It always perplexes me when I am at a micro brewery and I see someone order a macro brew from one of the big three. And the dude didn’t just do it once, but three times he ordered a Coors Light. I thought about asking him if there was something wrong with him, but I kept my questions to myself. Mostly because it meant more handcrafted beer for me and clearly there was something wrong with him. Who orders watered down crap beer anyways?
San Luis Valley Brewing was an unplanned stop. I had a few extra hours in the day and while driving to our final destination for the day their billboard on the side of the highway encouraged me to make the stop. OK, really it does not take much to encourage me to stop when I see the word “brewery”.
When I pulled into the small town of Alamosa I was instantly reminded of my hometown. Just like my town, the streets are filled with late 1800’s to early 1900 brick buildings creating instant charm.
The brewery, located on the corner of Main and San Juan Avenue, is one of the brick buildings, built in 1897. The building originally housed a bank and a drugstore. Years passed and the building was renovated in 1997, returning it to its former glory. The renovation exposed the original brick and returned the windows back to the period appropriate style. In 2006 the brewery and pub moved into the building and have been kicking out beer ever since.
I walked into the brewery and found a wide open space with bar seating and tables sprinkled about. The hostess sat me away from the bar at a corner table. I was instantly out of my element, as I prefer to sit at the bar. It was not her fault as I did not tell her of my preference, but nonetheless I was out of my element. I like the bar seating, mostly because of its proximity to the tab, but also as a solo person I can usually chat with the bartender or other fellow solo people. Instead I awkwardly stared around the room, catching glimpses of the guy who kept ordering Coors Light, which kept me entertained while I waited for my beer.
The Valle Caliente was my first beer of the day. A chili and spiced beer with a 4.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) and a 20 International Bittering Unit (IBU). This beer is a Mexican lager style with Hatch Green Chilies used for flavor. The chili flavor is prevalent however not overbearing. This beer is quite delightful and refreshing, and would be a great beer for a summery hot day. I liked this beer a lot and was sadden to see its low rating on Rate Beer. I don’t use the Rate Beer site very often, but sometimes I check it out when I am trying to decide what beer to get when I am at a new brewery. It looks like this beer receives more love from the beer drinkers on Beer Advocate and Untappd.
I decided to skip food, although the menu looked to be full of tasty options. Pricing was a little on the higher end but the menu wasn’t filled with typical pub food. Ribs, salmon, New York Steak and bacon wrapped filet mignon are found on the menu. However don’t let the fanciness scare you away, there are burgers, nachos and sandwiches available for those looking to be less fancy.
My last beer of the day was the Grande River IPA. A 6.6% ABV with an un-findable IBU. This beer was not very hop forward for an IPA, especially for an American IPA style. Although there was some citrus notes, but the floral notes were more noticeable. Not my favorite flavor, floral, but still a decent IPA.
Want to check out San Luis Valley Brewing? They are located at 631 Main Street with street parking, a full bar and outside seating available.