Another craft beer find — “Way up North” edition

Posted: February 23, 2016 by reidrivenburgh in Beercation Destinations, Out-of-Town Brews
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The magic word!

The magic word!

The Brew Crew recently received word that there is Yet Another New Brewery out there. We take for granted that there will be a new one every week in Albuquerque (and are very happy about it), but this one is about a stone’s throw from being in the middle of nowhere. If you’re going to Ojo Caliente’s famous hot springs and spa, or you’re on your way to Southern Colorado, then you will certainly want to stop at the Taos Trail Inn in Ojo Caliente. It’s probably the last chance for a decent beer before you get to the Colorado border, and if you’ve been steaming away in the spa all day, then you will certainly be craving a beer. The Inn is about a half-hour drive north of Espanola, which is about a half-hour drive north of Santa Fe. For many of you, that means that it would be a great Saturday afternoon excursion.

Living not too far away, we took a Friday night trip up to Ojo Caliente instead. We stopped by Romero’s Fruit Stand, which is about a mile south of the Highway 84/285 split. It’s supposed to have some outstanding chile, so we loaded up. About 15 miles further north, we arrived at the Taos Trail Inn. It’s easy to speed on past such a place, and frankly I’ve probably done it a few times, but if you stop and check it out, you’ll realize how nice it is. It really has that Old West Lodge feel.

Inside, it’s nearly breathtaking. Lots of wood and just oozing with ambiance.

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The stage is filled with live music almost every night.

They have rooms, as you would expect, but they also have a steakhouse and brewery. Inside the front door you’ll find a dining room, with a second dining area containing a bar and stage just beyond. They have live music most nights. On this night, the owners themselves, David and Pamela Post, played jazz and pop songs.

It turns out we started the article with a slight falsehood. The steakhouse has been in existence for three years, and David has been brewing beer even longer than that. I haven’t been up this way in a long time, I realized. I usually have a keen eye for places that have a big “brewery” sign. Well, the secret is finally out.

As we sat down, David informed us that they have an IPA and a stout. Perfect! He did warn me that the IPA was very hoppy, but I tut-tutted him and asked for one anyway. It was good, but I’ve certainly had hoppier beers. As we were speaking at the bar, he also gave me a sample of his stout. He claims it has a secret ingredient, and it did indeed seem to have some subtle flavor that I couldn’t identify. In any case, it was quite good.

The brewing system is relatively small; he gets about 15 gallons per batch. David likes to stick to his staples — pale ale, stout, and IPA. Cecilia had a Stella Artois, which was … fine. His plan is to replace the mainstream options with craft beers; in particular, he mentioned La Cumbre, which is A-OK with me.

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The menu has the type of food you’d expect at a hotel with a Western theme.

I must confess, I’m mostly a vegetarian, so I don’t get too excited about steaks. They promise a veggie-friendly option, and I saw “Spaghetti Western” on the menu. Penne with jalapeno sauce … hmm! I ordered it, but unfortunately received a baked potato with steak on top instead. Ah well, we were in a hurry, so maybe next time. The potato was fine, and Cecilia enjoyed the steak. In general, the food seemed like it would be very good.

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Just to the right of the entrance is the “brew zone,” apparently

If you haven’t traveled to one of the more distant corners of New Mexico, the Taos Trail Inn is yet another reason to get out there.

Cheers!

— Reid

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