The best part about having a brother who is basically an itinerant worker is that I can visit him in all the random places he goes. He’s been living in Santa Fe teaching outdoor science to kids for the past few months, and I was determined to visit him. For a city of just 73,000 people, Santa Fe boasts four breweries.
Being 90 degrees, sunny, and bone-dry most days, it’s no surprise locals like their brews. The first place Luke took me was the 2nd Street Brewery, mostly because we needed food too. He ranks it number 3 out of the 4 breweries. It’s the kind of place that has all the usual–amber, stout, bitter. Mid-sized brewpubs like this can (and usually do) fall in the the “good enough” category, but 2nd Street rates just over that. The bitter was really tasty–refreshing and complex, the burger was high-quality (though the organic option for $1 extra was a bit odd) and they were happy to bring sample sizes of everything. They don’t bottle, so we had to get our fill that night. The Kolsch was fantastic too–this style seems to be having a resurgence and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. We listened to two terrible bands in a row, but since we were lucky enough to score seats outside on the edge of the restored Santa Fe railyard, we were perfectly happy. It was a great place to spend a warm evening and I suspect I’d be a regular here more than any of the other places if I lived here.
Brewery #2 (which is also the one Luke ranks 2nd place) is Marble Brewery. The Marble taproom is on the Plaza, which is the main tourist area of Santa Fe. It’s not just for tourists, though–certainly plenty of locals frequent the area as well. It’s just not big enough of a city to be able to segregate their tourists the way we do in San Francisco (a la Fisherman’s Wharf). I didn’t actually get a chance to visit the taproom, but Luke is a fan and you can grab a slice of pizza next door to have with your beer (which they let you bring in). Instead, we bought six-packs to drink at his house outside, since he actually lives on the Audubon Reserve. That night we were watching as the Los Alamos fire grew to consume 100,000 acres. It’s just an hour away and the ash was floating down on us as we barbequed and drank. The amber and the red are solid, tasty brews, with the red really standing out. I managed to pack a few bottles to take home to Joe. I also tried their Oatmeal Stout at a place called the Sleeping Dog Tavern. That was my favorite–it’s creamy and coffeeish without being bitter.
Although Luke ranks Blue Corn Cafe as fourth on his ranking of Santa Fe breweries, I suspect this is from lack of familiarity. They don’t bottle and it’s more of a sit down cafe than a drop in brewpub. Next time I would go and try to tour their brewery, if only for a shot at meeting their head brewer. Who wouldn’t want to meet that man?
Stay tuned for next time when we visit Santa Fe Brewery and buy a bottle of their Chicken Killer Barleywine!