Santa Fe Pale Ale pours brassy in color with a sedimentary haze provided by a small amount of yeast left in the bottle to naturally condition the beer. It will be capped by a big cappuccino-like frothy head when poured with vigor. On the nose, look for notes of honey and floral qualities, with some citrus notes, leaning toward tropical fruits (think mango), and a fair amount of spicy hop character. Expect a rather nectary flavor, with floral, honeyed notes and a mild-to-moderate bitterness balancing caramel malt flavors. Finishes spicy with a candy orange flavor in the linger, with the faintest suggestion of butterscotch. Overall, very easy to drink and leaning toward a more floral, perfumy hop profile rather than pine-and-citrus-heavy offerings. The hop spiciness will cut nicely through fattier meat dishes such as braised breast of duck—give it a try.
The history of the Santa Fe Brewing Company dates back to at least 1892, when a brewery was first incorporated under that name. In those days, rapid, reliable transportation of perishable products like beer left a lot to be desired, which meant there were more local breweries (about 4,000 in the U.S. alone) that catered to their own turf. Santa Fe, New Mexico, was no exception. In those days, the variety of beers brewed was tremendous—something similar to the range being produced by today’s microbreweries. Shamefully, Prohibition resulted in the vast majority of American breweries being shut down, laying the groundwork for "the dark ages of beer" that followed when Prohibition was repealed in 1933 (despite that dark ages reference, this was the rise of fizzy, pale-yellow, tasteless beer—and consider this: that figure of 4,000+ American breweries fell to a paltry 80 by 1983!)
In 1988 the modern Santa Fe Brewing Company was established. All of their beers are made from hops shipped directly from the grower in Washington state and specialty malts imported from the U.K., without addition of preservatives (other than hops and alcohol, that is—natural preservatives). And they’re environmentally-focused as well; their delivery trucks run off of vegetable oil, they collect the carbon-dioxide they produce during fermentation to grow algae for bio-fuel, and use 100% recycled material in all of their packaging. As New Mexico's oldest microbrewery, they've had over 20 years to hone their craft-brewed beers. They offer a truly solid lineup of beers and since 2005 have served up tasty grub at the Pub & Grill located next door to the brewery.
For more information about the brewery and their Pub & Grill, check out their web site at www.santafebrewing.com or give them a ring at (505)-424-3333.
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