When you are craving a cold beer.
Taos and the Enchanted Circle have some good microbreweries offering everything from IPAs to pilsners.
By Tamra Testerman
If craft beer is up your alley, here are the best places to get a cold one in Taos and the Enchanted Circle so make plans to taste the best brews to be found in the area. Many of these brew pubs also offer curated selections of New Mexican crafted cervezas from breweries in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, imports from Germany, Mexico, and other countries, as well as ciders, sour beers and delicious foods.
The word “cheers” suggests that the holidays are synonymous with different styles of food, spices, music and beer. Jayson Wylie, one of the co-owners of Taos Mesa Brewery, said winter is a favorite time of year for everyone at the brewery.
“When the temperatures plummet, we roll out our exclusive vintage Imperial beer line, made with aged barley wine and a different brew profile from any of our lineup. We age these special beers in wooden barrels used for tequila, mezcal, and bourbon. The aging process imparts the unique flavors of these spirits to the beer, and the result is a delicious warming effect.”
Pair an Imperial with one of the pizzas on the menu, a plate of wood-fired wings, a lamb slider or a pollo parmesan sandwich, and you’re in for a memorable meal.
Wylie said during the winter months you’ll always find on tap a robust Porter beer and a thick creamy Stout in the Taos Taproom.
“These beers and others are part of our Winter Warmer series. The aged vintage beers, with a higher alcohol content, are like a shot of brandy from the Saint Bernard barrel. They leave your cheeks rosy and lift your spirit. The perfect ending to a day on the mountain.”
Taos Mesa Brewery is in two locations, the Taos Tap Room is in the heart of the Historic downtown, 201 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur and is open year round. The Brewery Mothership, on 20 Mesa Road in El Prado, is closed following a fire in the summer of 2020. Wylie said the Taos Mesa Brewery Mothership is poised for success and will reopen soon.
“Taos Mesa Brewery has strong leadership and outstanding employees. We’ve always embraced a DIY (do it yourself) independent spirit. When we reopen, we’ll feature an expanded beverage menu which will include cider, canned beer and distilled spirits. We opened over a decade ago with the mission to be good stewards of independent musicians and craft beer. We are an anchor in the Taos community and look forward to expanding our role and welcoming music back to the mesa.”
With 24 taps of brewed local beer and ciders on tap and an extraordinary wine list, TMB is a not to be missed brew pub in Taos. TMB creates their craft beers using all the finest ingredients and processes to the highest specifications. From the “birth” of the beer to your frosted glass, you can taste the quality. They have a tasty menu to pair with your favorite brew, with delicious wood-fired oven pizza. Also on the menu, you can find beers sourced from Santa Fe and other parts of New Mexico.
As Angel Fire’s one and only award winning brewery, The Enchanted Circle Brewing Company on the Enchanted Circle is a 75-seat tasting room that is a winter beer drinkers favorite located in the heart of a Rocky Mountain ski town. After a day on the slopes, it is a not to be missed destination to refuel with libations and food.
Comanche Creek is a family owned microbrewery nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Northern New Mexico and situated just outside Eagle Nest, New Mexico. Comanche Creek Brewing Company provides its rendition of many traditional beer styles including Alt and Kölsch styles. They take advantage of the untouched mountain waters of the Sangre de Cristo mountains to create great-tasting beer year round.
Located in the heart of the quaint alpine hamlet known as Red River, the brewery proudly features the famous and delicious Tucker Braü beer. Named after the brewery dog and brewed by the masters themselves, the Tucker Braü is a German styled medium amber that will have you feeling warm on winter days. With a light biscuit flavor profile, a delicate mouthfeel that lacks bitterness, followed by slight spicy finish, this beer will have you praying for longer winters after your first sip. After a day on the slopes or hiking around the area, Red River Brewing is a favorite Northern New Mexico gathering place with a tasty menu to pair with your favorite craft beer.
This family-owned brewery and tap room on the banks of the Rio Grande was established in 2009. Growlers and pints are available at curbside, the menu is always interesting and sells out quickly. Try their Tarantula Trek Red Ale, an “easy going malty ale lightly hopped with fuggle hops and will keep you trekking along.” Or the Peñasco Porter, a “well balanced dry porter with a subtle coffee background.” To pair with your favorite brew, Ken’z Cuisine menu offers plenty of options to please any palate.
European monasteries have a long standing tradition of brewing some of the finest craft beers in the world. This tradition is carried on with the European recipes by the Benedictine order in the American Southwest.
The small batch brews “made with care and prayer” began in 2005. The monastery produces five seasonal brews and award-winning ales. They are not open to the public, but you can find their monastic creations in a few select places. Bode’s General Store at 21196 U.S. Highway 84 in Abiquiú has Monks’ brew on tap. Black Mesa Winery at 1408 State Road 68 in Velarde carries their brews and in Taos, you can find some of Monk’s flavors at Smith’s, Walgreens, The Cellar behind Cid’s Food Market and Del Norte Liquors.
Like imported German beers?
This list would not be complete without mentioning the beer selection at The Bavarian which is located at Taos Ski Valley. Their brew selection features imported beers from Hofbräu Haus, Andechs Brewery and
Weltenburg Brewery in Germany.
Be sure to enjoy these delicious imports with authentic German fare like Sauerbraten, Wienerschnitzel and Käsespätzle. The gourmet menu also features fine wines and American favorites like burgers, sandwiches and salads. You can find this unique and cozy restaurant near the bottom of Ski Lift #4.