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Good Beer Hunting

Feb 26, 2022

The world is full of misconceptions like “Deserts are only barren wastelands,” or “women don’t brew beer,” or even “Native Americans no longer exist on the land that was once wholly theirs.” But after six years in business, Missy Begay and Shyla Sheppard of Bow & Arrow Brewing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are used to defying these kinds of falsehoods and mistaken expectations. As the first and only Native-woman-owned brewery in the United States, Bow & Arrow is a pioneering steward of the land, drawing inspiration from and using ingredients that pay homage to Indigenous traditions, ancestral influence, and the rich cultural abundance of the pair’s Native heritage. Partners in both business and life, Shyla and Missy share a commitment to increasing access to craft beer, as well as increasing visibility of Native culture through each brew. That includes the collaborative initiative called “Native Land,” which aims to acknowledge the contributions and history of Native American people in the United States.

Today, you’ll hear from Missy and Shyla about when they decided to open a brewery, how their local community supported them before and during the pandemic, how Albuquerque’s unique location allows for a diverse mix of locals and travelers, how New Mexico is shaping the craft beer culture at large, and what success means to them as part of this family-run business that they call a labor of love. Of course, we’ll also talk about the beers themselves—how sustainability in water and foraged ingredients shapes their recipes, how seasonality determines which ingredients are used, and how they balance delicate flavors with the wild beauty and bounty the land provides.