The global pandemic aside, this is truly patio season at all of our state’s craft breweries and offsite taprooms. The weather is (mostly) not too scorching hot, there occasional monsoon provides some cooling rain, and overall is a rather lovely time for a pint outdoors.
Of course, regardless of weather, that is all the breweries have right now in terms of letting customers drink on their property. This, plus the general lack of breaking news stories of late, started us down the path of coming up with a fair way to let the public determine which of those patios is the finest in all the Land of Enchantment.
Taking a cue from the NCAA Basketball Tournament, we figured a geographic breakdown into eight-brewery groups would be the best way to move this little series of polls forward. These groupings are by no means perfect, and in a few cases we had to make our own decisions over who gets in and who does not. The goal was to create an even number of entries, and in the end we came up with 12 groups, based around location and/or whether or not a place is a primary brewery or just an offsite taproom. Exceptions had to made from group to group to keep the numbers even.
Take note, there will be no “seeding” of breweries, and rather than one-on-one match-ups throughout, we are asking folks to vote in the opening round for their four favorites out of each group of eight. We not including breweries that have closed during the pandemic, or gone to takeout only, with one notable exception.
North and West: 550 Brewing (Aztec), Bathtub Row Brewing (Los Alamos), Chili Line Brewery (Santa Fe), Elkins Brewing (Grants), Lauter Haus Brewing (Farmington), Rowley Farmhouse Ales (Farmington), Santa Fe Brewing Headquarters, Second Street Brewery
- The notable omission here is Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington, which does not have a patio. As they have been doing takeout only, we did not include Blue Corn Brewery or Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery. We could not pick between which Second Street location has the better patio, so here is our “play-in” poll to make that determination.
North and East: Beer Creek Brewing, Blü Dragonfly Brewing (Cimarron), Blue Heron Brewing (Rinconada), Colfax Ale Cellar (Raton), Comanche Creek Brewing (Eagle Nest), Enchanted Circle Brewing (Angel Fire), Red River Brewing, Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership
- Yes, we know that Taos Mesa is closed after the recent fire, but the patio was not damaged, so we still want to show them a little love from the masses. No best patio poll would be complete without it.
South and East: Bonito Valley Brewing (Lincoln), Cloudcroft Brewing, Drylands Brewing (Lovington), Guadalupe Mountain Brewing (Carlsbad), Lost Hiker Brewing (Ruidoso), Milton’s Brewing (Carlsbad), Sierra Blanca Brewing (Moriarty), The Wellhead (Artesia)
- We confess we have not been to many of these places, so it will be very interesting to see how the public votes in this region.
South and West: 575 Brewing (Alamogordo), High Desert Brewing (Las Cruces), Hub City Brewing (Belen), Icebox Brewing (Las Cruces), Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery (Silver City), Picacho Peak Brewing (Las Cruces), Spotted Dog Brewery (Mesilla), Truth or Consequences Brewing
- This group fit together rather nicely, with Hub City the only possible exception, but we had to put ’em somewhere.
ABQ Metro Suburbs: Ale Republic (Cedar Crest), Bosque North (Bernalillo), Brew Lab 101 (Rio Rancho), Casa Vieja (Corrales), Cazuela’s Brewery (Rio Rancho), Ex Novo Brewing (Corrales), Kaktus Brewing (Bernalillo), Turtle Mountain Brewing (Rio Rancho)
- We could have tried to wedge in the Los Ranchos breweries here, but we are limiting this to Sandoval County establishments.
ABQ North and West: Boxing Bear Brewing, Desert Valley Brewing, Hops Brewery, La Reforma Brewery, Lava Rock Brewing, Red Door Brewing, Steel Bender Brewyard, Toltec Brewing
- For our purposes, this group is everything west of Interstate 25 and north of Interstate 40 within Bernalillo County. And yes, we realize that neither Desert Valley nor Hops brew at those locations, but DV does not sell beer directly from its brewhouse site, and Hops’ main brewing location is currently closed to the public.
ABQ North and East: Broken Trail Brewery and Distillery, B2B Garden Brewery, Canteen Brewhouse, La Cumbre Brewing, Marble Heights Brewery, Nexus Brewery, Palmer Brewery and Cider House, Starr Brothers Brewing
- Broken Trail only sells its beer directly out of the Uptown location, so we are including it here. As Marble brews at the Heights Taproom, we are including it here rather than with the offsite taprooms below.
ABQ South and East: Bombs Away Brewing, Differential Brewing, Gravity Bound Brewing, High and Dry Brewing, Quarter Celtic Brewpub, Thirsty Eye Brewing, The 377 Brewery, Turquoise Trail Brewing
- Yeah, we had to get a little creative and shift Gravity Bound and Thirsty Eye to this group to keep the numbers even. They were the two newest places that could be part of the next group, so they got bumped by lack of seniority (yeah, that’s our story and we’re sticking to it).
ABQ Downtown/Wells Park/Sawmill: Boese Brothers Brewing, Bow & Arrow Brewing, Dialogue Brewing, Marble Brewery, Ponderosa Brewing, Rio Bravo Brewing, Sidetrack Brewing, Tractor Brewing Wells Park
- This is a fairly straightforward group.
ABQ Offsite Taprooms West: Boxing Bear West Downtown, El Vado Taproom (Ponderosa), La Cumbre Westside, Marble Westside, Nexus Blue Smokehouse, Red Door Downtown, Restoration Pizza (Bosque), Tractor Westside
- These are all the offsite taprooms located west of I-25 in Albuquerque.
ABQ Offsite Taprooms East: Boxing Bear Tramway, Canteen Tramway, Enchanted Circle in the 505, Quarter Celtic Juan Tabo, Rock Canyon (Lizard Tail), Santa Fe Green Jeans, Santa Fe Tin Can Alley, Tractor Nob Hill
- These are all the offsite taprooms located east of I-25 in Albuquerque.
Offsite Taprooms beyond ABQ: Boese Brothers Los Alamos, Bosque Las Cruces Public House, Bosque Las Cruces Telshor, Drylands Hobbs, Icebox Picacho Avenue, Little Toad Creek Las Cruces, Red Door Clovis, Truth or Consequences Las Cruces
- These are all the taprooms in towns outside the metro area.
So our goal is to try to run two polls per day in articles as we narrow down the lists. We know most of our readers are here in the ABQ metro area, so if you have friends in other towns around the state, please forward the story links.
The first two polls will run Thursday. Any questions, comments, or suggestions? Please contact us through social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org.