Lava Rock Brewing Company is a small brewhouse with a mission to create amazing food and the best in craft beer. The company’s vision is to create an environment where guests can come to relax and enjoy a locally brewed, cold, freshly crafted beer. A home away from home so that people who live on the west side of town, don’t have to travel across the river for a good craft beer. A place where guests can watch a game, listen to some good music or meet a friend and enjoy our beautiful patio with gorgeous City views.
Lava Rock will help Albuquerque continuing to set the standard in the craft beer industry. Great customer service, friendly staff, an exceptionally clean facility with a relaxing atmosphere is what Lava Rock will provide to all guests and visitors. This can only be obtained with a talented team of highly skilled, experienced, committed, hardworking, loyal and passionate staff who are considered part of the Lava Rock family. With these team members Lava Rock plans on being one of the top brewing companies in the State of New Mexico. Welcome to Lava Rock Brewing Company!
Rachel Vigil (Manager)
Rachel Vigil was born and raised by a single parent for most of her early years in Santa Fe New Mexico. Rachel attended high school at Capital High. Rachel was the first in her family to earn a College degree, in Physical Health Education and Recreation, which she attributes to a mentor who helped her see a new path. Rachel has had an array of career paths, from Personal Fitness Trainer, Insurance Agent, Cosmetologist, Executive Director & owner of Inteli-Care and now Manager/Owner of Lava Rock Brewing Co., LLC.
Rachel’s business experience is well over 20 plus years in an array of fields including her and her husband’s 15-year ownership of a Home Healthcare company. This experience has given Rachel the skillset needed to excel in this new management role with the brewery. Rachel’s goals and aspirations are to utilize her high-level work skills, which include expertise in areas of conflict management, a passion to support and strengthen employee’s personal growth, management and administrative skill sets. With this experience Rachel is determined to create a positive work environment and a successful brewery.
Ram Khalsa (Head Brewer)
Ram Khalsa was born and raised in Española, New Mexico. He is the son of an Italian and Puerto Rican decent. Ram got his first taste of beer visiting his grandparents in Milan. At the very young age of 20 Ram entered the beer industry, where he got his first brewing job at Santa Fe Brewing Company. Ram started off as package staff and moved on to learn cellaring. Ram then moved to Albuquerque, NM to help open Boese Brothers Brewing in the heart of downtown. This was a great opportunity to continue to learn the mastery of brewing.
After working for Boese Brothers Brewing, Ram went to work for La Cumbre Brewing Co. where he continued refining his skills. Ram has paid his dues and has worked his way from the bottom to now becoming Lava Rock’s head brewer. Ram’s attraction to beer came from his love of history. Ram believes the antiquity of beer is part of its magic and appeal, and a life spent learning a craft such as beer is a life well spent. Ram is hopeful he will build a brand name with Lava Rock Brewing Co., LLC and is up for the challenge of starting this new business venture.
Nicholas Wakefield (Kitchen Manager/Chef)
Nicholas has spent his entire career working in the kitchen in fine dining restaurants, cafés and now a Brewery. Nicholas has worked from the east mountains at Greenside Café to fine dining at Marcello’s Chop House where he worked his way up from a base position to the Executive Chef in seven short years. Cooking is what he likes to do.
Nickolas goals are to help grow Lava Rock Brewing Co. by building an exceptional kitchen staff, creating a menu for which customers are fully satisfied and by having the absolute best food in the Brewery industry.
Nicholas strongly believes that if you love what you do, and you put that love into your work, then the results are inevitable. It is these beliefs, for which Nicholas feels inspires others to do the same. Whether it is a backyard barbecue, craw fish boil, bar food or fine dining, they all start with the passion to bring happiness and joy to others by filling their bellies and putting smiles on their faces. These are the type of memorable experiences for which Nicholas continues to master the art of cooking.
Thomas Montoya “TJ” (Sous-Chef)
Lava Rock Brewing Company’s sous chef Thomas Montoya (TJ) was born right here in Albuquerque, NM. He has been in the restaurant industry for over 12 years. TJ’s experience is with some of the most famous and successful restaurants in town such as Pelicans and Bravo Cucina Italiana. TJ is also the owner of G.O.A.T. catering which has been in operation since 2012. TJ passion for cooking begin by first studing culinary arts at Central New Mexico community college under chef Erkut Karatas where he was classically trained in French cuisine.
TJ’s objective is to ensure every plate is served with passion and optimum harmony. The balance of color, texture, and appearance is what he hopes will captivate the Lava Rock guests long before they enjoy their first bite. Most importantly he will fully utilize his culinary, organizational, and leadership skills to ensure the kitchen delivers consistent awe inspiring plates.
Growing up, TJ was lucky enough to have witnessed the love and generosity that both his grandmothers put into their food. TJ believes this is why he puts so much heart into his own cooking. TJ firmly believes that passion and attention to detail are the two characteristics of any great chef.
“Skills are cheap, Passion is Priceless.” -Gary Vaynerchuk
Dominic Garcia (Brewery Assistant/Manager)
Dominic Garcia was raised in the East Mountains here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dominic first got involved in Food and Beverage as a bartender for Albuquerque’s own Garduno’s at the age of 21. Since then Dominic has worked for restaurants such as P.F. Changs and BJ’s Brew house. Dominic has been a corporate trainer for both places opening other restaurants here locally and nationally. After working for BJ’s Dominic developed a love for craft beer. Working for a large brewery such as BJ’s Dominic was able to gain a vast knowledge of craft beer and is excited to bring that knowledge to Lava Rock Brewing Company. Dominic is thrilled to make the leap from having an interest in brewing to working in a professional local brewery. Dominic believes Lava Rock will be able to provide Albuquerque’s Westside with great food and beer in a great atmosphere “where neighbors meet.”
Steven Siciliano (Brewer)
Our own Steven Siciliano who graduated from the University of New Mexico and who played football for UNM is passionate about beer. Steven has been brewing beer for over 6 years and has developed over 200 recipes. Steve has an amazing network and a ton of resources in the brewery industry. Steve enjoys brewing a range of many different styles and types of beer that include ales, lagers, barrel-aged beers, aged brett beers, aged sour beers, kettle-sour beers and blended beers. His focus and passion are to continue to push the boundaries of beer.