New Mexico Beer Guide 2016 updated

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by ONovoMexicano, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. KingforaDay

    KingforaDay Defender (635) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey

    Some great info in this thread. Any recommendations on what Breweries in SF are doing the best sours? I have a friend there who loves her sours. Thanks in advance.
    Jawnnm and VABA like this.
  2. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Rowley Farmhouse Ales.
  3. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Looks like La Cumbre is expanding. Just read their announcement that they will be opening a taproom on the Westside.

    Speaking of La Cumbre, they have a vienna lager on tap right now that I want to say is absolutely incredible and the best of its style that I have yet to try.....but I think I should hold back and give it another try to make sure a second go at it breeds the same response from me. Better be sure it just wasn't a right time/right place kind of moment. You can't always trust singular experiences.
    MonkeyBread, Jawnnm and adamauden like this.
  4. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    I am thinking we need an updated NM Beer Guide, @ONovoMexicano . I was just reviewing the listing and I feel like there has been some shifts (at least for me) in the rankings/tiers as well as there being a number of new additions to the scene. Not trying to put work on you that you don't want, but figured I would bring it up. Not trying to mess with your puppy.

    Some of my observations of the scene over the past 2 years.

    - I think Canteen has re-upped their game and returned to the Don't Miss Category.

    I think they are figuring things out again these days. I think they have been putting out some really good beers lately and I dig their more casual, old(ish) school taproom vibe. I would put them on the must visit list, with the caveat that it doesn't come at the expense of a visit to La Cumbre or Marble

    - I think Bow & Arrow has made it onto the Don't Miss Category as well.

    I think these folks have emerged as players. The growth from these girls and guys over this past year has been impressive, from introducing wild beers into their catalog (and that brett saison has never left rotation since first being tapped), from barrel aged offerings being introduced, from much needed tweaking of their flagship lineup (very happy to see that Desert Dynamo and Nomadico are now flagship offerings) , and just an overall impressive growth in beer quality (off topic: they just released a single hopped saison that I saison to come from Albuquerque, IMO, nothing too bold and crazy, just solid and enjoyable and how I enjoy them). IMO, they have become a must visit in ABQ....I wouldn't visit them at the expense of La Cumbre or Marble, but you might not hate yourself if you did either.

    - I think Bosque has dropped down into the Worthwhile Brewery.

    I don't think these guys are a must visit these days. Its always good to grab a Bosque Lager.....but the rest? Just seems pretty underwhelming these days. They did have Scale Tipper on tap recently and that was great, but expensive. But my other trips have just been lacking, from beer to service. I don't know, maybe all their time and attention is being focused on their new destination facility that they are constructing that beer ideas are becoming less a priority? I don't get it, they have produced some of the best beer during my time in ABQ, why don't they just bring back some of those successful beers of the past if they aren't able to come up with anything new of interest? They have been bringing back some past beers, but they are, IMO, underwhelming ones like Driftwood Oatmeal Stout and Pale Ryeder. How about Simcoe Pilsner, or Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Brown Ale, etc? These guys used to be my go to, now I visit every few months. With the emergence of Canteen and Bow & Arrow, those visits are becoming less and less frequent.

    - I think Rowley Farmhouse Ales needs a mention in any NM Guide.

    A solid place all around. I haven't been there enough to speak in depth about them, but that's a really nice operation from my limited experiences. Good beer, food, and service. For me, I put them in the must visit category.

    - I'd put Tractor, Blue Corn and Nexus in the "Other" Category

    Nexus is worth a visit for the food, but for the beer I pass. Last time I was there I ate but didn't even drink. I am super hungry right now and could go for some chicken and waffles, so maybe I will give them a visit and try their beer again and see if things have changed for me. Tractor can do drinkable/decent enough beers, but their stuff is completely forgettable and, as a whole, a level below the players I would put in the worthwhile category, like Bosque, Boxing Bear, Santa Fe (who I would like to add, have been upping their game lately and putting out some really good beer). I tried Blue Corn once, so that does limit my opinion, but I did not care for what I tried from them. In Santa Fe, Rowley, Santa Fe, and Second Street are all spots I would quickly go to before Blue Corn, personally.

    -Lots of new places to at least introduce in the "Other Category"

    Chili Line probaby deserves a mention. To me, they teeter between worthwhile and other. I wasn't amazed by what I tried and their more traditional style attempts were pretty weak, IMO, but I dug their niche of doing smoked beers, which also happened to be what they did best. And their pizza looked good, though I didn't try it. New guys in ABQ like 377 (total pass from me), Bombs Away (seemed decent enough, Tractor level), High & Dry (haven't been), Hops (also haven't been) worth mentioning, especially if anyone has any opinions/insights about them. Myself, curious about High & Dry but purposefully not rushing over there while they are so young.

    Anyways, just a few of my rambling thoughts on the changes in our scene over these past couple years. Would love to read a new updated guide....
    #724 denver10, Feb 24, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
  5. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    @denver10 Thanks for the up date. We are going to NM soon. Will be in Santa Fe, so I will make it a point to stop at Rowley.

    Chili line had a very good classic Rauchbier. If one likes Rauchbier they should stop. If one doesn’t like Rauchbier, then it is not worth it.
  6. bradybeer

    bradybeer Initiate (0) Aug 9, 2005 California

    OK, I am going to be that guy who says "Going to ABQ end of March" but we are returning to see a good friend of ours-last time I think was 2014 or 15. Visited.

    Bosque Brewing
    Il Vicino Brewery Canteen
    La Cumbre Brewing
    Marble Brewing
    Tractor Brewing ( Tulane Dr)

    Thank Gid my wife is beer Geek too-so any suggestions for 5 must visits not on this list. Previous visits back in 2005 I hit Kelly's Brewery and BOP.

    Any help is appreciated and welcome. thank you
    Jawnnm likes this.
  7. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Based on where you have already visited, if you want to try something new...Bow & Arrow. They have a great thing going right now, imo.

    But a repeat visit to La Cumbre is a must, imo. They are brewing the best beers in the state. I'd put their stuff up against the best in the industry as a whole, personally.
    #727 denver10, Feb 26, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  8. bradybeer

    bradybeer Initiate (0) Aug 9, 2005 California

    thank you for the heads up-I really enjoyed La Cumbre-so perhaps a return trip is indeed needed.
  9. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Marble has a rauchbier on tap that is fantastic. Small sample size but maybe my favorite smoked beer I have so far tried. They also have a single hop red ale going that was really good as well.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
  10. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Hope it lasts a while. Going out to NM in a couple weeks.
  11. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Probably worth noting, I use the term 'rauchbier" only because that is what Marble used in its description of the beer style. Not sure how specific or broad the term 'rauchbier' goes, my experience with the style in the past has always been of a darker beer than this one was. They named this beer "Smoked Helles" and that seems a far more accurate/reliable a description than I would have expected from Rauchbier, but, again, I am not familiar with how specific that term is. There was a time when Octoberfest meant (only) dark amber hued beers to me, never realizing they could also be pale in appearance as well.
  12. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I would still like to try it. Schlenkerla’s Helles is really good, though just brewed with their process, no smoked malts.
    rocdoc1 likes this.
  13. erway

    erway Initiate (112) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico

    "Rauch" simply means smoke. In Bamberg, sure you'll find Marzen and Bock, but you'll also find Keller, Helles, Export, even (gulp) Weissbier. In the case of Schlenkerla, they aren't using smoked malts in the lighter styles and instead relying on the residual from their brewing equipment to impart the smoke character.
    denver10 likes this.
  14. bradybeer

    bradybeer Initiate (0) Aug 9, 2005 California

    OK, made it back and in the four days we hit, in addition to the Bosque Taproom Nob Hill:

    Boxing Bear
    Drafty Kilt
    Quarter Celtic
    Palmer Brewery & Cider House
    Starr Brothers
    Bow and Arrow
    Rio Bravo

    We are going back in October for the Ballon Fest and I want to hit Side track, Steel Bender, and what ever new breweries worth hitting-and I need to make a return trip to Marble and La Cumbre.
    Jawnnm likes this.
  15. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I had the Marble Smoked Helles last night, it was enjoyable. The malt character was a little low, not the nice Pils malt character the Schlenkerla Helles has.

    We bumped into a couple we know visiting for the first time from AZ. They said that Chile Lines beers were all sour. I might wait awhile to stop there again.

    We stopped into the Brakeroom that has been opened by SF Brewing in the old house that the Chile Line Railroad had built for their Brakemen. It is a great space. We have been back often. The Santa Fe beers are better than I remember, well made for the most part. The Nut Brown, 7K IPA, and the Freestyle Pils are all well made. They have a seasonal now that is a SmaSH made with Golden Promise and Cascade hops that is very drinkable. They have run out of Freestyle, not going to be on until the end of April, so that makes me sad.
    denver10 likes this.
  16. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Here's my full 2018 review of the ALBUQUERQUE Brewery Scene

    Head of the Class/Can't Miss: If coming to ABQ for some beer, the places that need to be prioritized.

    La Cumbre. These guys are putting out the best beer in the State, let alone ABQ, IMO. If you are only able to check out the beer from one local brewery, theirs is the beer to try, in general. Other places offer greater variety and one off releases, but La Cumbre focuses on quality over quantity. Lots of quality with some of those other breweries as well, but the floor is much higher with a La Cumbre beer than elsewhere. You know you are getting something quality with them. These guys are the kings of IPA's and lagers in Albuquerque. My biggest issue with these guys is their taproom, I just think they outgrew that space a long time ago.

    Marble. I think I am kind of unique in my local love for Marble, but they have the best overall flagship lineup in town, IMO. I think their Pilsner, Oatmeal Stout, Red, Imperial Red, and DIPA are all great beers. Their Pilsner and Oatmeal Stout are maybe my two favorite beers of those styles, styles I love. I have easily drinken more Marble Pilsner than any other beer since moving down here to ABQ. So, yeah, I am a big fan. And they have come around with their brewery taplists, now which is incredibly large, varied, and oft rotating. When I first moved down here, they frustrated me with the limited taplists they offered, which often consisted of nothing but flagship offerings. Now that they have their NE Heights facility brewing their pilot batches, Marble’s taplists are always huge, new and varied. Plenty of misses make it onto the taplists, but I definitely respect their willingness to experiment and try new things. I don’t mind supporting that and buying the occasional dud of a beer. Plenty of winners mixed into that lot as well. The downtown location is always super busy, service is impersonable and quick (as the place is always really damn busy) but I dig the aesthetic and vibe, for the most part. Their roof top patio is a nice bonus.

    Bow & Arrow. Probably the brewery that has grown and evolved the most during my time here in Albuquerque. That first year was rough, lots of uninspiring, poor beer. I almost gave up on them even though my general rule is to give new guys (and in this case also girls) 1 year to figure things out. Glad I didn’t because, now, I think the beers they are cranking out is damn good. To me, if you want to choose between a visit between them and Marble, neither is the wrong choice. Lots of nice variety on tap going on now and the quality is solid, you can get anything from a lager to a variety of saisons, to IPA’s, to sours, to wild ales, to barrel aged offerings, to stouts, etc.. One of the coolest things about this place for me was my trip with their Brett Saison, which stayed on tap for maybe 8 or 9 months. Got to try it upon release when it was fair but green and drink continually over the next 8 or so months and discover how it evolved. Started off fair, finished really damn good. Also LOVE how they do their 5ounce pours/flights as small pours in normal glasses. BEST WAY EVER TO DO A FLIGHT. Starting to bottle stuff too. And love the taproom, probably the one taproom I visited more than any other these days.

    A Tier Below Elite/Cant Miss: Try to visit them, don’t lose any sleep if you can’t because you prioritize La Cumbre/Marble/Bow & Arrow over them

    Canteen. I was slow to coming around on these guys, but I now have. One of my favorite taprooms and some great beers coming from them, also some misses coming from them. 50/50 on what you will get from them. Some of their beers are some of the best in the city, lots of their beers also vary from good to poor. If you order right, you can leave thinking they deservet to be in the Can’t Miss category. If you order poorly, you’ll understand why they probably fall just short of Can’t Miss. When there: order Exodus IPA, one of the most overlooked/underrated beers brewed here, IMO. High Plain Pilsner is also great.

    Worth a Visit When Time Permits: Some good (and occasionally great) stuff coming from these guys, plenty of fair to lesser stuff also coming from them

    Bosque. Some of the best beers in ABQ are brewed by these guys but a lot of those beers are in the rearview window. Their Lager remains great, Scale Tipper is even greater when available (which seems like almost never, maybe 1 month of the year in total). In a city known for great IPA’s, one could argue Scale Tipper is the best of the bunch (though, I wouldn’t argue that….Elevated continues to receive my vote there). And they have done lots of great things in the past, most recently 2016 was a stellar year for them. But, lately, lots of uninspiring offerings. Taprooms are ok, not being a college student I don’t fit in with their crowd and staff, which is fine... but also not a selling a point. Setvice at their public house in Nob Hill/UNM area is pretty bad these days.

    Steelbender. Another brewery not conveniently located to me, or those in metro ABQ. These guys have been around for a year now, so time to revisit and allow myself to be more critical. I did check them out again recently and their stuff is pretty good, nothing world changing or elite. They have gotten into the world of barrel aging and brett. Right now they have a brett dry hopped saison on tap that I really enjoyed and could drink a ton of. They also have a hoppy pilsner that is really good. The service there isnt great, the food isn’t my thing either. But worth the occasional stop and maybe more if their beer continues to improve, as it has within this first year.

    Santa Fe (taproom). Their beers have gotten a lot better and best value in town. 7K IPA is a really good beer that almost becomes great when you consider the price point. Not a fan of the taproom at the Green Jeans container yard personally, but whatever.

    Boxing Bear. Maybe its them being so out of the way, but these guys really don’t do much for me. But lots of love for them it seems (and they did win Best Small Brewpub at GABF a couple years back) and their beer is certainly not bad. Many dig it, I find it decent enough but not really my thing. Objectively, they seem on par with Bosque’s beers. If time permits, try them out. I probably won’t bother to make the trek to hang out with you when you do though.

    Ponderosa. Bad food, crappy vibe, but decent beer. Don’t rush to visit them, but definitely worth a stop in when time permits and looking for something outside your normal spots. If I lived near them, I would be fine with making them my watering hole.

    Dialogue. They are hit or miss. Some awesome beers have come from them, plenty of crap has too. I haven’t been in a while because its become way too much of a crapshoot with what I was gettin, but, yeah, when they are on their game some of those beers like their Das Palabra and Coffee Lager are delightful. Also, one of the nicest taprooms/breweries in the city.

    The Rest: locals might want to give them an occasional shot, others don’t waste your time with.

    Anyone not mentioned above.
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I am on a long stay in Santa Fe. Will say that Santa Fe Brewing’s new Taproom is a favorite, it is called the Brakeroom. The name comes from the fact that the building was built to house the Brakemen from the Denver&Rio Grande railroad’s Chile Line.

    The beers are well made for the most part. 7kIPa is a favorite. I have been drinking the Schneeball Imp. Pils, and a new beer called Segal SMaSH, Golden Promise and Cascade Hops from Segal farms - these are really aromatic Cascade hops. There have been a couple I don’t care for, but that is true of any place.
  18. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Poo-Bah (2,814) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    @denver10 agree with your assessment of things. Perhaps you should make your post its own thread so that it is the lede for those seeking New Mexico info and people can get right to the most recent info and insights.
    VashonGuy likes this.
  19. pjeagles

    pjeagles Initiate (136) May 29, 2005 New Mexico

    You agree with Bosque being rated as TWO tiers below Bow and Arrow? Inhaling too many fumes on those cross-country road trips??
  20. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Poo-Bah (2,814) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico


    Actually, yeah, I am in agreement. Haven’t enjoyed much at Bosque in the past 4 months. Their expansion seems to have sucked away all the resources (and Bulard’s skills and attention) that went into making good beer and I hardly visited by the end of my New Mexico days.

    I did notice Boxing Besr in the same category and I would put them in the top tier with La Cumbre, Marble, and, yes Patrick (haha!), Bow and Arrow.

    Bow and Arrow is making good beers, their taproom is beautiful and a great place to chill, and they are filling a void with their saisons, brett beers, barrel-aged beers and experimental beers (I enjoyed the German Chocolate Cake Imperial Stout and expect more good things in the future).

    La Cumbre is still king though. No one is taking that crown. Best beer across the board with the best consistency. Killing it with the hazy IPAs and then turning around and crushing it with lagers. Not as fancy as B&A and they haven’t quite figured out barrel-aged beers nor saisons, but a damn great place to drink and great staff.

    Also, it occurs to me that Bombs Away might merit a mention. They deserve an E for effort if nothing else. First War Zone brewery too, haha.
    denver10 likes this.
  21. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    I have only been there once and was pleased with what I drank, for them being a new brewery. But haven't been back since and totally forgot about them, which kind of is its own statement. I am sure I will be back there in due time....but not sure I in any position to rate them in any reliable way at this point.

    I was up in Denver when La Cumbre released Make IPA Clear Again so I missed the release but was able to grab a 4 pack at Jubilation. Yeah, that beer is not terrible. My favorite NM and Colorado IPA producers collaboration, how could it not be great? Wish I could have bought 2 4 packs of this gem.
    MonkeyBread likes this.
  22. VashonGuy

    VashonGuy Meyvn (1,183) Mar 7, 2013 Washington
    Premium Trader

    I just finished 11 days in your area, visiting from Seattle. We were in ABQ, Santa Fe, Taos, Chaco Canyon, Durango, and parts in between.

    I want to thank you guys for this thread, which is full of helpful advice. @ONovoMexicano and @denver10 get a particular shout out for their many contributions.

    We were mostly showing our Minnesota grandkids the great SW, especially Chaco Canyon, so this wasn't a beercation. But before the kids got here, and after they left, I managed to hit La Cumbre and Marble (repeat visits for both) and for the first time, I visited Rowley and Bow&Arrow. I was particularly impressed with Bow&Arrow. Excellent saisons and sours, and a beautiful spacious taproom. Bow&Arrow compares favorably to Seattle's Holy Mountain, IMHO, and that's one of the mandatory must stops for those visiting Seattle for beer. LaCumbre is excellent, of course. It was my third visit to Marble, and they still don't quite light me up the way they do others, but I guess that's just me.

    So thanks to all you guys for the beer scene and advice. If you get up to Seattle, shoot me a message, and maybe I can thank you in person.
  23. VashonGuy

    VashonGuy Meyvn (1,183) Mar 7, 2013 Washington
    Premium Trader

    A PS to my earlier post:

    At the very end of our trip, we went to Golden Crown Panaderia, to get some green chile bread to take home. I was surprised to see that they had 25 taps, all local craft beer. They had around 7 taps each for Marble and LaCumbre, and seemed to have a good selection of the "greatest hits" for those breweries. They've got a few tables, but it's not really a place to hang out. But if someone is looking for food (they do pizza, empanadas, and a few other things) and a very respectable beer list, it's a good spot to know about.
    aaronyoung01 and adamauden like this.
  24. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Bow & Arrow has their Cosmic Arrow Brett Saison available in bottles.

    Fresh, Batch #2 seems far better than Batch #1 did upon release. So I am really looking forward to seeing how this one progresses with age. Definitely worth checking out.
    MonkeyBread and aaronyoung01 like this.
  25. Moose90

    Moose90 Meyvn (1,387) Nov 25, 2012 Washington

    @denver10 thanks for posting this! I am headed out to see a buddy in ABQ in June, super helpful.
    denver10 likes this.
  26. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    La Cumbre putting South Peak Pilsner in cans. Release date, May 11th.

    Thanks @erway...really looking forward to that one. One of my favorite beers since moving down here.
    JJFoodie, adamauden and aaronyoung01 like this.
  27. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Loving South Peak Pilsner in cans. Think I am go going to need to do a side by side with some Marble Pilsner to compare...
    ONovoMexicano likes this.
  28. aaronyoung01

    aaronyoung01 Defender (681) Oct 1, 2012 New Mexico

    Report back
    ONovoMexicano likes this.
  29. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Anyone know about or notice any changes to Santa Fe's Freestyle Pilsner? Currently enjoying a pour at their taproom and seems different, and significantly better, than I remember it. It's been at least 8 or so months since I last had this one, so maybe its poor memory, but just seems like a different, improved beer.

    Will share my thoughts when I get around to the side by side of La Cumbre's South Peak Pilsner and Marble's Pilsner. Going to be a close one, that I know.
    aaronyoung01 likes this.
  30. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (238) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    That's really good news @denver10. We have the same general taste for pislners and lagers, locally at least.

    FS pilsner was my summer release beer of 2014 and 2015 back when it was truly seasonal. Heck I remember going to the can release party of FS and Happy Camper years back.
    Same with their oktoberfest, I really liked their beers a few years back. But by 2016, and until just when I read your post, I havent given either a sniff. My last check in of FS is 2 years back. Maybe they are changing for the better. I mess around with their imperial java stout frequently. And I just had some fresh 7k at their ABQ tap room, which was nothing short of amazing (definitely pulled me in with some early elevated IPA vibes). So maybe I need to give their whole lineup a new chance. I did have some odd vibes with a 7k six pack awhile back. Tasted very green bell peppery. So I remain hesitant.

    BTW, it appears Marble has gone the route of having only BEST BY dates on their cans. I want to say its a 120 day period. Kind of a crappy move IMHO. We need more transparency. Their passionfruit gose was great though. Glad to see the pricier stuff in six packs for a decent price. I can get used to that.

    It looks like theres a new brewery on the west side called TolTec (former Nexus brewer is there), as well as one in santa fe called Tumbleroot. Nothing lately has really called my name for a $5-7 pint of beer. Just been enjoying Marble pilsner and La Cumbre Beer in can form. Does anyone know if South Peak Pilsner is still around in cans anywhere? Havent hit up La cumbre since March.

    Even all the recent praise here of Bow & Arrow hasnt gotten me to return.

    I missed Marbles 10th year anniversary party last month. They seem to be selling a helluva lot of double white, while experimenting with other stuff. I did see some of their DIPA in six pack cans. A far cry from their bomber days ( i remember double white in bombers).

    @denver10 Just getting around to reading your brewery ranking type list for 2018. When Bosque is on, they are ON. I wouldnt quite put them two levels below the top tier, and they certainly arent below Steelbender. But maybe thats my love affair for Scale Tipper talking (which is barely released anymore). But their haze series was solid and they sold growlers of it. Always a plus
    denver10 and ONovoMexicano like this.
  31. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    We spent a month in Santa Fe recently. The Brakeroom had just opened so we stopped to check it out the first night in. The Freestyle was really crisp, good hop aroma. I had not had it before, but as someone who has lived and traveled in Germany, it was darned nice.

    The Brakeroom became our local. We thought the beers were better than we remembered, even that Pale Ale. One night we met the owner of Santa Fe Brewing. As we talked he mentioned that they got their head brewer from Boston Beer Co. about a year ago. I could see how that could have been a positive for beer quality.
    denver10 likes this.
  32. erway

    erway Initiate (112) Jul 28, 2006 New Mexico

    Bert Boyce has been there for at least 2, more like 3, years at this point and yes, he has made a whole lot of improvements.
  33. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,378) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I must have not heard what was said correctly.

    Oh, I drank my share of Elevated IPA too.
  34. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    First off, Marble's now using a Best By code? Weak....but still better than the system Santa Fe has of using a smudged, indecipherable date on their cans.

    Back to the topic at hand, Santa Fe Brewing. I think across the board their beer has vastly improved this past year (and perhaps longer). I have pretty much thought everything I have tried from them lately has been at the very least fair and plenty good to great. I have also noticed some inconsistencies in their canned offerings as @Oktoberfiesta alluded to, but in general I have really enjoyed a lot of what I am drinking from them. Freestyle Pilsner was great, 7K IPA is good to great IPA (I think inconsistency in cans might be at play in that variance), I surprisingly really enjoyed their Twisted Root Blond Ale with ginger and lemongrass, the Helles they released very much hit the spot, their imperial pilsner was nice, etc.

    Since I posted my thoughts/rankings, of ABQ breweries/taprooms I have had a couple poor experiences/beers at Canteen. I would still much prefer to hit Canteen's taproom up for a beer, but at this point I do think I would drink a Santa Fe beer ahead of a Canteen one. Overall, Santa Fe is more consistent in their beer and what they have on tap I have been finding.

    (And not apologizing for my Bosque rating.....last couple of beers i tried from them, since posting my rankings have all been duds, even a drain pour in there......yes, Scale Tipper is awesome, as is their Lager).

    And as for the beer that got this whole conversation started....Freestyle Pilsner. I remember that beer being rather heavy in mouthfeel, with some toastiness in there.....this latest batch didn't have any of that. The way @hopfenunmaltz described it was more in line with what I got this time around. If last night's experience was a true reflection on what I will get every time I drink it, it will definitely enter my rotation.
  35. aaronyoung01

    aaronyoung01 Defender (681) Oct 1, 2012 New Mexico

    The smoked jalapeño gose at Bosque is bomb. If you like goses make sure to stop in there soon before that one kicks
    ONovoMexicano likes this.
  36. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    @Oktoberfiesta, I was at La Cumbre the other day and there was still South Peak Pilsner 4 packs available. Worth the time and effort to head over there for one (or 2).

    Did the side by side with it and Marble's Pilsner the other day. Honestly, I can't say one is any better than the other. Both are great. If I had to pick one, I would probably go Marble Pilsner but because its a better value (@ $9 a six pack of 12 ounce cans vs $10 a 4 pack of pounders) and probably moreso for the whole nostalgia thing (Marble Pilsner is the one beer I have drank more of than any other since moving down to Albuquerque and the beer that fully got me on board the lager train). But you can't go wrong with either, if both were consistently around, I would drink a lot of both.

    On another topic, Batch #2, and in bottles, of Bow & Arrows Cosmic Arrow is a really good beer. Myself, I am kinda loving it. So much better out the gate than the initial batch of Cosmic Arrow was. Actually starting off kinda dry and some nice depth in there with the base beer, the brett, and barrel. I'll say it: best bottled saison to come from New Mexico (admittedly, a small field). As someone whose favorite style of beer is a toss up between a Belgian Saison or a Geman Pilsner, Cosmic Arrow is taking my money.
    aaronyoung01 likes this.
  37. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    One thing I want to add. I feel like if you did a blind testing and included South Peak with some other regional great pilsners like Bierstadt's Slow Pour Pilsner and Zwei's Pilsner, it would be stand up to them. So don't think of my pick as a knock towards it in any way.
  38. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (68) Jun 21, 2014 California

    Rowley recently picked up a new brewer who spent considerable time at Crooked Stave and Dry Dock, which suggests very good things in the future. Pretty excited to see how they evolve over the next few years.
  39. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Initiate (68) Jun 21, 2014 California

    Damn, I just cracked a bottle of Cosmic Arrow and holy hell this is delicious. Great work, Bow & Arrow. Nothing super complex, but just a beautifully balanced beer.

    (Also a beautiful bottle.)
  40. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,360) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Returned to Sante Fe's Freestyle Pilsner....and confirmation of my recent experience, I think the beer has turned a corner and has earned a place at the table with the state's great German Pilsners.

    Also, I've been up in Sante Fe for the past couple days and finally hit up Sante Fe's production brewery and Taproom and The Brakeroom. I get why the need/point of The Brakeroom. Wasn't much of a fan of the taproom/drinking experiece at the production facility, but did enjoy The Brakeroom....which is also much more centrally located.