It is rare that I roll into a brewery, try some beers, eat their food and feel compelled to buy every type of swag I can get my hands on. While at Taos Mesa Brewing, I did just that.
But let’s go back to before I left the brewery with a wheelbarrow full of merchandise. I pulled into the parking lot after taking an almost 8 mile (12 km) trek outside of Taos. This is my only complaint, the long drive, however, according to the bartender at the time of my visit, there were plans for a taproom to soon be located in downtown Taos. The taproom has since opened. Problem solved.
However, the current brewery’s spot does look to be quite a unique place. With an outside space filled with a large stage, tables and leashed dogs welcomed, one will come to the conclusion that the 8 mile drive can be overlooked. A calendar of scheduled events, such as live bands, can be found on their site, or by following this link.
I found myself a spot at the bar and ordered a flight of beer and nachos for lunch. While I waited for my nachos I started in on my first beer, the Equinox Pale Ale. This beer has a 4.7 Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and a 35 (IBU). A crisp and light beer that my tasting notes listed as “delightful at first taste”.
My nachos arrived covered in pork that was smokey and spicy. Speaking of spicy, so was the cheesy sauce made of liquid beer cheese. This is, of course, my favorite type of cheese, cheese made with beer. Per the recommendation of the bartender, I ordered a half order. And while I often have eyes bigger than my stomach, I am glad I heeded her warning and took the smaller order. It was plenty of food, although a full order would be perfect for sharing, as long as you were willing to share the tasty goodness.
My next beer taste was the Kachina Peak Pale Ale. With a 5.5 ABV and a 50 IBU, this beer is a pleasing pale ale. A decent amount of hoppiness flavors and paired well with my spicy nachos.
I always like to go back to my early beer day roots and try a red. Taos Mesa’s red is called the Sappho Amber. It has a 4.8 ABV and a 25 IBU. Malty to the bone like a good red should be. It was a decent beer but my quest for hoppy beer had me moving on.
Up next was The Ryan Brown, a 4.5 ABV and a 45 IBU. I am not a big drinker of brown ales but I found this one quite enjoyable, even giving it a 4 out of 5 on Untappd. My rating was somewhat surprising to me as I am not typically a fan of browns but this nicely roasted beer was flavorful and done well.
And my return back to IPA land was back in full force. My next taste was the Mosaic IPA, a 6.5 ABV and a 70 IBU. This beer is packed full of grapefruit flavors pairing up with a nice pale amber color.
My last taste was the Black Rock IPA. I was saving this beer until the end of my flight like an innocent girl saving herself for her wedding night. I could not wait to taste this beer and when I finally did I knew it was true love. This cascade dark ale checked in with a 6.8 ABV and an 85 IBU. A nicely balanced beer that was not overly roasted nor overly hoppy. It reminded me a lot of my most favorite beer, The Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA from Firestone Walker. RIP Wookey Jack, as Firestone discontinued you in October of 2016. The Black Rock IPA has a slightly safer ABV, and for that, we thank Taos Mesa Brewing.
I have been known to leave a brewery with a filled growler, maybe even two, but after telling the bartender that there was not one beer I found disagreeable, I knew I must drape myself in their logo. I marched myself over to the merchandise wall and started pulling things off the shelf like a kid in a candy store. And not an unreasonable comparison, just trade out the kid with an adult woman and swap the candy for beer and the behavior is about the same. Let us just be glad no one asked me to leave the brewery as I am sure it would have resulted in a throw myself down on the ground temper tantrum.
Perhaps this is why I travel alone. People can’t deal with the shame.
Taos Mesa Brewing is located at 20 ABC Mesa Road in El Prado New Mexico. The taproom in Taos is located at 201 Paseo del Pueblo Sur.