Destination Drinking: New Mexico

Written by on October 20, 2015 in Beer, Destination Drinking - No comments

Thanks to, the Beer Advocate mobile app, and recommendations from fellow beer buds in the Columbus Craft Beer Consortium Facebook group, I headed to New Mexico armed with research on the area beer scene. With a sweet list of breweries throughout the North Central part of the state in hand, I began my trip — accompanied by three non-beer drinkers. Hitting a bunch of breweries was going to be a challenge.

Marble Brewing – Albuquerque

My first stop was Marble Brewing which came highly recommended, and was the 2014 GABF Small Brewery of the Year. I managed to sneak off by myself while my travel companions were unwinding from our flight from Columbus. The patio was jam packed, so I went inside and managed to snag a seat at the bar. They offer their beers in a number of sizes, and I went with 10 oz glasses of their IPA (6.8%) and DIPA (8.0%). I found the IPA to be a tad too bitter, but the DIPA was good and much more balanced. Nice patio, big crowds, good vibe, good beer, and some seriously cool bike racks mounted on the outside wall of the brewery.

marble brewry

Santa Fe Brewing – Santa Fe

We drove the renowned Turquoise Trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe with me behind the wheel. Just a few miles short of Santa Fe, I unexpectedly spotted a brewery on the left, and with a hard turn, we slid into the dirt parking lot. The taproom was small, with only a few tables and about a half dozen seats at the bar. Fortunately, they also had wine available, so my wife and friends were not entirely SOL while I sampled a few beers. I went with a flight that included Hefeweizen, Pale Ale, IPA, and finished with a Barley Wine. The Chicken Killer Barley Wine was the winner with great balance at a 10.0% ABV. I liked it so much, I bought the t-shirt!

Santa Fe Brewing

Second Street Brewing – Santa Fe

We had an excellent lunch at a very authentic Mexican restaurant named Tomasita’s in the Railyard district of town. While the others perused the dessert menu, I sneaked out of the restaurant for my own version of dessert at the Second Street Brewing taproom just down the street. Time was short, so I settled for a small flight of their three IPAs. The first was a British style IPA at 6.5% ABV that was pleasant but less aggressively hoppy than I prefer. Moving up to their Fulcrum IPA at 7.2% was a step in the right direction and was thoroughly enjoyable. I then hit the jackpot with their Trebuchet Imperial IPA (9.5% ABV and 82 IBU’s). This was a big beer with lots of hops (from England, France, Germany, and Yakima), but with a big malt bill to add excellent balance. Before, I could move on to some other interesting offerings, my friends caught up with me and it was time to go.

Second Street Brewery'

Bathtub Row Brewing – Los Alamos

Being an engineer and a history buff, I wanted to make a short road trip from Santa Fe to Los Alamos to see the Bradbury Science Museum that includes the history of the Manhattan Project. Because no one else was interested, I made the side trip by myself, and, oh by the way, there happens to be a nice little brewery about a block from the museum. While Bathtub Row Brewing was in a strip mall, it was never the less a nice venue with a very nice patio. At the end of the L-shaped bar is the brewing equipment with large malt bags all around. I only had time for one, so I went away from form and tried their Little Bird Blonde. A nice, easy drinking beer that would have been perfect out on the sunny patio.

bathtub row

Taos Mesa Brewing – Taos

Good fortune one again smiled on me as we left Taos on the way to Chama. I had resigned myself to not finding any fine craft beer breweries in Taos as we drove out of town in mid-afternoon when what should appear just ahead but the Taos Mesa Brewery standing along the highway in the middle of nowhere. A hard right this time into their dirt parking lot changed everything. The brewery and taproom was remarkably big with live entertainment stages both inside and outside. Also outside was a large pavilion with a spectacular view of the mountains in the distance. Blessed be my companions because they graciously allowed by to indulge in a pint while they looked on. (At least they had great scenery to enjoy.) Because I was the driver, I confined my enjoyment to a single pint of a very excellent IPA, a special batch called KNCE 93.5 FM IPA.

Taos Mesa

Albuquerque Brewing – Albuquerque

Our trip brought us back to Albuquerque for our final day where we stopped by the new Albuquerque Brewing Company just a couple blocks from Gruet Winery. Having just opened this past spring, Albuquerque Brewing is still a work in progress, but has a most interesting and impressive taproom. It’s located in a former granite company showroom and is rich with heavy woodwork and granite counter-tops. They have eight taps, with four serving house beers, one a guest beer, and three unused at the moment. I tried a flight that included each of their four house brews, Inaugural Blonde, Dukes Pale Ale, Possessive IPA, and Rez/erection IPA. All were good, but, of course, my favorite was the Rez/erection IPA at 6.9% and 75 IBU’s. They weren’t crowded because we arrived when they first opened, so I was able to talk my way into the brewery in the back. They have a 3 bbl brewing system and three fermenters hard at work cranking out some nice brews.

albuqurque brewing

About the Author

Bill Babbitt is a retired engineer, beer lover, and freelance writer for Beer Advocate Magazine.

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