Archive for September 6, 2018

Red River was just as glorious as the pictures make it look.

Fall was suddenly and dramatically in the air recently as Dave and I trekked up north to visit some breweries we have been trying to visit for some time. We welcomed the cooler air and monsoonal rains as we made our way around arguably the most beautiful area of the state. Our plan was overly ambitious, and we knew that we were not going to get to everything we wanted to see with just one overnight stay in Taos. Sadly, some of our curiosity stays with us as we wait for another time, another adventure.

We did have a main goal, a must-do if you will. Having seen the amazing pictures online of Red River Brewing Company, we decided that would be our primary destination. If nothing else, we were bound and determined to make it to the brewery that was able to win the first round with its maiden entry into the NM IPA Challenge. An overall fourth place finish was also quite impressive.

Red River has one of the best atmospheres for a brewery in the state.

We were blown away. It’s even much, much nicer in person. Dave declared it the nicest brewery atmosphere in all of New Mexico and Arizona. We tried the winning entry, Bad Medicine DIPA. While not our style, it was easy to see why it impressed. Our pick of the sampler we ordered was the Amarillo SMASH.

When I was researching what route we wanted to take, I was looking at Google Maps and found something very interesting. A roadhouse-y kind of dive bar/beer hall in the middle of the northeastern part of the state. I guess technically it’s in Maxwell, but there is not much near there, for sure. Due to its name, I was fixated on getting there. The online reviews are great and it’s a 15-minute drive from Cimarron. The place, my friends, is Colfax Tavern & Diner at Cold Beer New Mexico. Let that sink in. Cold Beer New Mexico. Who the hell knew?

One of the more unique beer bars in the state can be found near Maxwell.

I saw a beer koozie on their website that I knew I needed to have. I bought one, so I am now a very proud owner. Speaking of owners, the owners of this place are incredibly welcoming. I even heard them telling another customer they had someone in there from Australia recently. I would be remiss if I did not mention that they have their “own” beer on tap — “Cold Beer.” But, it’s brewed by Full Sail in Oregon. The owner said nobody in New Mexico wanted to brew it for them. I am putting out the call, some Northern New Mexico brewery should step up and brew them a beer. This place is awesome. In fact, my personal opinion is (of course I do not know the possible reasons why this has not happened) that Colfax Ale Cellar in Raton should get together with them on this. They are neighbors, and Colfax is in the name, after all. Although we didn’t make it as far as Raton, I had one of their beers in Cimarron, a golden ale, and it was outstanding.

The beer isn’t quite ready yet, but the guest taps and the barbecue are reason enough to visit Blu Dragonfly in Cimarron.

I had the Colfax Rabbit Chaser Golden while having lunch at Blu Dragonfly Brewing and Smokehouse in Cimarron. Blu Dragonfly does not have its own beer on tap yet, but should have it on by Oktoberfest. The barbecue was outstanding, and that golden ale had just enough kick and a clean finish to cut through the richness of all the meat. I must admit to basically inhaling the mac and cheese as well …

Owner Colin is very civic minded. That day, Blu Dragonfly was welcoming all the bicycle racers in the race they organized with Philmont Scout Ranch. It was fun to cheer each racer as they came to the finish line and grabbed a much deserved beer (the riders were over 21, of course). Colin then surprised me by giving me one of their awesome pint glasses I was coveting. Thanks, Colin!

Don’t forget about Enchanted Circle in Angel Fire.

We took a different route on our way back to Taos and finally stopped at Enchanted Circle Brewing Company in Angel Fire. I forgot how beautiful that town is because I haven’t been there in forever. The Nice Day IPA was aptly named. We watched a massive rainstorm sweep through (the third or fourth of our trip already) and toasted to Zeus for bringing the weather.

It was time to get back to Taos and get settled into our hotel. We made one final trek that night to the Taos Mesa Brewing Tap Room near the plaza. It was our first trip to this location, though we have been to the Mothership outside of town. It is fantastic and not to be missed when in in Taos.

The Taos (Mesa) Tap Room in the heart of town is definitely worth the visit.

The next day, we made a few stops in Santa Fe on our way home to visit places that we cannot easily get to when we take the train. That day probably deserves its own story so I will save that for some other time.

Suffice it to say, it’s not just the weather that is getting cooler up north. The brew scene is as well. We cannot wait to get back up there to revisit our new favorites and visit the ones we missed.

Cheers!

— AmyO

The Red Door taproom in simpler times. And no, we don’t know what happened to all those floating red doors.

The abrupt closure of Red Door’s taproom at Wyoming and Comanche caught many people by surprise last Friday, but it had actually been the culmination of a month-long disagreement. During a stop at the main brewery to talk about the upcoming fourth anniversary party on Sept. 14, I learned a little more about the reason behind the taproom’s closure from owner Matt Biggs.

It all boiled down to a clause in the lease with 3517 Wyoming LLC, the landlord, that stated that Red Door would have the only taproom in the complex, Matt said. Meanwhile, next door, Poki Poki Cevicheria was expanding into adjacent suites in the building, but it was not a restaurant expansion. Poki Poki put in a boba bar in one suite, and what appeared to be a taproom in the next.

In the eyes of Red Door, that was a violation of the lease, Matt said. Red Door and the landlord tried to work a resolution for pretty much the entire month of August, but when they reached an impasse, Matt made the decision to shut down the taproom. Red Door filed a complaint in district court on Tuesday, beginning a lengthy legal process to reach a solution with 3517 Wyoming LLC. The LLC’s listed manager is Steve Coe, of the developer Coe & Peterson.

It is another sign of the difficulties in leasing commercial properties in Albuquerque.

To counter the bad news, Red Door also had some good news to share. Matt said the brewery recently signed an agreement for distribution with Premier.

“We balanced the pain of losing our taproom with this agreement,” Matt said.

For now, it will only be keg distribution, but Matt said “they want us to put the beer in cans.” That will take time to set up, but the current plan will be to start with Mother Road Mobile Canning and go from there. Matt and head brewer Matt Meier are working with Premier to figure out which beers to can, and then they will see what sells best and stick with that going forward.

We wish Red Door the best of luck going forward, both with distribution and with sorting out everything with its former taproom landlord. We will have more on the upcoming anniversary party next week.

Cheers!

— Stoutmeister