Alibi V.24 No.3 • Jan 15-21, 2015 

A Drinkable Feast

New Beer’s Revolutions

What’s on tap in 2015

Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
So the ball has dropped, the Cristal popped (okay, not really), and it’s time to get back to normal life. That’s the bad news. The good news? In 2014 our local brew scene continued to push ever closer to critical mass with new breweries bursting onto the scene and confirming that we are indeed living in a craft beer renaissance. And here they are, listed alphabetically, just waiting for you to try them. So grab a friend to help you along this new sit-and-sup trail. I’ll give you the broad strokes on a fine beer to start with.

B2B Bistronomy (3118 Central SE, bistronomyb2b.com) Yes, the B2B folks—ardent supporters of local craft beers—have decided to brew some of their own. Their approach, it seems, is to do something unique while continuing to offer a host of local favorites. How new can a new beer be, you ask? How about a peanut butter and jelly stout? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? My recommendation, though, is the berry cider. It’s sweet, fizzy and light, finishing off with a dollop of fresh strawberries and raspberries as garnish. Truthfully, it’s probably closer to soda pop than a beer drinker’s beer, but it’s damnably drinkable and a nice place to start. It’s just one of many delightful surprises B2B has in store for your next visit.

How new can a new beer be, you ask? How about a peanut butter and jelly stout? Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Boxing Bear Brewing (10200 Corrales NW, boxingbearbrewing.com) Just at the mouth of Corrales (in the old Elliot’s building) sits Boxing Bear Brewing. It’s a large, inviting space with a terrific patio (weather permitting) and an area to play two-by-four Jenga while staring at the beautiful brewery through giant windows. It’s got a simple menu, mainly panini-syle pressed sandwiches with chips and a pickle. And there are some pretty good beers to go with them. I suggest starting with the Hairy Mit hefe. It’s ripe with banana and vanilla notes, and carries a slightly cloudy, golden haze. At 5.4 percent and a mere 12 IBUs, this is a bright, approachable beer and a great way to shake hands with Boxing Bear. As an extra bonus, the brewery shares a door with Southwest Grape and Grain, where many budding brewers buy supplies for their magic elixirs. Pop in to the grain room, and give them all a good sniff. Maybe you’ll develop the palate necessary to deconstruct some of our best local brews.

Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Draft Station (1720 Central SW, draft-station.com) Chama River’s new Draft Station is nestled halfway between Downtown and Old Town. Anyone who has knocked back a few in Santa Fe’s terrific rooftop location will no doubt recognize Draft Station’s commitment to New Mexico brewing—again splitting the taps between their own brews and offerings from other locals. This kind of cooperation is what keeps the New Mexico brew scene both cutting-edge and full of surprises, and continues to push New Mexico beers toward national and international recognition. The GABF Gold Medal winner for 2014 is Chama River’s Class VI golden lager, the perfect ice cold beer to pair with everything from a juicy burger to caviar. The crisp, slightly yellow hue, the sweet, malty nose, buttery and smooth combine with carbonation light enough to keep it syrupy. For noshing, we recommend a custom burger generous enough to take some home or the pulled pork sandwich that’ll have you asking for extra napkins.

Kaktus Brewing Company (471 South Hill Rd., kaktusbrewery.com) Vibrant and eclectic, on what feels like a small farm between Bernalillo and I-25, Kaktus is a great place to begin a new love affair with craft beer. They have something of that Madrid or Taos vibe, and warmly welcome newbies with light, easy-drinking beers. It’s a wise and informed choice they’ve made, aiming for clean, crisp beers that you can enjoy safely. Their cozy patio (appointed with hand-carved chairs featuring everyone from Wonder Woman to Walter White) is closed up for winter, so I suggest taking a pint of Winter Warmer indoors. It’s a cool, chewy beer with maybe a touch of nutmeg. For food, the dry-erase menu is packed with innovative proteins which, like the beers, serve up subtle and refined flavors. Be it a bison chili dog, duck or wild boar sausage with curry ketchup, this elevated take on typical pub fare shows real moxie. So grab your GPS, and head out Bernalillo way. Better yet, take the Rail Runner and get a 5-percent discount with your ticket.

Ponderosa Brewing Company (1761 Bellamah NW, ponderosabrewing.net) Another new spot a touch off the beaten path, Ponderosa has set up shop in the Sawmill District, a stone’s throw from ¡Explora! and the Natural History Museum. The sampler flight comes in terrific, tulip-shaped tasters that are Pinterest-worthy when all lined up in the sun. For my money, the Crosscut Kölsch is the place to start. It’s a powerful and tasty light beer that will make your German grandmother weep for the Fatherland. The menu is sizable, and the portions are generous—but, as this piece is all about introductions, let’s focus on the happy hour. It’s a good one: Most beers are a buck off, and the abbreviated happy hour menu boasts sliders, fries and chicken fingers, all priced right. The restaurant is a bit hard to find the first go-round, but you won’t forget it once you do.

Red Door Brewing Company (1001 Candelaria NE, reddoorbrewing.com) Red Door Brewing is a cozy, down-to-earth taproom with low light and a slightly industrial feel. The flights come on a handled plank, and you can hear tunes that run the gamut from Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” to Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringin’.” While the cider was a nice, lemony surprise, after splitting a few hairs, I decided to recommend the Paint It Black milk stout. Opaque and stubborn with a cream head, it is toasty on the nose and tastes like silken chocolate going in. At 5.8 percent, it’s a solid offering without all the scary and heavy baggage most folks attribute to a dark beer. Foodwise, Red Door has taken advantage of our local food truck scene, inviting trucks to sell fare to hungry patrons. The food truck schedule changes, so call ahead for info.

So to hell with those resolutions; forget these promises to drink less and work out more—life is short: Let’s eat, drink and be merry in 2015!