AUG/SEP 2005 | REGIONAL | SOUTHWEST
Pub & Eatery
106 Des Georges Lane
Taos, NM 87571
Socorro Springs Brewing
1012 N. California St.
Socorro, NM 87801
High Desert Brewing Co.
1201 W. Hadley Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Prescott Brewing Co.
130 W. Gurley St., Suite A
Prescott, AZ 86301
Oak Creek Brewing Co.
2050 Yavapai Dr.
Sedona, AZ 86336
This time we are going to cover some breweries in Arizona
and New Mexico that might be a little off the beaten path.
Starting at the top of New Mexico, Eske’s Brew
Pub & Eatery is a nice treat at just about any
time of year. Eske’s is located in the heart of downtown
Taos, N.M., where there is plenty to do, whether it be hitting
the slopes during winter or taking in some summer sports during
the warmer months. Of course, sampling Eske’s great
beer could be considered a sport, and Head Brewer Steve Eskeback
makes sure that there is always a varied lineup of tasty beers
to serve with the great food.
Some of the lighter beers include Rio Refresco, a refreshing
3.75% wheat beer; OL’ 43 Blonde Ale; and Taos Green
Chile Beer, a 4% vegetable beer brewed with — you guessed
it — green chilies during fermentation. The number of
beers brewed throughout the year varies, so it is a good idea
to check the Web site or call ahead to get the current offerings.
Other notable beers brewed at Eske’s include Organic
Bitter, brewed with 95% organic grains; Eske Bock, Mesa Pale
Ale, and Bert & Ernie Barley Wine.
Towards the middle of the state is another one of New Mexico’s
gems, Socorro Springs Brewery, at the junction
of Highway 60 and I-25 in Socorro. You will find a bustling
local crowd at this eatery, as it is one of the favorite local
hangouts. The menu consists of wood-fired pizzas, calzones
and sandwiches served both hot or cold. Brewer KC McFadden
brews many fine beers, including the Brown-Eyed Molley’s
Brown Ale, which uses hand-roasted grains from the wood-fired
oven, and Prohibition Stout, which claims to be the first
stout brewed in Socorro since Prohibition. (We’ll take
your word for that one, Socorro.)
Other regulars include the Park City Porter, a robust beer
with a nice chocolate profile, and the Pick Axe IPA, a nicely
balanced IPA and the most popular craft beer in Socorro. We
love a town that loves hops! Other seasonals and out-of-the-ordinary
beers include the Santaberry Bog Ale, brewed with cranberries,
orange and other spices; Raspberry Wheat, brewed with fresh
raspberries and honey; and the Pumpkin Patch Pale Ale. Hey,
every town needs a good pumpkin beer for October.
Farther south in New Mexico is Las Cruces and High
Desert Brewing, whose slogan is “None of Our
Beers Suck!” Brewmaster Bob Gosselin works hard to make
sure that mantra holds true, having a wide variety of beers
on tap, both lagers and ales. I had the pleasure of sampling
one of Bob’s barley wines at a beer dinner, and it was
an outstanding example of the style. Some of the standouts
at High Desert include the Barley Wine, Imperial Stout, Higher
Hop Bitterness, the Bohemian Pilsener, and Peach Wheat Ale.
Gosselin is constantly rotating seasonals in and out of the
lineup, so you never know what malty, hoppy treats might be
in store when you visit the pub.
Not many breweries can
boast as much hardware for the trophy/medal case in
such a short period of time as Prescott Brewing.
Two great craft-beer destinations to visit in Arizona during
the summer months — or anytime, really — include
Prescott Brewing Company in Prescott and Oak Creek Brewing
in Sedona. Prescott Brewing has a long tradition
of excellence, winning countless medals for its craft lagers
and ales. It is located in historic downtown Prescott along
Whiskey Row. Owner and brewer John Nielsen, along with his
wife, Roxane, operate one of the premier craft beer destinations
in the entire Southwest. Head Brewer Jan Brown makes sure
the beer is up to Prescott standards, and those are pretty
high standards to meet. Just in the past 12 months, Prescott
has won medals at the GABF for Pilsner 500, the North American
Beer Association Festival for Petrified Porter and Funkendunkel,
and the World Beer Championships for Christmas City Ale. Not
very many breweries anywhere can boast that much hardware
for the trophy/medal case in such a short period of time!
Located in central Arizona just west of I-17, Prescott is
an easy drive from Phoenix, and the beer and hospitality at
PBC make it well worth the visit.
Not too far from Prescott is the town of Sedona and another
one of Arizona’s standout craft-beer destinations. Oak
Creek Brewing, founded and operated by Brewmaster
Fred Kraus, produces some of the best beer in Arizona, including
one fine hefeweizen. Kraus trained in Germany, so he knows
a good hefe! Head Brewer Jim Strelau cranks out local favorites,
including the Nut Brown Ale, long one of my favorite nut brown
beers anywhere, and the middle-of-the-road Oak Creek Amber
Ale. Oak Creek also boasts some of the best food in Sedona
at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill, located at the Tlaquepaque
Center in Sedona, not far from the actual brewery itself.
Next time you are in the Sedona area, stop in at Oak Creek
and tell them the Celebrator sent you.
In other Arizona beer news, Derek Osborne of BJ’s
reports that the new Mesa location at Superstition Springs
and Power Road is now open. Osborne is one busy dude, as he
has been producing beer for all of the Arizona BJ’s
locations, as well as several draft accounts. BJ’s is
also planning another opening at Desert Ridge sometime in
the first half of 2005.
Lastly, we’d like to remind our readers about the Made
in the Shade Beer Festival on August 13 at the Coconino County
Fairgrounds, just outside of Flagstaff. Should be a hoppy,
Pete Ricks covers craft beer in the Southwest
for the Celebrator Beer News and beerdude.com,
where he’s going for .700 or better this year in the
2005 Pro Pick ’em Challenge.