Beer Town schools us on tippling in Southern New Mexico, CNM's brewniversity, neophyte Bow & Arrow, 'Better Call' Lizard Tail Brewing, and Budweiser's lies.
Beer Town: One for All, All for Draught
BY TY BANNERMAN
With warmer winds pushing their way into the Burque environs last weekend, I found myself longing for the open road. So I packed up the fam and headed south to Cloudcroft, N.M., for a few days of relaxation and the kind of hiking you can manage with the under-8 set in tow.
If you’re a fan of Confederate flags and fudge shops, Cloudcroft is a fine town — and it’s close enough to White Sands, N.M., to make it a perfect stopover point — but our culinary excursions there left a great deal to be desired.
Case in point, the dire dining options at the grill near our hotel left me feeling glum and downright homesick . . . until I realized the establishment’s bar offered Marble Brewery’s IPA on draft, right between Budweiser and Coors. My mood immediately, miraculously improved. So congrats, Marble! As far as I’m concerned, you’re the best part of eating out in Cloudcroft.
I’d endanger my beer maven cred if I left readers with the impression that all points south are a veritable barley wasteland. Not at all! In fact, I visited a fave brewery-cum-restaurant, Las Cruces’ palatial Pecan Grill and Brewery (500 S. Telshor Blvd.), the next day. Not only does the place offer a full lineup of 12 distinct ales — try the Desert Stout! — but the food is knock-you-on-your-ass great. Lunch at Pecan Grill and the natural wonder of White Sands National Monument made the whole trip worthwhile.
Hopefully our state’s beer revolution will continue to expand into rural New Mexico with a little help from an institute of higher learning. With the recent passing of a bond initiative, CNM is now poised to schedule classes at their much-anticipated brewing academy.
The program will school wanna-be braumeisters on the finer points of the transmogrification of barley, hops and water into a treasured, hearty brew, offering both a certificate and associate’s degree. Courses on beer styles and production techniques begin this fall, and a brand-spanking-new brewing and catering building is slated to appear in the next few years.
In this edition of Beertown, our streak of announcing yet another just-opened Albuquerque taproom continues. This time, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. takes the point position, whistling through the air and plunking solidly onto their target at 602 McKnight Ave. NW. The pub boasts a tasting room and an outdoor patio for all your tippling needs. Here’s a toast to the neophyte business: May Bow & Arrow always hit its mark.
Brew of the fortnight
In honor of the second season of “Breaking Bad” spinoff-prequel “Better Call Saul,” I suggest stopping by Lizard Tail Brewing (9800 Montgomery NE), which is located just two doors down from the location that served as Saul’s law office during filming.
Love dark beer? Try the Belgian Strong Dark, a silky sweet, almost liqueur-like swallow that packs a major punch of alcohol (9.7 percent ABV) and a blackberry tang on the finish. This is not the beer for unsuspecting hopheads or lager lovers. If in doubt, order a sampler before taking the plunge. If strong and dark isn’t your thing, a roster of other reptilian brews include Bluetail Blond and Basilisk Brown.
Super Bowl of lies
Did you catch the Budweiser commercial during this year’s Super Bowl? It was the one that proudly proclaimed that Budweiser stands apart and above the craft beer revolution, complete with admonishments against “sipping” or treating your glass like a “fruit cup.”
Don’t fall for it. First, consider the fact that Anheuser-Busch InBev, the makers of Budweiser, have been gobbling up craft breweries for years. Even as the giant, multinational company has adopted a “proud macrobrew” posture, it greedily acquired Goose Island, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road and Ballast Point breweries, as well as significant shares in Redhook, Widmer Brothers and Kona Brewing Company.
And lest we forget, the “fruit cup” approach of garnishing the rim of your glass with an orange slice was popularized in marketing for AB InBev’s own Blue Moon brand of wheat ale. I trust that my wildly intelligent — and did I mention attractive? — readers didn’t take this slimy ad campaign at face value, but the hypocrisy sticks in my craw.
If you feel the same, do as I do: the next time that commercial airs, lift a glass of your favorite locally brewed ale proudly in one hand and use the other to flip off the television. Until next time, Burque, keep on drinking and brewing.
Ty Bannerman is a beer drinker, co-host of the City on the Edge podcast and author of “Forgotten Albuquerque” as well as a forthcoming memoir. He most recently served as managing, feature and food editor at Weekly Alibi.