new mexico: what (and where) i drank

a recent trip home to new mexico brought sadly not enough time for serious sampling. however, i did of course make time for a stop or two and was also treated to a wonderful sampler of a beer bike tour in albuquerque courtesy of routes rentals.

santa fe nut brown

santa fe nut brown at la choza

i have loved santa fe brewing company since i started drinking beer. their freestyle pilsner was lovely, but among their regular brews, i find the nut brown to be the best. it is nutty, but still balanced and highly quaffable with a good bit of malt. my kind of beer. i opted for this over a plate of new mexican specialties at the ever-wonderful la choza restaurant in santa fe. it was a good pairing with the heavy food and a perfect autumn beer, as it’s slightly heavy and thick.

routes rentals tour

marble brewery, breaking bad artwork
marble brewpub with breaking bad artwork

as i was writing a piece on breaking bad tours of albuquerque for work, i got in touch with heather and josh from routes rentals, a bicycle hire and bike tour company based in old town albuquerque. in addition to their breaking bad-themed tours, routes rentals do a beer tour of albuquerque, which has a growing beer scene that gets better by the month. the tour they gave me was a hybrid of the two (ask them for the breaking beer tour!), which finished at marble brewery, which you should all know by now is one of my favourite breweries ever.

part of routes’ beer tour includes a guided tour of the brewery itself, which i hadn’t done before. in addition to getting a peek inside the tanks, the canning line was in operation that day, so we were also garnished with a fresh can of IPA, literally straight off the canning line.

marble brewery albuquerque canning line
the canning line

the highlight for me, though, was a sample of marble’s now-infamous heisenberg’s dark. this breaking bad tribute beer is an IBA (black IPA) with sweet undertones and amazing malt-to-hop balance. sadly, the beer was a special run and is no longer being made (but maybe if we make enough noise, they’ll bring it back!).

heisenberg's dark black IPA
special run: heisenberg’s dark black IPA

sadly, i didn’t have enough time to do routes’ full beer tour, which i would’ve liked. the tour takes in several of albuquerque’s best and oldest breweries, including il vicino brewery canteen (an old abq brewery with a new taproom) and kelly’s brewpub, where visitors are sometimes treated to a chance to brew their own microkeg to take away.

if i’d had more time, i’d also have liked to sample several other new breweries that have popped up in albuquerque, as well as some old haunts. if you’re planning a trip, here are some beer stops in addition to those mentioned above that are not to be missed:

westside tap room – marble’s new addition charms up the wasteland of the westside with 12 taps, a slick interior and a nice patio.

chama river microbar – one of my favourite drinking dens in the 505, this tiny place in the historic sunshine building lives up to its name. a crowd of heavy regulars come for fresh pours of chama’s various brews.

tractor brewing company – new to me, i’ve sampled tractor’s beers but that was before they opened a brewpub on central avenue in the heart of nob hill. i have it on good authority this is a great spot for a night out.

la cumbre brewing company – also new to me, la cumbre was started by the former brewmaster of chama river and offers all of their staples and seasonals from their house taproom.

abq brewpub – situated in a very unatmospheric strip mall, this place actually does some decent beers, offers flights and food, and is a good place for an up tempo night of beer swilling.

nexus – i can’t vouch for this brewery at all, as it’s completely new to me and none of my friends have sampled there yet, either. intriguingly, it’s owned and run by a british expat, and there is a restaurant on site doing plenty of bar food. seems worth a try!

i travelled as a guest of routes rentals.


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