NM IPA Challenge

New Mexico has beer, top notch beer.  The final IPA beer challenge was held at Steelbender Brewing.  Good beer and food and a monstrous parking lot to hold all 300 participants to test IPAs.  Many good ones, only 3 great ones, and some though not have been there at all.  One was a Pilsener and several were Belgians that had way more banana ester flavors than hops  



Sandia Crest Trail and Red Door Brewing

The drive of 25 miles to the backside of the Sandia Mountains takes you 1500 feet or more above the ABQ desert floor.  Alas, the temps are cooler, the vegetation is green, the place is peaceful.  I enjoy parking at Sulphur Canyon trailhead and heading the 3 miles up to the Sandia Crest Trail and enjoying the view and cooler air.  And, you never know who you may meet... The trail is 'advertised' as bear and mountain lion country.  

MOTEL SOCO - Pagosa Springs CO

Motel SOCO represents a new concept in motels.  With 15 remodeled rooms, the emphasis will be on groups of friends who want to book the motel for extended stays from a few  days to longer.  Healthy lifestyles are part of the program for mountain biking, running/hiking groups, river people for floating and fishing.  Pagosa is stashed nicely in south central Colorado directly on US 160 25 miles West of Wolf Creek Pass and 60 some miles east of Durango and 2 and a half hours from Santa Fe and about 3 and a half fromABQ. Surrounded by high mountains, Pagosa Springs is an outdoor playground in all directions.  

MOTEL SOCO - Pagosa Springs, CO

Pints, Pools, Pleasures in Pagosa 

Drink It Intern Explore Beer Application Video

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Drink It Intern Explore Beer Application Video

Horse Gulch Trails and SKA Brewing Taproom - Durango CO

Durango is a trail town. Mountain biking and water sports are king and queen but trail running and hiking are a close second as prince and princess.  Horse Gulch is a favorite for easy access from town and provides challenging terrain, spectacular views in all directions once on the Raider ridge section and there is no shortage of distances or hours to limit your fun.  A February cold front slid through and dropped enough snow so by the time the sun hit it the next day and as the temps roared into the mid thirties with a cold wind, the sun had melted most of the snow and the dirt upon which it had fallen had turned to mud.  Not sure if the boulder had fallen onto the trail overnight or from recent warm temps - but glad I wasn't on the trail at the time of the drop.  My underwear would have never been the same!  I love the steep of these trails - the Gulch is nice and mellow but there are access points to run up to reach Raider Ridge and get the worthy views of the Animas Valley, the town of Durango and the La Plata Mountains.  Not as well known as other mountain ranges in Colorado - they are high, get lots of snow, have many extreme challenges, and can be a beautiful place to try and get lost!  Don't, or you will miss the good breweries in town that await.

Better to be in a tasting room than have mountain rescue out looking for you.  Impossible to get lost up Horse Gulch!  I headed over to Ska Brewing's tap room.  Plenty of beers and a few guest taps, food, music and always an upbeat crowd.  After the rocky trail and all the up and down, I opt for a hoppy beer as the hops are good for joint inflammation.  Good thing I love hops so I can drink the Hop Ivy for double duty of enjoyment and medicinal purposes.


Horse Gulch Trails - Durango CO

(Click on the Garmin link provided to view terrain map - hit the runner icon to enlarge for details - go and enjoy.) Durango has many miles of trails easily accessible from town for hiking, mountain biking and trail running.  Horse Gulch is a favorite as it get me far from the madding crowds of Durango in a short time, provides interesting challenging terrain, great views into town and of the La Plata Mountains.  For mountain bikers, their is even a tool and air pump station right at the trailhead. Free parking for about 15 cars.  Beautiful anytime and any season. I encountered lots of mud so if it is wet, wear your mud gear.

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East Fork of the San Juan River and Riff Raff Brewing

After a cold snowy January, Mother Nature, as is her custom, has evened herself out and is providing perfect February weather beyond belief! After hard hitting snowstorms, wind, snow piling up deep day after day with no relief in sight and then... temps so warm, it is almost, and is, shorts weather.  The sun so bright it starts melting every snowy surface it can find facing south and leaves deep dark shadows where it is blocked by the forest and mountainsides.  Ten miles east of Pagosa Springs, the East and West forks of the San Juan river come together.  The trailhead for winter activities is about a mile off Highway 160 and is well marked.  The dirt road, in the early February sun the day I was there, was a sloppy, slushy muddy mess.  Always fun!

Activities include, snowmobiling, dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and winter running.  The top several inches had 'corned up' and was soft enough under foot to make running slow but is so cushiony soft that it is easy on the joints and quite enjoyable.  Never know whom or what you will see...

Later, I found my way down the hill in Pagosa with my scheduled stop to take Brewers Crew Magazines to Riff Raff Brewing, have lunch and a couple of good beers while chatting with Madeline, who is on the marketing team as well as one of the bartenders.  She is also a part time brewer there as she gets to be in charge of the 'Outlaw Tap,' a small batch of her own concoction with the resulting flavors a bit of a fun mystery.  i tried it!  A single hop is what she had on and it was somewhere between a nice IPA and a cream soda with a bit of sweetness.

Trail post; Directions - click on link, get image of trail and click on runner icon and get more info.
<iframe src='https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/embed/1567300605' title='Pagosa Springs Running' width='465' height='500' frameborder='0'></iframe>


Beast Imperial IPA 

Beast Imperial IPA 

Riff Raff I was taking a quaff!  (take on Bobby Darin's 1958 song 'Splish Splash' - I was taking a bath...) This beer is titled a Beast but it is an easy drinking (quaffing) delightful IPA.  Yum.  Had the opportunity to take a beautiful February day to go to Pagosa Springs and visit Riff Raff.  First on tap (for me) was running up Forest Service Road 667 along the East Fork of the San Juan River.  Ten miles East of Pagosa Springs on way toward Wolf Creek Pass is the turnoff for FS Road 667.  In winter it is closed about a mile up and becomes a snowmobile, dog sled, cross country skiing snowshoeing, or, since the snow is packed down - a great scenic road on which to run!  Story and more pics to be continued 

Three Gun Trail on Super Sunday

Located on the South Sandia Crest, Three Gun Trail goes up a desert canyon, switchbacks up to a saddle and then continues into the forests.  Beautiful views await those who make it to the upper part of the trail to an elevation of 8,000 feet.

Click on link below for trail map, elevations, my blistering pace (ha ha) and other information.

<iframe src='https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/embed/1560066049' title='Albuquerque Running' width='465' height='500' frameborder='0'></iframe>


February Brews News

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I like to build a thirst, first for water, then for a nice follow up ale for enjoyment and medicinal purposes.  Hops are known for their anti-inflammatory properties so they are good for post trail running therapy.   Trail running in Northern New Mexico can be a snowy, muddy, wet mess which I find to be exciting and fun.  One perfect place for trails is above the Ojo Caliente Hot Springs.  Indians new why this spot was hot!  Great mineral springs, a small river for fertile growing areas, protection, nicer climate than the higher mountains and snow free most of the time.  To be continued... click on above link to see part of the trail system above Ojo.  They have 4 New Mexico beers on tap at the bar!  

News flash!!  New species of Odocoileus hemionus 

With the emergence of the micro brewing industry, some mule deer are undergoing the process of speciation (evolution before our very eyes) - 'Graindeer.'  - the subspecies - Odocoileus hemionus hoppytoesus - as a wildlife ecologist I have always wanted to name a species!  Notice that New Mexicans are discovering Crestone Brewing in Crestone Colorado.  To discover their good beer and eats - 37 miles north of Alamosa on Highway 17 to Moffat CO and 13 miles east to Crestone.  

News flash!!  New species of Odocoileus hemionus 
"Graindeer" recycling spent grain from Crestone Brewing - notice NM beer drinkers are discovering Crestone Brewing. Good, hiking, sightseeing, next to art gallery and natural grocery store. Great beer and food. What more could you want?

DryPA - Blue Corn Brewing - Santa Fe

Dry ingredients of beer - roasted barley malt grains and hops - add yeast and water! - hint - a bit more to making beer than that! Serious beer connoisseurs may even want to taste the ingredients.  Roasted barley has a wonderfully sweet flavor.  The hops have a unique flavor also because of their resins that will nicely bitter your favorite beers.  Worth a chew!  I like them dry.  Eat the barley, but I would suggest spitting out the hop flower after flavor is removed!  Bon Hoppetite!  

DryPA - Blue Corn Brewing - Santa Fe

Santa Fe Tasting Room - Green Jeans complex - I-40 and Carlisle.  

The shipping container complex has plenty of eats, treats, and shopping.  Outdoor seating always available when the sun is shining which is most of the time during the day!
A bit of a maze to get in and out of the place.  Many motel rooms nearby if traveling through ABQ and need a place to hang your hats and quench thy thirst.  

ESKE'S Brewpub and Eatery - Taos, NM

Under new ownership after 22 years, Eske's is making changes to keep the favorites flowing and bring on many new styles.  With brewers that know their trade, new owners with a passion to own a great brewpub, serve good food, and have music and other fun events at their venue, the new Eske's will be a score any time you are in Taos.  To be continued...

Christmas Eve at The 377 Brewery

Riff Raff Brewing Company - Pagosa Springs CO featuring EARTH Powered beers!

I parked in front of Riff Raff Brewing on a pleasant early December afternoon, opened my door and there sat a penny on the pavement.  Picked it up, placed it in my pocket, took several exterior photos of the brewery and walked in the front door.  I met Randy, one of the owners, who was behind the bar.  I introduced myself as one of the Brewers Crew writers.  Wow, does that open doors!  After chatting for a bit about the brewery, their beers, talk got around to how they heat the building and the water for their beer.  Across the street is the world's deepest hot spring, a giant round turquoise colored sulphur steaming pond.  He invited me behind the bar and opened the trap door on the floor!  Down it lead into the dungeon, one in which Edgar Allan Poe would certainly turn into a tale of mystery and imagination.  Randy took me to the back room to see the sophisticated piping system where water comes the several hundred yards from the Spring at 141 degrees F and enters their building at 137.  As Randy and one of his employees shared stories about the water, the brewing, and the multi purpose uses of their building since 1896, they mentioned mortuary. "Oh," I said, "that means there must be ghosts."
"As a matter of fact," Randy said, " yes there is one. Her name is Arabelle  (sp?) and she has a habit with pennies.  If she likes you she will toss pennies at you.  We have had customers get hit with pennies on numerous occasions.  And I had to plunge the toilet in the restroom and there was a penny under the plunger when I picked it up!"  Read their story at riffraff brewing.com.  Arabelle had apparently invited me in as long as I mentioned her.  The penny was a 1978 D so it was minted in Denver the year I turned 21. Significant date?  To her. or me?  That's my story!  Go see Riff Raff Brewing - great local food and beer and always an upbeat crowd - and all with stories!

Ohhh!  The beers.  I sampled all of them but filled my growler with Hopgoblin APA. They accurately describe their beers on the website (some breweries do not!)

Enchanted Circle Brewing

Angel Fire could be considered remote brewing but with perfect water, years of brewing experience, and the tools with which to make good beer, Enchanted Brewing comes through.  Angel Fire is quiet in the off season.  All the more reason to drive the Enchanted Circle and stop by the brewery for good food and beer...  Beer reviews to follow soon.  Be careful driving after dark as the deer and elk are plentiful on all roads leading to and from Angel Fire.  Salud!  

Crestone Brewing - Crestone Colorado

Located at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado, Crestone is blessed with perfect water for brewing, a small town setting, cool people and now great beer combined with local food, including yak.  One of the routes of the Old Spanish Trail goes through Crestone as the mountain streams are unique.  The water is pure and clean but the central part of this valley does not have all the streams flowing out of the mountains combining to make a river.  They all disappear underground.  So the traders on the trail had to hug the mountain bases to be near water for themselves and their animals.  To be continued... in  the meantime crestonebrewingco.com

Atalaya Mountain Trail and Second Street Brewery - Railyard Location

Santa Fe has a lot of mountain trails but not always easy to find.  A maze of streets will get you to St. Johns College and the trailhead.  Atalaya Mountain is about 7 miles round trip and in places - deceptively steep.  Coronado sent his conquistadors up it to get 'the lay of the land'  in the early 1540s.   Enjoy expansive views of the Ortiz, Sandias, and Jemez Mountains while trekking up the southern end of the Sangre de Cristos that arc 200 plus miles, nearly unbroken, deep into Colorado!

Second Street Brewery at the Railyard  is my choice as it is near the Sage Motel.  Great seating indoor and out at the brewery, always has good energy with customers and knowledgable staff. Watch the trains roll by!  Meeting regulars and beer trekkies who are traveling through Santa Fe can lead to intellectual discussions on all subjects from beer to sports to travel and beyond...

La Luz Trail and Nob Hill breweries/tap rooms.

The La Luz Trail, accessed from Tramway boulevard is a spectacular trail.  Elevation gain, views, wildlife and plant diversity any time of the year.  Trail gets heavy use for good reason.  Good dog walking trail but no water in stream beds.
Post Hike - if Nob Hill is your destination -a good selection of beers can be found.  Bosque Brewing has wonderful IPAs and a sample of their lager is wonderfully crisp and light for after a hike.  Or head to Tractor, study the New Mexico Beer Map and try their samples.  And Kaktus Brewing is close by with excellent brews.  For the ultimate New Mexico Beer tour in a one stop - pop into Matanza where there are 100 beers on tap, all from New Mexico.  A one stop New Mexico Beer Tour! 

Frederic Remington's Fight for the Waterhole

Frederic Remington's Fight for the Waterhole

One of my favorite photos of the American West showing how precious our water resources are - respect and conserve water.  Our brewers need it!   

Introducing New Mexico Trails and Ales

Craft Breweries are now a part of the New Mexico landscape, numbering in the 80s and growing!  This blog will be dedicated to lifestyles in New Mexico, the locals who live in the state, and travelers visiting the state who enjoy what New Mexico has to offer and seek out good beer. The word is getting out so cheers to all workers in the craft beer industry who are making it happen!   I enjoy going into brewpubs or tap rooms, sampling all the styles and meeting people who freely share their passions about their work, families, recreation and their favorite styles of beer. See ya at the next waterhole.  Check out Frederic Remington's painting - Fight for the Waterhole.  Let's keep this precious new gift to New Mexico going strong.


Brew Dog

Brew Dog
Introducing Brew Dog who knows a lot about beer! He will be rating beers on travels around the Southwest finding the good and new tasty brews and giving paws up to his favorite. He has four, paws that is...

Brew Dog at his local tavern 'barkscussing' (discussing in dog language) his opinions from his perch.  

An Awesome Blog About Outdoor Activities and Craft Beer