While trying to ignore the 8,000 happy people photos from Denver on Thursday, I jumped at the chance to attend an invite-only soft opening for the media and other assorted folks at the new Santa Fe Brewing taproom at Albuquerque’s Green Jeans Farmery. With beer tickets in hand and a number of helpful staff members present as guides, I got to tour the new facility, which opens today (Friday) at 4 p.m. to the general public.
As a primer, I first want to remind people how to get there. If you are driving north on Carlisle over the I-40 bridge, take the very first right onto Cutler, which at that point is a one-way street that only goes east. You can’t miss the complex, which will be on your right. The parking lot encircles it on almost all sides. You can also park along Cutler, which becomes a two-way street just past the Farmery. Of course, not everyone will be coming north on Carlisle, and there is no access to Cutler from southbound Carlisle. If you are traveling southbound on Carlisle or east or westbound on Menaul, your best bet is to go east of Carlisle to Morningside, then take a right and go south across the arroyo and over to Cutler. Then take a right and you will see the complex ahead. Google Maps should not let you down, so you also have that, and sometimes it can be less complicated to visually see the path rather than have someone tell you how to get there.
Once you arrive and park, head on into the complex. You cannot miss the SFBC taproom, thanks to that huge tower that looms above it. The taproom is effectively broken into four interconnected spaces. There is the downstairs bar area, the upstairs indoor area, the downstairs patio the rings the south side of the building, and the upstairs patio and bar that also faces to the south. The majority of the beer taps are downstairs. Just about every SFBC beer you can think of was available. From all the old favorites (Happy Camper, Nut Brown, Pale Ale, Black IPA, Hefeweizen, State Pen Porter, Imperial Java Stout, Chicken Killer) to the new kid (Gold) to the current seasonal (Oktoberfest) to the rare specialties (Barrel Aged Sour State Pen Porter, Kriek, ECS Highland Heath) are all available. You can do flights, pints, and all sizes in between. The popular Chicken Mixers menu, where other beers are combined with Chicken Killer Barleywine, is also available at the taproom. Previously it was only at the main brewery in Santa Fe.
Overall the taproom can hold 135 people, or so I was told by SFBC owner Brian Lock, who was there to greet guests Thursday. He later shared a story about how the two patios survived the pounding of that random hail storm earlier in the week. The coverings that keep the sun off people on the upstairs patio were rather remarkable in how they held up despite having an estimated 150 pounds apiece of hail on top.
Take note that the rest of the Green Jeans tenants are not yet open, so unfortunately their food will not be present for you to enjoy along with a beer, but several said they hope to be open in the next two to four weeks. There will be a food truck tonight and Saturday, or at least that is the plan, for man (and woman) cannot live off beer alone. Too bad, because I think a lot of us would try.
Anyway, I could ramble on some more about the taproom, but instead I should let the pictures tell the story.
A final thank you to Brian Lock, taproom manager Lindsay Schenker, bartender extraordinaire Jonathan Hawes, and the rest of the staff at the taproom for a great experience. Good luck to you all with the sea of humanity that is about to roll in tonight.