When last we left the blog, I was traveling west, trying beers as I crossed the great state of Texas. My first stop was in Austin for lunch where my good friends at the new North by Northwest southern location are producing some beautiful beers, including a Russian Imperial Stout called Splintercat that is big and roasty but goes down smooth when poured on the nitro tap.
As we headed west, we also visited the unique Eola Brewery, where the brewer/owner/cook/handyman/engineer/host James Cannon is putting out some very drinkable ales. The building itself is an experience, with stories to tell in nearly every room and James is happy to share them all!
Crossing the border into New Mexico, we spent a few days in Albuquerque, where we spent a day touring breweries and wineries.At Canteen Brew House (formerly known as Il Vicino Brewhouse), I started off with a hearty lunch featuring a locally sourced meat & cheese plate and a great posole (a pork and hominy stew flavored with red chiles). I paired that with a very tasty IPA that was brewed using Equinox hops, as well as their award winning Wet Mountain IPA, which is a year-round favorite.Both were beautifully balanced, with the Equinox IPA bringing a lemony, tropical fruit note to the aroma and flavor.
Later that day, I stopped in at Marble Brewery, which was named Small Brewing Company of the year at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, winning gold medals for their Imperial Red and Double White. I got to savor a range of Marble’s offerings, including the Double White, which is basically a big, boozy Witbier, featuring the coriander and orange notes expected of the style, along with a smooth and slightly tart wheat malt character all wrapped up with a 7% ABV punch!
Just northeast of Albuquerque, Santa Fe is a smaller, more touristy destination that also features some great beers.Blue Corn Brewery is located on the road into town and their most recent claim to fame was a 2014 GABF gold medal for their Oatmeal Stout.Dark and roasty, with the added mouthfeel you’d expect from the oats, it was a perfect end to a tasty lunch, almost worthy of being called “dessert in a glass!”
However, for me the highlight of the trip was a nearly perfect lunch at Second Street Brewery’s Railyard location.I tried out their beer sampler, which offered me some exceptional British-style ales: Mild, two Bitters and a Pale Ale, a citrus-laden IPA (a personal favorite when it comes to IPA’s) and an exotic barrel aged Belgian-style stout.It went perfectly with their New Mexico Farmer’s Plate, which had perfectly cooked lamb sausages paired with a perfumy watercress salad, local cheeses and house-made chutneys.My wife and I ate well on this trip, but this meal and the beers were my favorites.
On the way home, we made a lunch stop in Lubbock, Texas at the Triple J Chophouse for their tasty beers (their Raider Red is named for Texas Tech’s sports teams) and a bit of Texas comfort food, a chicken fried steak!All in all, a very successful beer trip that let me sample over 30 different beers, with nary a bad one in the bunch!I’d have loved to have more time enjoying (and bigger samples of) every beer, but I’d have never made it home!
Bev Blackwood II is the Southwest Brewing News Contributing Editor for Texas and has been covering Texas beers for 17 years An award winning home brewer, Bev has also brewed professionally at St. Arnold Brewing Company and was part of the team that brought home Saint Arnold’s first Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2007. A long time member of Houston’s premiere homebrew club, the Foam Rangers, Bev teaches their Beer Judge Certification Program course and has also taught at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.