Local Ales You Just Have to Try
Written by Daniel Gonzales
Photography by Donicio Madrid
The craft beer phenomenon is exploding all over the country and it’s changing the landscape of not only beer drinking, but adult beverage consumption as a whole. With increasing popularity and demand, more and more tap rooms and breweries are popping up all over the country, proving that craft brewing is not just a trend, but a thriving business.
“Craft beer drinkers are passionate about their beer,” says Sindi Zeller, manager of The Side Door Liquor Store in Sunland Park. “They aren’t necessarily brand loyal either, so long as it’s new or interesting, they want it. The demand is so high, we have people on waiting lists for some of our allocated brews.”
With the hot days a Las Cruces summer can bring fast approaching, I decided to venture into our local craft beer scene, and every brewery I stepped in had a crowd that seemed to double in the short time I was in there doing my “research.” Added bonus: Every staff member I spoke to was friendly, accessible, and knowledgeable about the beers on their menus.
High Desert Brewing Co.
In business since July 1997, High Desert is the elder statesman of our local breweries, and is still doing great business according to patrons sitting around the bar when I visited just before the lunch rush. “I got here early today, so I wouldn’t have to wait for a beer,” says Ronald, a local who says he’s been coming to High Desert since it first opened.
Andres Obregon, one of the brewers at High Desert, worked his way up the food chain since he was 21 years old. He started cleaning the front patio all the while learning everything he could about the beer craft. Now, he is creating and brewing new and interesting beers, like the German-style Kolsch Ale (right) he has planned for this upcoming summer.
Light in color and malt character, and slightly dry, the Kolsch has a crisp clean finish. This beer is definitely different in taste and feel, but it is a pleasure sip on while the warm, summer night breeze pushes past the beautiful Las Cruces sky.
1201 W. Hadley Ave.
PICACHO PEAK BREWING COMPANY
Las Cruces’s newest brewing company opened in July 2015 at the Grapevine Plaza on the west end of Picacho Avenue. Strolling around the property, there is nothing I would rather do than enjoy the beautiful scenery with a nice refreshing beer in my hand. General Manager Mike Layton gave me a quick tour of the brewing program that brewmaster Jim Fulkerson has had in operation for the past couple of years. “We have great times out here, some of our favorites are the dinners we have with paired beer,” Mike says. “Our chef will use our beers in the food, like in our St. Patrick’s dinner, where we are featuring all Irish food.”
For any Las Crucen (of legal drinking age of course) looking for some respite from the blazing sun, Mike prescribes their Dirty Blonde Ale (above), describing it as “a light floral beer that quenches your thirst.” It’s the perfect pick to sip on while enjoying summer’s late sunsets.
3900 W. Picacho Ave.
Pecan Grill & Brewery
With outdoor seating and a large indoor bar, the Pecan Grill & Brewery is a great place to gather with friends for a craft beer tasting. While their Pecan Beer is their most recognizable brew, brewmaster David Allan had some tricks up his sleeve for the upcoming warm season.
The Springer Blonde is an American blonde ale. “It’s a very drinkable beer,” David says, “Perfect for refreshing while working in the yard or spending time outdoors.” Very light-bodied and low alcohol, you can enjoy a few and still complete your “honey do” list.
Also in the works and slated for addition to the Pecan Grill brew list in late spring or early summer, is the Straight Shot American Pale Ale. It has an edge of bitterness, but is not overly hopped. “We wanted this to be a delightful beer that is kindly leaning on the shoulders of bitterness,” David notes. Expect a soft malt presence with a balancing act toward bitterness, for an overall refreshing beer with tremendous complexity.
Macallan’s Scottish Ale is also scheduled for release in the upcoming months. “Scottish Ales come in multiple alcohol strengths, body, and darkness,” David explains. “Macallan’s will be easy-drinking and light-bodied.” Though all of the brews David offered me were worth a taste, the Macallan’s was my favorite of the day.
500 S. Telshor Ave.
Spotted Dog Brewery
Once a week, a bunch of old friends gather to play basketball for a couple hours, then we head over to Spotted Dog to lick our wounds, and have some good laughs and even better brews. Most of the guys tolerate the basketball just to have a couple frosties. When I caught up with Assistant Brewer Garrett Denmark he educated me on a couple of his favorite summer ales.
“Our IPA (Indian Pale Ale, pictured) is always a favorite,” Garrett said, and the customers and bartenders nearby couldn’t refute his claim. I even got an affirmative nod and raise of the glass from the two patrons sitting at the bar, holding a freshly poured IPA. Bottom line: You can’t go wrong with a classic.
But if you’re looking to step outside your comfort zone, Garrett, a self-proclaimed “seasonal beer drinker” says his favorite year-round brew is Spotted Dog’s 80 Shilling. “The special thing about this Scottish-style Ale is the way we caramelize the wort in our boil kettle,” he explains, adding that the brewing process for the 80 Shilling takes quite a bit longer, ultimately setting it apart from others and creating a special brew that you won’t want to pass up.
2900 Avenida de Mesilla
Calendar | Spring/Summer 2017
The following is a partial calendar of events. Some details are subject to change. Every attempt was made to ensure the accuracy of the Calendar information. We suggest that you contact the event host(s) via phone or website to ensure all details are still as shown here. For daily events, happenings, and more visit: www.LasCrucesMagazine.com and click on Area Events & Attractions.
March 17-19thLas Cruces Arts FairThe Las Cruces Arts Fair opens on Friday, March 17 at 6:00 PM at the Las Cruces Convention Center. In its 7th year, the Arts Fair features original work by fine artists from throughout the United States and Mexico. daarts.org/2017-las-cruces-art-fair
March 19thAnnual Bataan Death March, White Sands Missile RangeJoin the challenging 26.1 mile march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range. 575-678-1134. bataanmarch.com
April 1stTrinity Site Tour, White Sands Missile RangeThe location of the first atomic bomb explosion on earth and open to the public only once a year. 575-678-1134 wsmr.army.mil
April 8-9thViva Espana!Flamenco and other Spanish Dance forms come alive with sensational performances by NMSU dance students. More info at: riograndetheatre.com/event/255494
April 22nd- 23rd La Viña Spring Wine Festival, La Viña Winery, La UnionHosted by New Mexico’s oldest winery hosts a weekend of good music and good wine. 575-882-7632. lavinawinery.com
April 23rdJewish Food and Folk FestivalTemple Beth-ElEnjoy traditional foods traditionally tied to Jewish Culture. There will also be dancing, music, kids’ activities and other entertainment. 11am – 3pm. 575-524-3380
April 28th-30th,, May 5th-7th,Spring Showcase of HomesExperience the best in new home construction. This two-weekend event is held: Fridays 4-7pm, Saturdays 10am-7pm, and Sundays 12pm-5pm. 575-526-6126
April 28-30thLas Cruces Country Music FestivalA three day celebration of country music in downtown Las Cruces. Acts from Nashville and around the country! 575-522-1232.
April 29thMarch for Babies, Johnson ParkGet ready to walk in March for Babies! It promises to be a fun day out with people who share our passion for improving the health of babies. Registration at 7:30pm. March starts at 8am.
May 6th5th Annual Blazin’ Brew Fest The New Mexico Brewer’s Guild returns. Guests receive souvenir pint glass and samples from New Mexico Breweries. Live Music, Las Cruces Food Trucks, Games and Home Brewing Demonstrations. Tickets and more information are available online, nmbeer.org
May 5-6th6th Annual Illegal Art Show Illegal? has left an imprint on the city of Las Cruces, literally. We will continue to push the cap on the can and produce beautiful vibrant murals that many will appreciate and techniques that others will never understand. barricadecultureshop.com
May 6-7thCinco de Mayo Fiesta, Old Mesilla PlazaA traditional Mexican fiesta to celebrate Mexico’s second revolution with music, food, and dancing. 575-524-3262 mesillanm.gov/
May 27th -29thLas Cruces Wine Festival Southern New Mexico Fair GroundsSamplings of wine from the many New Mexico Wineries with live entertainment and local vendors. A weekend event you won’t want to miss.
June 3-4thSt. Genevieve’s Summer Antique Free appraisals, good food and the admission fee is only $2.00 per person. St. Genevieve’s Hall, 1025 E. Las Cruces Avenue. 575-649-6959.
June 4thBumps, Babies, & BeyondThis fun, informative, and educational event will feature a wide range of resources, from baby photographers and party planners to healthcare providers and daycare representatives.
June 19th- 24thOpera CampFor students entering 3rd – 8th grade. students will use elements of opera, libretto-fwriting, music composition, and theatrical staging to compose and present their own musical drama. 575-523-6403 daarts.org/opera-camp
June 24th Annual Raft the Rio Grande Race and Festival at the RiverBuild a raft and sail down the Rio Grande in style. Prizes and fun await! Begins at La Llorona Park at 10am.
June 30th- July 2ndRed, White and Brew – Wine & Beer Festival Wine & Beer tasting event at the LC Convention Center! Live music and specialty foods. For more info call 575-522-1232. $15 in advance, $20 at the gate.
July 2ndAnnual Electric Light ParadeLas Cruces celebrates with a parade of floats decorated with electric lights with live entertainment throughout the day plus a spectacular fireworks display at night. Free. 575-541-2200 las-cruces.org
July 4thAnnual Fireworks ExtravaganzaEntertainment starts before the fireworks so bring your family and enjoy the vendors and all the festivities. Free. las-cruces.org
July 4thAnnual Country Picnic, La Viña Winery, La UnionBring your own picnic or enjoy food from the vendors while listening to live entertainment. No coolers or pets. lavinawinery.com
July 16thIce Cream Social Sunday >NM Farm and Ranch Heritage MuseumWho doesn’t enjoy a tasty treat on the dog-days of summer. Join us for fun and tour the museum while you’re here. nmfarmandranchmuseum.org
August 19th Men Who Cook, NM Farm and Ranch Heritage MuseumSponsored by the Mesilla Valley Hospice foundation, Men Who Cook is a one-of-a kind event where “celebrity” chefs from Doña Ana cook for the attendees! 575-522-1232
Every Wednesday & Saturday Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts MarketGrowers and vendors selling locally grown produce and homemade crafts. 8:30am – 1 pm. Downtown Main Street. fcmlc.org
Second Wednesday of the Month (May-October)Evening at the MarketLive entertainment and vendors showcasing a wide variety of arts & crafts, food, fresh produce, fine arts and more. Main Street Downtown. 5pm-9pm. fcmlc.org
Every Sunday (May – September)Music in the Park A 14-week musical extravaganza offering Las Crucens a mix of music performed by local, regional and nationally recognized artists. 7 pm. Free admission. Klein Park, Apodaca Park, & Young Park. (575) 541-2200. las-cruces.org
Every ThursdayBig Band Dance ClubDance Ballroom, Swing and Latin styles to live music. 8 pm–10 pm. Call for rates. 402 W. Court Ave. 575-526-6504
Every Third WednesdayYappy HourWell-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome. Music, games, and free treats for the pooches, Food, including beer and wine, are available from the menu. Get location and date details.
Every SaturdayAnimal EncountersMeet the animals of the Chihuahuan Desert through a hands-on introduction in our Nature Center. Museum of Nature & Science, Main Street Downtown 575-522-3120 las-cruces.org/museums
Every Saturday & SundayBig Daddy’s Outdoor Market The Largest Flea & Farmers Market in Southern New Mexico. A wide variety of merchandise and produce is sold at the Big Daddy’s. 5580 Bataan Memorial E. 6:30 am – 3 pm. Free admission & parking. 575-382-9404.
May through SeptemberAuto Racing SaturdaysSouthern New Mexico State Fairgrounds, 11 miles west on I-10, exit 132. Gates open at 5 pm, races start at 7:45 pm. $12 GA. 575-524-7913 snmspeedway.com
First Friday of the MonthDowntown Ramble4:30–7 pm, many museums and art galleries participate with fun and exciting exhibits. Main Street Downtown. 575-527-5018 lascrucesarts.org
Every NightSunset Stroll Nature WalkRanger-guided tours held nightly, weather permitting; evening start times vary. White Sands National Monument, US Hwy 70, Alamogordo NM. (575) 479-6124
Every Sunday (September – November)Mariachi SundaysMariachi music, bring the family and listen to the wonderful mariachi music at the Plaza. Old Mesilla Plaza, south on Highway 28. Free admission. 575-524-3262. mesilla-nm.org
May-OctoberFull Moon Night ProgramsOn the night of the full moon each month, weather permitting, come out to enjoy live music and fun educational presentations. White Sands National Monument, US Hwy 70, Alamogordo NM. 575-479-6124
Every Saturday & SundayRanger-Led Nature HikesJoin a park ranger on a guided hike and learn about the history of Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park 575-523-4398
First Saturday of the MonthGuided Bird ToursView wildlife in their natural surroundings while strolling one of the many nature trails. Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park.
UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY
1390 E. University Ave.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCE’S ART HOP
2nd Saturday of every month, 6-9pm Downtown, Truth or Consequences sierracountynewmexico.info
EL PASO DOWNTOWN ARTIST AND FARMERS’ MARKET
Every Saturday, 9am-1pm Union Plaza District, El Paso
EL PASO PUZZLER ENDURANCE MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE
Every January Franklin Mountain State Park, El Paso
SILVER CITY FARMERS’ MARKET
Spring – Fall Saturdays, 8:30am-12:30pm Downtown, Silver City silvercitytourism.org
ARDOVINO’S DESERT CROSSING FARMERS’ MARKET
Saturdays, 7:30am-12pm, Sunland Park
GREAT AMERICAN DUCK RACE
August 24 – 27
Courthouse Park, Deming demingduckrace.com
LA VIñA SPRING WINE FESTIVAL
April 22-23 La Vina Winery,
SUN CITY CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
April 29 Downtown, El Paso suncitycraftbeerfest.com
May 5 – September 1, Fridays, 6pm Convention Center Plaza,
May 19 – 21
NM Farm & Ranch Museum,
NEON DESERT MUSIC FESTIVAL
May 27 – 28
Downtown El Paso
SILVER CITY BLUES AND BIKES FESTIVAL
May 26 – 28, Silver City,
COOL CANYON NIGHTS
May – July Thursdays, 6pm McKelligon Canyon Ampitheatre, El Paso
MUSIC UNDER THE STARS
June – August Sundays, 7:30-9:30pm Chamizal National Memorial, El Paso
CLOUDCROFT ART WORKSHOPS
June 5 – August 18 Public Library, Cloudcroft
June 16-17, 10am-Sundown, Ski Cloudcroft on Highway 82, 2 miles east of Cloudcroft.
June TBD Community Center High Rolls Mountain Park
VIVA! EL PASO
June/August TBD Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30pm McKelligon Canyon Ampitheatre,
ROSWELL UFO ALIEN FESTIVAL
June 29 – July 2 Various locations, Roswell
FIBER ARTS FESTIVAL
July TBD Grant County Conference Center, Silver City
MOVIES IN THE CANYON
July – September Fridays and Saturdays, 8:30pm McKelligon Canyon Ampitheatre, El Paso elpasolive.com
LINCOLN COUNTY ART LOOP
July 7 – 9 Various studios,
10am – 5pm, Lincoln County
46th RUIDOSO ART FESTIVAL
July 21 – 23 Various galleries, in and around Ruidoso. meet over 100 of the nation’s most talented artists showcasing a broad spectrum of mediums
July 22 – 30 Various locations in and around Silver City. Enjoy clay workshops, exhibitions, a CLAYFest market and more.
ALTO ARTISTS STUDIO TOUR
August 3 – 6 It’s the 14th anniversary event. 6 miles north of Ruidoso in Alto, this self-guided tour offers a chance to explore behind the area’s arts scene.
PLAZA CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL
August 3 – 13 Various locations, El Paso
HATCH CHILE FESTIVAL
September 2 – 3
Hatch Municipal Airport, Hatch
ROLLING STONES GEM AND MINERAL SHOW
Labor Day Weekend Grant County Conference Center, Silver City
SIGNAL PEAK challenge
September 3, Silver City
ALL AMERICAN FUTURITY AND DERBY
September 3 – 4
Ruidoso Downs Race Track
FORT BAYARD DAYS
September, Dates TBD Fort Bayard, 10 miles east of Silver City
TASTE OF DOWNTOWN
September, Dates TBD Downtown, Silver City
GILA RIVER FESTIVAL
September TBD Gila National Forest and Silver City
LA VINA HARVEST WINE FESTIVAL
October, Dates TBD La Vina Winery, La Union
PINOS ALTOS OCTOBER FIESTA
October, Dates TBD Pinos Altos, 16 miles north of Silver City
MIMBRES VALLEY HARVEST FESTIVAL
October, Dates TBD San Lorenzo School, NM Highway 35
CHOPIN MUSIC FESTIVAL
Sept. 23, Oct. 7 & 21
Chamizal National Memorial, El Paso
The following are events around the region, held within a short day-trip from Las Cruces. Some details are subject to change. We encourage you to head out and explore all the fun happenings our area has to offer!