If they served this stuff at the New Mexico State Penitentiary, we’d have more people trying to get locked up. Thankfully, you can get it without first needing a record. The nose presents a porter lover’s dream: richly roasty, raisiny, pruny, with coffee-like notes capped by citrus and apple notes, and a faint whisper of chalk dust. That chalky character is perfectly appropriate in the wide range of possible flavors in porter, and serves to make this an extremely dry beer. Expect roasted malts and coffee on the palate. Definitely running on the drier side, the fruity notes present on the nose are mere suggestions in the flavor profile. As it warms, look for a sizable coffee presence to develop in the finish, and notes of alcohol to peak through in the linger—these would evoke a coffee liquor flavor were it not for the intensely dry character of this porter. Overall this is a fairly complex porter with a lot going on. Temperature plays a big role in the flavor profile of this beer—so experiment with it at different levels of coolness to find your favorite. Pair with barbecued beef brisket.
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breweries being shut down, laying the groundwork for "the dark ages of beer" that followed when Prohibition was repealed in 1933 (despite that dark ages reference, this was the rise of fizzy, pale-yellow, tasteless beer—and consider this: that figure of 4,000+ American breweries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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