Beer Notes: One taproom closes after another opens for first time

The lights are off for good at the Tractor Brewing taproom in Four Hills.

Well, that sure was an interesting few days over on social media. The reactions to our last couple of stories about the latest change to the governor’s health orders — no more indoor seating at breweries or restaurants starting today (Monday) — brought out a lot of fire and passion and plenty of debates among patrons and brewery owners alike.

Amid all that, there were a few small news items that we initially missed. Thankfully, we have Beer Notes to catch up on all of it.

Tractor closes its Four Hills taproom

A slight surprise arrived in an official email from Tractor Brewing on Friday afternoon — the Four Hills taproom was closing after the weekend. After noting that all Tractor locations would be switching to patio service Tuesday (all are closed Mondays), this is what followed:

“But, it is with a very heavy heart that we announce the closure of our Four Hills location. This weekend will mark our last two days of operation at this taproom. There are many reasons behind this closure. It is our location with the smallest patio and with our lease ending in August, it seems the best choice to close rather than extend with so many unknowns in the universe.

“It has been an honor to serve the Four Hills community. We love all of our loyal customers there so much and we could not have done it without you, and we are so sorry we cannot serve you in the future. Now, what this means for Tractor overall is simply we are pressing pause. It was a confluence of timing and circumstance that lead to this decision and our other four locations are still open and will remain so. We 100-percent support our Governor and the approach she has taken and do not blame her for the loss of this location. At this juncture what matters most is human life. We love you all and look forward to serving you in the future. We will get through this together. Please wear a mask and hoist a brew with us tonight or tomorrow in Four Hills.”

This marks the third offsite taproom to close in New Mexico since COVID-19 arrived in March, following Red Door’s Roswell location and Broken Trail’s tasting room at Green Jeans (though the latter had been planned for some time before the pandemic arrived).

Since none of us lived near that location, we did not frequent Four Hills that often. The couple of times I did go it was an enjoyable little spot, nice and laid back, to enjoy a pint. Heck, it’s where one of my oldest friends and I got to sit there and try to process The Rise of Skywalker after seeing it at the theater across the parking lot (and no, I still have not quite come to terms with the Disney trilogy, but that’s for another time and place to discuss).

To the staff members now out of work, we can only hope you find new employment sooner than later. It is tough out there right now, to put it mildly.

Roosevelt Brewing opens its first offsite location

While Tractor was closing one taproom, Portales’ Roosevelt was opening a new taproom in Clovis this past week. Located at 515 N. Main St. in the former Sutton’s Bakery, this is the first offsite location for Roosevelt.

Per this article from the Eastern New Mexico News via the Albuquerque Journal, Roosevelt owner Justin Cole had purchased the property eight years ago. He had originally envisioned opening his brewery there in his hometown, but decided Portales was a better option. Now he will have locations in both Eastern New Mexico towns.

In time, Cole said he hopes to restart the bakery as well, which should make for a wholly unique taproom experience. Freshly baked pastries and a pastry stout? That could really be a winning combination.

The patio-less breweries face a tough future

Breweries without patios like Second Alarm in Jemez Springs face an uncertain future.

With nothing else to do Sunday after the North London Derby was over, I hopped in my car and headed for cooler temps in the Jemez Mountains. Along the way to Valles Caldera, I finally stopped at Second Alarm Brewhouse. The kolsch and the burger I had were quite good, and I found it to be a charming little spot along Highway 4 in Jemez Springs. Sadly, I also noticed there was no patio here (and no room for one, either), which means Second Alarm has to go back to takeout only.

Most breweries have some sort of patio setup, and a couple more are already in the process of adding theirs in Kilt Check and Palmer. Our new writer will have more on the breweries that have taken advantage of the new Albuquerque regulations that allow them to expand their existing patios later this week, but rather than list every place with a patio, here are a few that we know of heading into a tough spot (if there are more, please let us know, especially for breweries outside of the ABQ metro area).

  • Alien Brew Pub
  • Boese Brothers Brewpub on Tramway
  • Kilt Check Brewing (though one is in the works)
  • Lizard Tail Brewing
  • Palmer Brewery (though one is in the works)
  • Red Door in Clovis
  • Second Alarm Brewhouse in Jemez Springs

In addition, we have learned that Second Street will be keeping the original location, “The Oldery” open for beer service on the patio and for beer to-go, but is closing the kitchen there. The kitchen will remain open at Rufina for patio service and takeout orders. Rufina is back in action after a COVID-19 scare caused it to temporarily close.

Speaking of scares avoided, Steel Bender is back open for patio service and takeout. We are still awaiting for an “all clear” over at Nexus Brewery.

Oh, and Bosque has once again closed the Las Cruces Public House across from New Mexico State. Its other locations, including Restoration Pizza, will remain open for patio service and beer/food to-go orders.

If there is anything important that we have missed, please drop us a line via social media direct messaging or email us at nmdarksidebrewcrew@gmail.com.

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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