Storm and Brews — A (Taos) trek to the north

Posted: July 28, 2014 by Franz Solo in Brewery Reviews
Tags: , ,

So the day after we saw Stoutmeister hit 1000 distinct brews on Untappd with a bomber of 2009 vintage imperial stout from Stone, he and we (the Solos) headed up north for a few Taos-brewed ales. From the start it looked like a lovely Sunday drive, but as we neared Santa Fe we were greeted by a wall of black clouds. It rained like I’ve never seen in Santa Fe, nearly a foot of water rushing down Saint Francis Drive like an angry river.

The Solos make sure to check into Untappd while enjoying the sampler tray at Blue Heron.

The Solos make sure to check into Untappd while enjoying the sampler tray at Blue Heron.

The storm being successfully passed, we made it to Blue Heron Brewery just off of NM 68 (and right next to Santa Fe Brewing’s new Hop Farm) in the town of Embudo. If any brewery screams old New Mexico it is Blue Heron, an old house just on the side of the road with a ton of character and a very laid back atmosphere. We did a flight of samples and took them out to the patio, which was fenced with aspen logs and nestled under several large Cottonwoods.

Of our samples, the standouts were the Tarantula Trek Red Ale and the Prieta Real Imperial Stout. The red was done in the Irish style with a wonderful dry finish and plenty of malty flavor. Prieta Real had a great aroma and a strong, boozy finish with hints of chocolate. Being the strong beer lovers that we are, the Stoutmeister and I picked up a bomber each of La Llorona Scottish Ale, which is a particular favorite of ours from Blue Heron. (It was not on tap when we visited, and we can’t go there without getting some. — S)

The Mogul Imperial IPA was a fine choice at Taos Ale House.

The Mogul Imperial IPA was a fine choice at Taos Ale House.

We next drove on to the Taos Ale House, which is just north of the main plaza area in a lovely building that used to host one of the (many) art galleries in town. Both the patio section off the road and the interior of the Ale House are very rustic and full of charm. We were somewhat disappointed to find that of the three listed house-brewed beers there was but one remaining on tap. We settled on a round of Mogul Imperial IPAs, which are served in 10-ounce glasses only. This IPA was quite similar to the Ladybug IPA from Blue Heron in that both had a sweeter, more syrupy or resinous character than what we typically find in the Duke City. The food at the Ale House was quite excellent as well with damn good burgers and Taos-style pub fare.

From the Ale House we headed west towards the Rio Grande Gorge and Taos Mesa Brewing. Constructed from a converted airplane hanger, and with views of mountains and open sky to rival any location, we were in for a treat. The open patio is filled with interesting art that I would liken to a surrealist dream and very much in line with the culture of Taos. There is a really neat outdoor amphitheater in one section backed by the ever lovely Sangre de Cristo mountains, and there is also a horseshoe pit and frisbee golf course for those wanting a little recreation.

Our six-beer sampler from Taos Mesa featured five house beers and a guest beer.

Our six-beer sampler from Taos Mesa featured five house beers and a guest beer.

We ordered a flight and simply relaxed. Of the five house beers we tried, we all agreed that the Kolsch 45 was the standout. It had a nice, white-colored head, good aroma, and a clean finish. A beer utterly perfect for a July afternoon.

Our return trip home was relatively uneventful, winding through beautiful mountains and rivers until we got back to Santa Fe. We were greeted once more by some furious downpours and a spectacular lightning storm to rival any from this year so far.

I definitely recommend heading up north this time of year to escape the heat, catch some fish, go rafting or hiking, or just for a beautiful drive, and enjoy a few local pints from these excellent breweries.

Pröst!

— Franz Solo, Mrs. Solo, Stoutmeister

Advertisements
Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s