you add the hot water and all of those enzymes release and act upon all of the carbohydrates that are in the mix. All the chemistry in the mash and all the biochemistry is absolutely fascinating and then down the line when you have a beer, you are counting on a good saccharomyces, that’s the type of yeast that I use and we all (brewers) use.”

But then again, a brewer also must be an engineer and a plumber to plan, organize and figure out how the equipment will fit together.

“You have to know all the trades to be able to be a brewer,” Matt said. “There is just so much that goes into making beer and so much understanding of the way the world works.”

Matt’s enthusiasm and love of the craft has rubbed off on Alexa in a big way. She said she is excited about starting a craft beer club. Participants wouldn’t have to be brewers, anyone who is interested in learning about beer craft would be welcome.

“He always taught me how craft beer is made and he’s such a great teacher,” she said.  “He teaches you a greater appreciation for the product that you are drinking.”

One of the things Alexa has learned is a dep appreciation of how things work in the beer world. For example, she describes the scent of the hops, “I get a log of like green pine and citrus and floral.”

“But that’s half the fun of craft beer,” she said. “No one wrong. It’s a beautiful experience. It’s like talking about art. The experience is your own and what you bring to the table is your own.”

Alexa can talk about the beers on the Open Space menu in detail and with enthusiasm. The La Chancla Porter for example was brewed in collaboration with folks putting on the Tamal Fiesta. NM-15 Hazy IPA is the house flagship which will “slightly evolve” with every batch and is named after one of their favorite scenic highways. The Waterworks is made with fresh local hops from the Waterworks Restoration Site in Silver City. Garden Day is brewed with local Clary Sage, a light floral ale.

Also on the menu are some non-alcoholic choices Matt and Alexa have created, Pomegranate Bubbles seltzer and The Lonely Boot root beer.

And of course, at the end of the bar counter is a jar of homemade dog treats, created from spent grain. Bobber’s Schlobbers, named after their dog, Bobby, and a combo of slobber and the German schlabbern, which is “to slurp.”

In keeping with the outdoorsy theme of Open Space, are soutdoorsy activities, including live music.

“Each of those things brings people together,” Matt said. “Trails and the outdoors and beer bring people together. This is a common space to enjoy a chit chat and just to sit and talk. There is a very intentional reason we don’t have a tv in this space, we don’t want people to be distracted by a tv and we want them to have conversations with their neighbors.