Going for Gold
The New Mexico Brewers’ Guild likes to say, “Our cervezas will blow your cabezas.” They did just that at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the premier U.S. beer festival and competition. Six of New Mexico’s breweries captured a record eight awards.

  • Il Vicino Brewing Company—Panama Joe’s Coffee Stout (Coffee Beer)
  • Second Street Brewery—Rod’s Steam Bitter (American-Style Amber Lager)
  • Marble Brewery—Pilsner (German-Style Pilsner)
  • Sierra Blanca Brewery—Nut Brown (English-Style Brown Ale)
  • Blue Corn Brewery—End of the Trail Brown Ale (American-Style Brown Ale)
  • Blue Corn Brewery—Gold Medal Stout (Oatmeal Stout)
  • La Cumbre Brewing Company—Project Dank: Operation Pharoah’s Return (American Style India Pale Ale)
  • Marble Brewery—Thunder from Dortmunder (Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest)

Il Vicino Brewery lays claim to the most GABF medals, with 11 since 1995. Marble Brewery has been honored with five just in the past three years. La Cumbre Brewing Company can boast both gold and bronze wins in the I.P.A. category, the largest field of entries at the prestigious event.

New Mexico breweries, now some 30 strong, share the spirit and characteristics of top beer destinations like Portland, Denver, and San Diego. One trait is small-scale production, the “micro” in “microbrewing.” But craft breweries share other generally agreed-upon traits, including independent ownership, select regional distribution, and—perhaps most important—robustly flavored beers in a broad range of styles. In addition to our March 2014 “Brew Mexico” feature, by New Mexico Magazine culinary editor Cheryl Alters Jamison, we’ve created this digital guide as an atlas to the state’s flourishing craft beer scene.

The Abbey Brewing Company
Monk’s Ale/The Abbey Brewing Company The Abbey Beverage Company Brewery and Tap Room, located on the grounds of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, are open only by prior appointment out of consideration for the lifestyle of the monks. Appointments for tours and access to the brewery and tap room must be made at least 48 hours prior to your desired visit by calling (505) 990-8581 between 9:30 AM and noon on Tuesdays through Saturdays, or by sending an e-mail to monkchristian@gmail.com. In late August or early September, guests and day-visitors can help the monks pick the hops, a native New Mexican strain. The Benedictine monks’ original beer, Monk’s Ale, is made in a Belgian style, using a yeast strain from a Belgian monastery. The newer stronger brown beers, Dubbel and Trippel, use the hops grown on site to add bitter notes. Scrumptious. (505) 990-8581; mynm.us/abbeybrew

Back Alley Draft House
Back Alley offers a whopping 28 craft beers on tap, many that you won’t find elsewhere. Try the Imperial IPA, or perhaps White Ryeno, an unusual melding of rye and Belgian white styles. The draft house, more-or-less behind and almost under the Hotel Andaluz, has a nice urban Burque vibe. Pizza and other fare comes to your table from NYPD next door. Live music, too. 215 Central Avenue NW; (505) 766-6973; backalleydrafthouse.com

Bosque Brewing Company
Bosque is known for its broad range of beers on tap, from Kindling Golden Ale, a crystal-clear golden amber, to its Old Bosky Porter, almost black with some garnet highlights, with coffee and chocolate tones to balance the malt. The menu’s a simple line-up of nibbles, soups, and sandwiches. If the white cheddar-poblano soup is featured, be sure to give it a try. The quintet of owners strives to have a real Albuquerque feel, with a touch of rusticity. Photos of the nearby bosque line the walls, and a local woodworker crafted the benches and bar top, with inlaid wood. Occasional music. 8900 San Mateo Blvd. NE; (505) 750-7596, bosquebrewingco.com

Broken Bottle Brewery These guys have a sense of humor about what they do and brew. Check out the David Hasselheffe Hefeweizen (a wheat beer), and the recently reformulated Two Year I.P.A. One of their most popular seasonal beers ever, Mayflower Stout, turned an Oatmeal Stout into Thanksgiving-in-a-glass, including sweet potatoes in the brewing. The food here comes from nearby Paco’s, a popular smokehouse with the expected brisket and butt offerings. An unusual offering though, is the barley hummus, whipped up from the leftover brewing grain. Expect regular weekly karaoke and open mike nights along with live music many weekends. 9421 Coors Blvd. NW. Suite K; (505) 890-8777; brokenbottlebrewery.com

Cazuela’s Mexican Grill and Brewery
A bit hidden, Cazuela’s is worth seeking out for its Mexican vibe and authentic fare, emphasizing seafood. The large patio surrounds a sizeable fountain and has views east to the Sandías. Head brewer Michael Campbell is known for a bold Double I.P.A. called Papacabra. There’s a light classic Mexican style lager among the regular offerings too. You might find yourself serenaded by mariachis. 4051 Sara Road, Rio Rancho; (505) 994-9364, cazuelasmexicangrill.com

Chama River Brewing Company
Right off I-25, Chama River has a more upscale restaurant atmosphere than most other brewpubs, with a cooking style to match. When you want a steak or a chop with your brew, it’s a top choice. Pair the meat with the Jackalope IPA or Chama River Sleeping Dog Stout. Three Dog Night’s another award winner, a Baltic-Style porter loaded with dried fruit and roasted malt flavors. 4939 Pan American Freeway; (505) 842-1800, chamariverbrewery.com

Kelly’s Brew Pub
On Route 66, in the old Jones Motor Company building, Kelly’s revels in retro car culture. The head brewer favors the citrusy-hoppy Session (American) I.P.A., but considers the more bitter I.P.A. the king of the ales here. Consistently popular is Brewnette, a dark lager. Lots of menu choices, with many specials, and a sports bar feel, make this stop popular with the nearby UNM crowd. Kelly’s offers brew-and-bottle-your-own opportunities by reservation. 3222 Central Avenue SE; (505) 262-2739; kellysbrewpub.com

Il Vicino Brewing Company/ I.V.B. Il Vicino offers a national-level beer-sperience at its “canteen” headquarters. The Il Vicino restaurants scattered around town offer their brews too, but if you’re especially craft beer-focused, do not miss the colorful mothership. It offers many more beers on tap than the restaurants. The IPA’s always a reliable choice, and they make DeVinci root beer in-house too. The Il Vicino restaurants are known for pizza, but it is not served here. Expect dishes like soft pretzels with Lusty Monk mustard, brats marinated in Il Vicino Stout, and a tasty deviled egg salad sandwich. The Canteen offers an especially full range of live music. Canteen: 2381 Aztec Road NE; (505) 881-2737; ilvicino.com

La Cumbre Brewing Company
La Cumbre sits in a light industrial area, but offers a cozy feel inside. After racking up big wins at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Fest when working for another brewery, Master Brewer Jeff Erway and his wife Laura went out on their own and opened La Cumbre. Jeff’s colleagues and patrons consider him one of the most talented brewers in the state. Definitely try the GABF award-winning and super-hoppy Elevated Pale Ale (available in cans, too); A Slice of Hefen and South Peak Pilsner are a couple of other dependable options. Food trucks hang out here pretty regularly and will even bring your order inside when ready. Play pool upstairs, if you like. 3313 Girard Blvd. NE; (505) 872-0225, lacumbrebrewing.com

Marble Brewery
Marble has grown in a half-dozen years to one of New Mexico’s two largest craft breweries, and is known for big tasting beers too. I like them all. IPA’s the flagship, and the Pilsner’s a recent award-winner, but try the Double IPA, the Red Ale, or even the Imperial Red Ale, with extra hoppiness to offset the layers of deep caramel. When the crowd spills out to the plentiful patio/beer garden as the weather warms, you may think you’ve been transported to Austin. A food truck or trailer pulls up here most nights and for some lunches. The rotation includes Soo Bak’s Korean specialties, The Supper Club’s southern-inspired fare, Chicharroneria Don Choche’s Mexican street food, and TFK Smokehouse. Try TFK’s brisket and Swiss on a bun with grilled onions and mushrooms. Marble serves a small in-house menu brought from the kitchen of Chama River Brewing Company. The Texas-style chili’s a fave with customers. Marble has lots of special events (even a Christmas gift fair) and plenty of great music. 111 Marble Avenue NW, Albuquerque; (505) 243-BREW. West Side: 5740 Night Whisper Road NW; (505) 508-4368; marblebrewery.com

Nexus Brewery
Nexus attracts one of the broadest ranges of folks I’ve come across hereabouts, from hipsters to a handful of lively octogenarians. They all seem to enjoy the simple but welcoming atmosphere, with a small patio for spring days. Scottish Ale is owner/brewmaster Ken Carson’s signature beer. Ken oversees the kitchen, too, and offers a great menu of hearty southern-meets-New-Mex fare. Chicken and cracklin’ cornbread waffles, collards, fried chicken, enchilada plates, beer-battered fries, red beans and rice flavored with Scottish Ale, mac and cheese with green chile, and killer coleslaw with pineapple bits and spicy dressing. They offer local wines too, from Santa Fe Winery and Black Mesa. 4730 Pan American Freeway East NE, Suite D; (505) 242-4100; nexusbrewery.com

Sandia Chile Grill and Brewery
A father and son team, Mick and Clinton Coker first opened a restaurant serving hearty New Mexican specialties at this location in 2006. A half-dozen years later, they opened the brewery. Brewmeister Clinton entered seven beers in the State Fair competition that year and won five medals, including a best-in-show. Expect a rotation of their ales, with the Irish Red among the most often requested. The Cokers serve breakfast through dinner. 7120 Wyoming Blvd., Suite 7D, Albuquerque; (505) 798-1970; sandiachilegrill.com

Tractor Brewing Company
This popular “Beer Farm” and tasting room were started by a local farmer. In March, it will finish moving the Los Lunas brewery into its Wells Park location in Albuquerque: an 18,000-square-foot brewing space. The Nob Hill location nearly always has a cluster of great food trucks on the scene—a food-a-palooza, they justly call it. Sample the Hay Maker Honey Wheat, Farmer’s Almanac IPA, or Sod Buster Pale Ale. Old time music jams weekly, domino tournaments, and a friendly convivial atmosphere. Watch these folks; they are going places in all respects. 118 Tulane SE; 1800 4th St. NW; (505) 443-5654; getplowed.com

The Wellhead Restaurant and Brewpub
A friendly downtown landmark, the sleek Wellhead has five house beers on tap, including the popular Roughneck Red. Enjoy them with chips and queso, green chile stew, or a chicken club sandwich. 332 West Main St.; (575) 746-0640

Mimbres Valley Brewing
Sample the IPA, the Porter, or the Green Chile Lager. The brewery facility and Las Cruces outpost are fairly basic bar-meets-diner spots where the limited menus include items like a Southwestern Cobb salad, potato skins, and rings made from local onions. 200 S. Gold Ave., Deming; (575) 544-2739. Las Cruces Taproom: 901 University Ave.; (575) 618-6258; on Facebook

Eagle Nest
Comanche Creek Brewing
This pint-size family brewery’s just north of the scenic mountain community of Eagle Nest. Comanche Creek’s signature beer is the Homestead Amber, with a sweet maltiness, subtle hop flavor, and a floral finish. 225 Comanche Creek Road; (575) 377-2337, comanchecreekbrewingco.com

Blue Heron Brewing Company
Scott and Kristin Hennelly turned their personal passion for home brewing into a business in 2009. Their Autumn Sun is brewed with locally grown hops. The little charmer of a tasting room has a laidback, funky, local feel. It’s 20 minutes south of Taos, at 2214 N.M. 68;
(505) 579-9188; blueheronbrews.com

Three Rivers Eatery & Brewery

Three Rivers occupies an attractive century-old downtown building and has added a pizzeria and a billiards room. The brewery has a record of medal winners at the State Fair Pro-Am (Beer, Mead and Cider) Competition. The hard ciders (Red Apple Flyer Cider, Cherry Cider) are as good as the beers. The eatery serves a range of American comfort food. 101 E. Main St.; (575) 324-2187; threeriversbrewery.com

Las Cruces
High Desert Brewing Company

A consistent winner in the state’s annual IPA challenge, High Desert’s IPA’s are the place to start, but the brewery offers a rotating selection of some 25 ales and lagers. They feature a house-brewed root beer too, as well as hard cider made from apples and pears. Located in a light industrial area, the spot’s rather charmingly dive-y. It offers local live music twice weekly, and a regular menu of simple pub fare. 1201 W. Hadley Ave., Las Cruces; (575) 525-6752; highdesertbrewingco.com

Mimbres Valley Las Cruces Tap Room Sample the IPA, the porter, or the green-chile lager. The Las Cruces outpost of the Mimbres brewery facility (see below) is a fairly basic bar-meets-diner spot. The menu’s limited, but it includes items like a Southwestern Cobb salad, potato skins, and onion rings made from local onions. The tap room keeps busy with a strong following from NMSU. 985 East University Avenue, Las Cruces; (575) 618-6258; on Facebook

Mimbres/Silver City
Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery

Near Lake Roberts, this newish brewery exudes the rustic charms of the Gila. You can dine locavore-style and then stay in the small inn. Kick back with the Toad Creek Blonde Ale or Amber Ale on the terrace overlooking the forest or in the downstairs tavern with pool table. 1122 Highway 35, Mimbres; (575) 536-9649; littletoadcreek.com

Rio Grande & Sierra Blanca Brewing Company

Sierra Blanca’s nutty, malty English-style Nut Brown Ale won gold at the last Great American Beer Festival. They’re perhaps best known for their Alien Amber, which is a serious beer despite its cartoonish label. Try the Pale Ale, made with locally grown hops, if it’s on the menu. The ABQ Brew Pub, which serves food, exclusively serves their beers (505-884-1116; abqbrewpub.com). The brewery serves no food, but you can bring your own. 1016 Industrial Road; (505) 832-2337; sierrablancabrewery.com

Roosevelt Brewing Company
& Public House Opened in 2012, this outfit was featured in the February issue as a part of Tim Keller’s Portales-Clovis road-trip story, “Sisterhood Is Plentiful” (p. 17, mynm.us/cproadtrip). Try their Eleanor’s Blonde Ale or Clovis Point IPA. Roosevelt offers a good menu, with farm-to-table emphasis. Even the brewer’s yeast is grown locally. 201 S. Main St.; (575) 226-2739; rooseveltbrewing.com

Rio Rancho
Turtle Mountain Brewing Company

Nico Ortiz opened this easy-going family-friendly spot on a back street in Rio Rancho. It now has a very loyal area following. Try one of the IPAs, or maybe even the root beer or a cream soda that took me back to childhood. The food’s a real draw here with inventive hearty wood-fired pizzas and calzones, a brewer’s ribeye, and handmade pretzels. 3755 Southern Blvd., Rio Rancho; (505) 994-9497; turtlemountainbrewing.com

Santa Fe
Blue Corn Café and Brewery

Open since 1997, Blue Corn holds the distinction of being the training ground for a high proportion of the brewers working in the state today. Its brewmaster is Great American Beer Festival award-winning John Bullard. Chef David Sundberg organizes regular beer-pairing dinners and beer socials with special pricing at the southside brewery. Blue Corn is popular for its New Mexican specialties, burgers, and comfort fare. The Gold Medal Stout and End of the Trail Brown Ale are always on tap. Both earned silver medals at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. 4056 Cerrillos Road; (505) 438-1800. Blue Corn Café Downtown: 133 Water Street; (505) 984-1800; bluecorncafe.com

Duel Brewing
Duel became an immediate hit when the doors opened in 2013. You don’t see much when you pull into the small southside industrial park. Behind the garage door though, is a hip and artsy environment with large-scale paintings by owner Trent Edwards. Todd Yocham brews up the all Belgian-style beers. Try Fiction, the hoppy IPA, or the milder Nonfiction, or perhaps the strong Titian, a golden ale. The menu is short but sweet, including a worthy Reuben served on housemade rye. You’ll find some of Santa Fe’s best-known local performers—Alex Maryol, Bill Palmer & Stephanie Hatfield, Joe West—on the ambitious calendar of music. They even offer a life drawing class on Sunday mornings, with beer and a waffle. 1228 Parkway Drive, Unit D, off Rufina Street; (505) 474-5301; duelbrewing.com

Il Vicino
Il Vicino’s beers are brewed in Albuquerque, but six are available on tap in this trattoria with a menu of wood-fired pizzas. 321 West San Francisco St.; (505) 986-8700, ilvicino.com

Santa Fe Brewing Company
SFBC is New Mexico’s oldest brewery, producing craft beer since 1988. It runs neck and neck with Marble as the largest of the state’s craft breweries. Some of the beers, including the signature Santa Fe Pale Ale, are available in bottles and cans. Their Nut Brown Ale
is a well-balanced crowd pleaser. No food service; you’re welcome to bring your own.
35 Fire Place, Santa Fe, (505) 424-3333; Eldorado Taphouse: 7 Caliente Road, #A9,
in Eldorado. (505) 466-6938; santafebrewing.com

Second Street Brewery This brewery really helped turn Second Street into a cool neighborhood, and the Railyard location helped put that area near downtown on the map, too. Both are no-frills but convivial neighborhood venues. Brewmaster Rod Tweet’s the man behind the scenes. His Rod’s Steam Beer finished big at the GABF, with a gold medal last fall in the crowded American-style Amber Lager category. 1814 Second Street, (505) 982-3030. Second Street Railyard: 1607 Paseo de Peralta #10 (Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Building); (505) 989-3278; secondstreetbrewery.com

Taos Eske’s Brewpub & Eatery Steve Eskeback’s brewpub is 21 years old—now legal, he quips. The family-friendly spot in the heart of old Taos has a charming beer garden in season. Eske’s serves simple pub grub, but takes a weekly flight of fancy to offer food from some far-off region of the world. This was the first place I ever drank a green chile beer, one of the pours. Eske’s usually has a gluten-free beer, The Chemist Ale, and regular live music performances. 106 Des Georges Lane; (575) 758-1517; eskesbrewpub.com Taos Ale House Jesse Cook’s operation is new as of late in 2013. He’s brewing extremely small batches of beer currently, and still has limited hours, so call ahead before you make a special trip. Aficionados love his stout. 401 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; (575) 758-5522; taosalehouse.com Taos Mesa Brewing Now here’s a real groovy spot, way out by the gorge, with views that’ll stop your heart. The group of owners includes a brewer, a sustainable builder, and a music man. The building is a specially designed, green-built Quonset hut, of sorts, with a seasonal beer garden. The music program couldn’t be better, with serious indoor and outdoor stages. You’ll find six to eight beers on tap here, perhaps the Lunch Pale Ale, the Kachina Kolsch, or the Black Widow Porter. The menu ranges from a Thai salad with tofu to build-a-burger options. Try the blackened trout, either in a po’ boy or on its own with fries. 20 ABC Mesa Road, El Prado; (575) 758-1900; taosmesabrewing.com