Monday, September 17, 2012
Beers of New Mexico
Monk's Ale from Abbey Beverage Co in Abiquiu, New Mexico is first up. Dark amber ale that's cloudy and a light Belgian yeast spice in the nose. Average Belgian pale ale that's pleasant enough but not achieving enlightenment.
Abbey Beverage is a business of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, a Benedictine monastery if I'm reading it correctly. Even if the beer isn't heavenly, it's good to help with God's work.
With a left turn at Albuquerque, I pour a Marble Brewery Red Ale and found a bit more bite. Deep maroon ale full of west coast hop smell. MB website says Crystal, Cascade and Simcoe hops. Maybe should have grabbed another one.
Heading east to Moriarty, NM, next is Rio Grande Pancho Verde Chili Cerveza. Not a fan of chili beers in general, this water yellow ale does little to change my mind. As the website promises, the mild roasted chili doesn't overwhelm and has a fresh chili that actually improves a bit when it warms--a rare quality in a chili beer. However, I think I would have to be in the full heat of a New Mexico summer to find myself reaching for this bottle.
I saved the Happy Camper IPA from Santa Fe Brewing as the last one. Just guessing the hoppy beer would be my favorite. Not bad. A darker than expected amber IPA with an off white head. Earthy nose that has plenty of hops--no backing off the bitterness here. Taste is strong but the hops are a bit grassy with a caramel sweetness that's a bit muddled. A serviceable IPA that I would be glad to drink if I found myself on site in Santa Fe, but not going to bring this one back to Minnesota again.
Overall, my small sample of New Mexico beer was pretty good, and better than I predicted. In 2003, while driving back from the Grand Canyon, I stopped at High Desert Brewing and was pleasantly surprised with a very good stop. So, New Mexico has been working on good brew for a while now and it seems that it has expanded. If I find myself in New Mexico in the future, I think there will be some optimism for beer hunting.
Thanks Robin for the New Mexico sampler!