By: Romaree Herbert
It is easy to drive back and forth on Texas Avenue in downtown El Paso without noticing anything that really catches one’s attention. There are warehouses, rundown buildings and the occasional office space scattered throughout. But what is extremely surprising and exciting is discovering a local hometown craft brewery operating in the middle of this desolate area. What used to be a yoga studio and a kid’s theater company has been transformed into a family-owned craft brewery!
Craft, Rhythm and Brews, located on 1301 Texas Ave, west of Cotton St, is a hidden treasure that has its home amid the threadbare buildings. The husband-and-wife team of Freddy and Susan Saucedo, along with their son Sonny, run and own this family run brewery.
Susan is the owner of the business and the “Master Taster”, while Freddy serves as the Brewmaster, and is also known as the “Beer Whisperer.” “The difference between the tastes of beers is what you put in, how much you put in and how long you leave it in,” said Freddy.
With help from their son Sonny, the full-time Lead Brewer, this is truly a family labor of love. “We pride ourselves in giving people knowledge of each beer, a tour of beers,” Freddy said.
The Saucedo’s story began when they met in health class at Bel Air High School. They dated and later got married. At age 21 Freddy joined the Coast Guard and served for 12 years. While he was stationed in Virginia and New Orleans, he started exposing his palette to different types of beer, and with some soldier friends, started home brewing as a hobby.
Freddy continued to experiment and research, while home-brewing and crafting his own styles of beer. When the family decided to moved back to El Paso, they designed and built a brewhouse in their garage with one fermenter and one barrel.
“It took me a year of intense research. I wanted to see if I could make the same beer over and over in a glass carboy,” (a plastic or glass vessel used in fermenting beverages), Freddy described. With all this experimentation, the Saucedos have perfected their techniques and are now serving up some of the most notable beers in this area.
Freddy went on to say, “When you want to have an artisanal craft, you can explore something new, fun and crazy… we will even layer on top of things.”
Some of the distinctive beers they have introduced to the Sun City and have on tap are Troublemaker IPA, 1301 Vanilla Porter, Havana Honey Blonde Ale, SheDoBeTart Gose (my favorite), Tabby Road Mango Belgian Blonde Ale, and the Thirsty Lizard Wheat Ale. “We have a beer for everyone, even beer cocktails,” explained Susan.
Most Friday and Saturday evenings, local bands are invited to the brewery, and the information is advertised on their Facebook and Instragram pages.
Craft, Rhythm and Brews is the epitome of local culture…the honey they use in their beer is from Fabens’s Honey Farm, Inc., and the pecans, also used in the brewing, come from JC Farms in Clint, Texas.
The Saucedos are always looking for ways to unite El Paso breweries and El Pasoans. They strive to educate the community about not only drinking beer but, brewing the beer. “We are in competition with our last batch of beer, not our brewery competitors… Community, not competition,” exclaimed Sonny!
Remarkably, the brewery opened during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. They signed the contract in February 2020, and by November 2020 they had opened for business and have been making a name for themselves ever since.