This is a continuation of my adventures in Santa Fe. Read Part One here.
I couldn’t decide which of these next two beverage places was my favorite, so I decided to do them both in one post and just say this: if you are ever in Santa Fe, make time to visit them.
The Santa Fe Brewing Company is on the outskirts of town, on a frontage road past a bunch of warehouses. It reminded me quit a lot of Firestone-Walker’s location, complete with bikers and dogs out front. Inside is a simple tap room. It’s not a bar and there is no food, just four bar stools, a row of Santa Fe taps, and a chalkboard. The sun was just starting to set, so Luke and I took our beers outside in the just-fading outrageous heat to grab some pictures of the fires raging just a few miles away.
Far and away the best beer I had of the trip was their Imperial Java Stout. Luke had been scouring the city for a six-pack of it so I would be able to try, but everywhere was out–it’s seasonal, and definitely not a summer one. Luckily for us the tap room was pouring the last of it. It’s rich and chocolatey, with a strong coffee flavor but no bitterness. If you’ve ever cold-brewed your coffee, it’s a bit like that. Luke was so excited to have hunted down the last of this beer that he went and found an old growler in the back of his truck and got the bartender to fill it for him. Unless, of course, that’s illegal in New Mexico, in which case he definitely didn’t. I managed to get some bottles of their Nut Brown and some cans (!) of their Happy Camper IPA home to Joe. The Happy Camper is good, but not notable to me. Perfect for drinking around a summer campfire, though, obviously. The nut brown was awesome. If this was available to me regularly, it could become my go-to beer.
The second best beverage I had wasn’t beer at all–it was chocolate. The Kakawa Chocolate House is just a bit away from downtown, but still on a main road. It’s just like a coffee shop inside, but it’s all chocolate: drinking chocolate, chocolate truffles, chocolate ice cream…this is what my heaven looks like. They’ll even give you samples of the drinking chocolate so you know which one you like. Drinking chocolate is made with melted chocolate (duh) and either water, milk, or a milk substitute like rice milk, and sometimes some extra ingredients like orange peel or rose water. We chose a flavor called Americano that was one of the simplest: just water and chocolate. It was divine. In fact, it was so good that I continued to drink it despite being nearly unconscious from altitude sickness (Santa Fe is at 7200 ft–I live at sea level). And then I came back the next day for another glass. Luke was kind enough to share that first one with me.
And yes, if you’re a burly man with a moustache, you might look slightly ridiculous drinking out of this tiny cup. But if you do it with confidence and style, you could inspire people around the world to run out and buy their ticket to Santa Fe after reading this post, to get their own tiny cup of amazing chocolate. And to start growing that mustache they’ve been meaning to get around to.