Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay, Co-founders of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Last fall my partner and I were vacationing in Albuquerque, NM and had the pleasure of finding our way to the Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. By my second  Wild Sumac, described in the beer menu as an earthy lemonade with a desert sparkle, I knew I was going to have to share the news.

ICYMI: There’s something brewing in Albuquerque.

The craft beer movement is thriving way out west and nowhere more refreshing than at Bow & Arrow. Co-founders Shyla Sheppard and Missy Begay, partners in business and in life, are fostering a beer-lovers community at their Native-owned brewery and taproom in the heart of the American Southwest.

They opened their taproom in the adobe desert city near the pink Sandia Mountains. There, they serve wild, sour, and barrel-aged beers that are brewed onsite. In collaboration with their Head Brewer, Ted O’Hanlan, they strive to integrate local ingredients that are adventurous and unique to the area.

“There is a long history in the Southwest of cultures melding together,” Begay says, when we connected for an interview for Curve magazine. “The indigenous culinary tradition here is very strong.”

“Having a strong connection to the land is based on our upbringing,” Begay continues. She was born in Albuquerque and raised on the Diné Nation. Sheppard grew up on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, where she is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes.

“From a young age, we were taught that the land has its own spirit. And in my tribe, Mother Earth is our mother,” Begay says. “The land provides water, earth, plants—everything you need to brew great beer. We’re conscientious of where our ingredients come from and we take great care in selecting them.”

Curve Magazine, Feb/March, 2018

The full review (rave) about Bow & Arrow is in the February/March digital issue of Curve magazine. Support women-run queer media by subscribing.

In addition to brew magic, “The Land of Enchantment” also features Sheppard and Begay’s motivation for leadership that’s inspired by their belief in The Seventh Generation.

“Speaking out and being visible is really important for future generations so they can freely aspire to do what they want to do whether they are gay or indigenous or whatever.”