Beer Notes: Resurrections, closures, brewers-on-the-move and more

Artesia’s second brewery is sadly no more. (Photo courtesy of Hopscotch Brewing)

The news items are piling up around here, so let us start the week with what is going on around the New Mexico craft brewing scene.

We’re not dead yet

After we published our story about Eske’s Brew Pub and Eatery meeting an untimely demise after 27 years, we were eventually contacted by Mark Hoffman, who is apparently the owner of the Taos brewery. Per Mark, Eske’s is not deader than dead, but it will instead be resurrected at a new location with a new setup, and possibly a new name.

Eske’s 2.0 will be at 605 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, which is further north up Taos’ main road, past the Burger Stand at Taos Ale House, near Cid’s Food Market and Taos Pizza Out Back. This new location will be a combined brewery and homebrew store, Mark said, and will have a permanent food truck instead of an on-site kitchen (similar to what Red Door has down here at its Candelaria brewery in ABQ). The brewery will also be changing its name to Sangre de Cristo Brewing Company. That name predated Eske’s when original owner Steve Eskeback brewed for the Embudo Station restaurant from 1989-92, before opening Eske’s near the Taos Plaza.

So far we are still waiting to see a new pending small brewer license to replace the one that went inactive a few months ago. When that happens, we will know for sure that SDCBC/Eske’s 2.0 is officially happening.

OK, we are dead

The last time the Crew visited Southeast New Mexico, we hit up three breweries still in operation — Roosevelt (Portales), The Wellhead (Artesia), Milton’s (Carlsbad) — and one that was nearing its end, Desert Water Brewing on the northern outskirts of Artesia. When Desert Water finally did close its doors a few months later, the property it occupied did not remain without a brewery for long. Hopscotch Brewing took over the location, but sadly, we learned that late last month it suffered the same fate as its predecessor.

In a long post on Facebook, the owners declared that being the sole operators of the brewery was taking too heavy of a toll on their family, and it was time to close up shop. This represents an aspect of small-town brewing life that we had never considered before. Around this same time, we saw a post from Blü Dragonfly Brewing in Cimarron that it was shutting down until September due to not having enough people on staff.

Here in Albuquerque or in a good-sized locale such as Santa Fe or Las Cruces, there seems to be an endless stream of front-of-house employees to man the taps and provide table service. In smaller towns, that is clearly not always the case.

The owners of Blü Dragonfly have assured the masses that they will reopen the brewpub after Labor Day weekend, but this will be something to monitor at all the small-town breweries around the state now and in the future.

Brewers on the move

For those who had not heard, which included us until recently, head brewer Dave Kimbell has left Bombs Away Beer Co. and joined the staff at Sidetrack Brewing. Since Bombs Away is still releasing beers, there appears to be a new brewer in place, but he or she has not been publicly identified yet. We will be sitting down with Dave soon to talk about the reasons behind his move.

We can also note that another head brewer will be switching up his work shirts from one place in town to another. Since it has not gone fully public yet, we will keep it under wraps, but there is a chance we will have the story as soon as Tuesday. Go ahead and fire up the guessing machine if you are so inclined.

Got news on any other brewers changing jobs? Email it to us at the address listed at the end of this article.

Developments on the beer front

Ain’t no party like a pilsner party!

Just in case folks were zipping past the Lava Rock Brewing listing in The Week Ahead in Beer, due to its past lack of any beers to report being on tap, double back and check it out. Lava Rock now has a full beer lineup on tap, which should pair nicely with the M’tucci’s food coming out of the kitchen now. Beers range from the Butte Blonde (5% ABV) to the 32 Bravo DIPA (8% ABV).

Meanwhile, Canteen Brewhouse is taking over the role of brewing the official beer of the New Mexico State Fair. This Thursday will mark the release of the State Fair Pilsner, a German-style pils that should more than satisfy the masses. There will be a release party from 2 to 6 p.m.

New brewery and offsite taproom updates

It is fairly quiet out there after the earlier rush of openings in May/June. Two breweries now have active small brewer licenses, but are not ready to open just yet. Our man Reid is on the lookout for Piedra Blanca Brewing, which is listed as opening soon in White Rock, the little town next to Los Alamos. Reid said the owners are former members of the Bathtub Brewing Co-op who have apparently set out on their own.

Up in the northwest part of the state, Lauter Haus Brewing now has an active license. Head brewer Brandon Beard, formerly of Three Rivers Brewery, said he is getting ready to start brewing the first batches of beer while the finishing touches are applied to the taproom. We will try to head up there in advance to write up a full preview.

On the offsite taproom front, and sure to keep Reid even busier, is the news that Boese Brothers’ taproom in Los Alamos now has an active license. We should have a final preview of that location soon, but if you missed Reid’s last story, then here you go.

Picacho Peak is stretching beyond Las Cruces, preparing to open its taproom in the heart of Alamogordo at 902 N. New York Ave. Its license is now active, but we await the official announcement that it is opening.

As for new licenses, we can confirm that Santa Fe Brewing has acquired a winegrower license, which means it can use an offsite winegrower license for its forthcoming taproom at the Tin Can Alley development that is under construction on the southeast corner of Alameda and San Pedro.

* * * * *

That is all from us today. If you know of any news related to the craft beer scene in New Mexico, send us an email at, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


— Stoutmeister

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Terry Tetreault says:

    Have you determined whether Mark Hoffman is actually the owner of the Taos brewery?

    1. cjax33 says:

      Not officially, no. Working on it.

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