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New Kaktus Brewery

New Kaktus Brewery tucked away in Bernalillo Photo credit: Ty Belknap

Nano-brewery now open in Bernalillo

—Evan A. Belknap

Long overdue, a craft brewery has been opened in Bernalillo, minutes from the Rail Runner and Highway 525. Kaktus Brewery, though “softly open” already, will be having its Grand Opening event on October 2, with live music, food, and fresh beer.

The name of the brewery, Kaktus, is the German spelling of the word, alluding to the German-made stainless steel fermenters used to make the beer. Co-owner Dana Koller says that these flat-bottomed fermenters allow more time for the beer to incorporate all the flavors of the ingredients and are great for creating unique, lighter, German-style ales. He calls it a nano brewery—smaller than micro.

This neighborhood brewery uses all natural and organic ingredients in their beer, is run as-much-as-possible on solar energy, and hopes to recycle all their waste at the Placitas Recycling Center. It is their eventual goal to be a ninety percent, waste-free business.

Kaktus will have a small menu featuring brats and a homemade Frito pie, but never plans to be a food-first establishment. The main idea is to have a brewery where people can leisurely gather and relax away the afternoons and evenings. Owner Dana says, “We want it to be like your friend’s backyard.” As such, families are welcome. There are chalkboards for kids to draw on, dart boards, wifi, and a funky patio with many tables.

On tap at the moment is a Helles, a pale ale, a London Porter, and an ESB. There is an IPA in the works the back.

Kaktus is located at 471 S. Hill Road, in a fairly unlikely part of town, off US 550 to the south. Kaktus is working on getting more signage. If you’re driving on the road and get to the KOA campground, you’ve gone too far.

9,000 NM homes to gain broadband

—Jennifer Talhelm

On September 9, U.S. Senator Tom Udall applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) allocation of $5.18 million dollars from the Connect America Fund (CAF) to expand and improve broadband service to nearly nine thousand New Mexico households. This announcement follows Udall’s efforts to urge the FCC to free up unused funds that would help close the digital divide between urban areas that have access to high-speed Internet and rural areas that do not.

“Reliable high-speed Internet is critical to leveling the playing field between rural and urban communities,” said Udall. “Broadband access carries with it new opportunities for small businesses, education, and telehealth medicine, but today’s challenge is expanding it to the areas that are hardest to reach—areas that are also hurting the most economically. I worked with the FCC and broadband providers to put these existing funds to use, and I am glad to see our effort pay off here in New Mexico.”

In June, the FCC announced the policy change that would unlock the remaining funds and announced last month that broadband providers would receive $5.18 million dollars from CAF and equally match the funds to expand broadband service to 8,782 unserved and underserved New Mexico households—reaching approximately 22,800 people.

The Connect America Fund was created by the FCC to accelerate broadband to the millions of Americans living in rural areas who currently have no access to robust broadband infrastructure. This second round of funding from Phase I of CAF marks the continuation of the most significant public-private effort in history to ensure that every American home and business has access to broadband by the end of the decade. The push will spur economic growth and boost the nation’s global competitiveness.
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