Discover the Top-Rated Best Breweries in New Mexico for Craft Beer Enthusiasts

If you’re searching for the best breweries in New Mexico, this curated selection is your map to the state’s finest ales and lagers. We’ll take you from award-winning establishments to hidden local favorites, all while focusing on the standout pours that make each location unique.

Anticipate concise profiles, local beer highlights, and insights into brewing innovation, setting you up for a memorable tasting trail across New Mexico’s rich beer terrain.

Key Takeaways

  • New Mexico’s craft beer scene is booming with over 4,000 jobs and innovative breweries like La Cumbre and Marble Brewery, known for their use of local ingredients and cutting-edge brewing techniques.
  • Sustainability and community are key, with breweries like Bow & Arrow focusing on environmental practices and providing community-oriented spaces for events and gatherings.
  • For a unique experience, check out special brewery tours, beer festivals like New Mexico Brew Fest, and lesser-known gems such as Nexus Brewery for a deeper dive into the local craft beer culture.

New Mexico’s Craft Beer Scene

New Mexico’s craft beer scene is as diverse and distinctive as its enchanting landscape. The state is home to some of the best breweries in the country, including:

  • La Cumbre Brewing Co.
  • Tractor Brewing Company
  • Marble Brewery
  • Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.
  • Turtle Mountain Brewing Company

These breweries have put New Mexico on the map with their unique brews, and their taprooms have become gathering places for locals and visitors alike, serving as the beating heart of the state’s craft beer community.

The Rise of Craft Beer in New Mexico

The history of New Mexico’s craft beer is intertwined with the state’s rich past. Here are some key milestones:

  • The first brewery opened in Santa Fe in 1855
  • By 1899, Albuquerque boasted its first major brewery
  • The state’s beer production peaked in the early 20th century, before prohibition brought it to a halt
  • However, the modern craft beer movement began in 1988
  • Since 2011, the number of craft breweries in New Mexico has more than doubled

Currently, over 4,000 jobs are supported by the craft beer industry, which also ranks as the 15th highest producer of craft beer per capita in the nation, asserting its significant economic influence in the state.

Local Ingredients and Flavors

Craft breweries in New Mexico are known for their commitment to using premium, locally-grown ingredients in their brews. Marble Brewery, for instance, uses 100% Weyerman malt and German hops, signifying their dedication to quality.

Similarly, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. is known for its Southwest-inspired beers that incorporate a variety of styles and ingredients.

From hazy IPAs and pilsners to pastry-inspired stouts and sours, these breweries create a flavor palette as diverse and vibrant as the New Mexican landscape.

Unique Brewing Styles and Techniques

The innovative brewing styles and techniques deployed by New Mexico breweries are as renowned as the ingredients they use. Santa Fe Brewing Company, for example, pushes the boundaries of traditional brewing by creating barrel-aged and specialty beers.

Marble Brewery uses its taproom as a test bed for small-batch brews, scaling up based on customer demand.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, on the other hand, showcases the diversity of beer styles produced in New Mexico, from IPAs and stouts to sours and barrel-aged brews.

La Cumbre Brewing Co.

Nestled in the core of Albuquerque, La Cumbre Brewing Co. is a highly regarded brewery known for its exceptional beer and sustainable practices.

Known for popular beers like Elevated IPA and Especial Stout, La Cumbre Brewing Co. has left an indelible mark on the craft beer landscape in New Mexico.

Sustainable Brewing Practices

La Cumbre Brewing Co. ensures that their exceptional beer brewing process doesn’t compromise the environment, similar to the approach taken by Bosque Brewing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. demonstrated sustainable adaptability by:

  • shifting to online-only to-go orders
  • creating outdoor seating
  • expanding their beverage portfolio with the introduction of Desert Water, a line of Hard Sparkling Water.

The brewery’s commitment to sustainability is evident in every pint they brew.

Flagship Beers and Seasonal Offerings

The beer offerings at La Cumbre Brewing Co. are as diverse as they are creative. Their Elevated IPA is renowned for its harmonious blend of hop bitterness and fruity flavors.

The Day Ghost, a Japanese-style rice lager, is a result of a collaboration with Meow Wolf, offering a crisp, effervescent taste with complex layers of flavor.

They also introduced a cultural twist with their Turkish Style Coffee Stout, which is enriched with spices like cardamom, clove, and cinnamon, complementing the stout’s inherent coffee and chocolate notes.

Taproom Experience and Events

In addition to its excellent beers, La Cumbre Brewing Co. provides a one-of-a-kind taproom experience. The taproom serves as a community hub, hosting events like:

  • pop-up art sales that showcase local artists
  • live music performances
  • trivia nights
  • beer tastings and pairings
  • food truck festivals

Come visit the taproom and enjoy not only great beer, but also a vibrant and lively atmosphere.

These community-oriented events contribute significantly to the brewery’s family-friendly atmosphere, enhancing the overall taproom experience.

Tractor Brewing Company

Tractor Brewing Company stands as a symbol of innovation within the New Mexico craft beer community. Known for their diverse range of beer styles, free brewery tours, and a welcoming atmosphere, Tractor Brewing Company is a favorite among beer enthusiasts.

The brewery’s signature IPA and a stout have become perennial favorites among patrons, reflecting their commitment to quality and taste in crafting the best beer and best beers.

Beer Selection and Tasting Notes

The beer selection at Tractor Brewing Company is as varied as it is remarkable. The Mustachio Milk Stout is known for its flavorful notes of coffee and chocolate, while the Tractor IPA is celebrated for its unique balance of hops and malt, providing a burst of citrus and pine notes.

The Double Plow Oatmeal Stout offers a rich and full-bodied taste, marked by hints of roasted malts and chocolate. No matter your preference, Tractor Brewing Company has a brew for every palate.

Brewery Tours and Education

No visit to Tractor Brewing Company is complete without embarking on a brewery tour. The brewery offers tours that include:

  • Showcasing the brewing process
  • Imparting knowledge on the art of craft beer production
  • Learning about the brewery’s history
  • Understanding fundamental concepts of brewing from their well-informed staff.

ABQ Beer Tours provides guided beer tours, offering an in-depth perspective on Albuquerque’s craft beer scene.

Food Trucks and Entertainment

To complement their craft beer selection, Tractor Brewing Company invites local food trucks, serving culinary delights to its customers. The brewery also offers a packed calendar of events ranging from live music and trivia nights to art shows, adding to the lively atmosphere.

The New Mexico Brew Fest offers:

  • A broad selection of local craft beers and other beverages
  • Food trucks
  • Live music
  • Yard games

The festival is held in tandem with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and draws crowds looking to savor these offerings.

Marble Brewery

As a recent addition to the New Mexico craft beer landscape, Marble Brewery specializes in brewing European-style ales and lagers. Known for its flagship beer, Marble IPA, and an award-winning lineup, Marble Brewery has quickly gained a reputation for quality and innovation.

The brewery’s taproom, open daily, provides ample opportunity for beer enthusiasts to enjoy their Abbey Brewing brews any day of the week at the street brewery.

European-Inspired Brews and Innovation

Drawing inspiration from European brewing traditions, Marble Brewery crafts unique beers such as their Double White, a take on a Belgian-inspired wheat ale, and their Dark Lager that highlights toasted malt flavors with undertones of toffee and dark chocolate.

Each brew demonstrates Marble Brewery’s commitment to innovation and quality.

Award-Winning Beers and Accolades

The commitment to quality at Marble Brewery has certainly made its mark. Their Double White has won prestigious accolades at the Great American Beer Festival, and their Imperial Red Ale captured a gold medal at the World Beer Cup.

The consistent excellence of their beers is a testament to Marble Brewery’s ongoing commitment to quality brewing.

Taproom Ambiance and Food Menu

The taproom at Marble Brewery provides an experience that extends beyond just beer. The contemporary design, spacious interiors, and inviting outdoor patio create an ambiance that draws patrons in. The food menu includes local favorites, thoughtfully paired to enhance the craft beer tasting experience.

Whether it’s for a pint after work or a weekend gathering, Marble Brewery’s taproom is the place to be.

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.

Established in 2014, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. brings a unique flavor to the New Mexico craft beer landscape.

Known for its innovative Southwest-inspired beers, the brewery is celebrated for incorporating local ingredients into its small-batch beers, such as New Mexico chile peppers, which add a distinct regional flavor. The brewery’s commitment to quality ensures that each batch meets their high standards.

Small-Batch Beers and Local Ingredients

Embracing New Mexico’s varied agricultural bounty, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. incorporates locally sourced ingredients into their small-batch beers.

Beers like Sunbloom and FunkSloth showcase the synergy between small-scale brewing and local agriculture, creating beers with a distinct regional character.

The brewery’s commitment to using indigenous ingredients brings forward a connection to local heritage, making each pint a taste of New Mexico.

Innovative Brewing Style and Techniques

Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. is not merely a beer brewer; they’re boundary pushers in the brewing world. The brewery stands out in the New Mexico craft beer scene with its innovative brewing techniques.

The use of non-traditional ingredients, complex fermentation processes, and experimentation with wild yeast strains have allowed the brewery to offer truly unique and unpredictable beer flavors.

Every sip at Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. is a testament to the brewery’s innovative spirit and commitment to excellence.

Taproom Design and Atmosphere

The experience at Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. includes:

  • A contemporary design with spacious interiors
  • An inviting outdoor patio
  • Community engagements like their anniversary celebration, turning the taproom into a buzzing social hub.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. offers a craft beer experience that is uniquely New Mexican.

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company

With its naturally gluten-free beers, Turtle Mountain Brewing Company introduces a unique element to the New Mexico craft beer scene. Established in 2013, the brewery provides a variety of craft beers to its customers, including options for those with gluten sensitivity.

For those who can’t have gluten, the brewery offers cider options, ensuring that everyone can enjoy a pint.

Gluten-Free Beer Options

Those with gluten sensitivity can find an alternative in the gluten-reduced beers offered by Turtle Mountain Brewing Company. However, these beers may not be suitable for individuals with celiac disease due to the risk of cross-contamination or remaining traces of gluten.

For those strictly avoiding gluten, the brewery offers cider options, which are completely gluten-free.

Pub Food Pairings

Alongside their distinctive beer offerings, Turtle Mountain Brewing Company provides a carefully curated food menu. The brewery caters to dietary restrictions by providing gluten-free options, including burgers with gluten-free buns.

From pub favorites like wings, burgers, and fries to special curated menus for special occasions, the food at Turtle Mountain Brewing Company perfectly complements their beer selection.

Taproom Experience and Family-Friendly Environment

The taproom at Turtle Mountain Brewing Company goes beyond being merely a place to savor a pint. Affectionately referred to as ‘The Pub’ or ‘Turtle’ by locals, the taproom offers a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for families and friends to gather and enjoy good beer.

The Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Breweries

In addition to the well-established breweries, New Mexico boasts a few hidden gems making waves in the brewing industry. Nexus Brewery, High Desert Brewing Company, and Rio Bravo Brewing are lesser-known breweries that are making their mark in the New Mexico craft beer scene.

Nexus Brewery

Standing out in the New Mexico craft beer landscape is the Nexus Brewery. The brewery boasts having one of the top beers in New Mexico and has been awarded Albuquerque the Magazine’s Best of the City Awards 2022 for Best Local Wheat and Best Brewery Food Options.

Nexus Brewery is a must-visit for beer lovers exploring the New Mexico craft beer scene.

High Desert Brewing Company

High Desert Brewing Company, established in 1997, is recognized as one of New Mexico’s leading brewpubs, renowned for their hand-crafted beers. The brewery offers a rotating selection of eight to ten beers on tap, encouraging customers to try new flavors.

With a laid-back atmosphere and diverse range of brews, High Desert Brewing Company is a hidden gem worth discovering.

Rio Bravo Brewing

Situated in the bustling center of Albuquerque, Rio Bravo Brewing Company distinguishes itself with its character depth and strong ties to local culture. The brewery offers a dynamic range of beers, including:

  • IPAs
  • Stouts
  • Lagers
  • Ales

Rio Bravo Brewing Company has also won the National IPA Championship.

Rio Bravo Brewing enhances the customer experience through engaging community events, making it a popular destination for craft beer lovers.

The Great New Mexico Beer Tour

If a trip to New Mexico is in your plans, you might want to schedule it around the Great New Mexico Beer Tour. This comprehensive guide encourages craft beer enthusiasts to explore the state’s breweries, attend events like the New Mexico Brew Fest, and experience the vibrant craft beer culture firsthand.

Brewery Hopping Itinerary

The Sky Railway’s Ale Train in Santa Fe offers a unique brewery hopping experience that combines beer sampling with scenic views of the beautiful New Mexico landscape. The beer tour includes:

  • Departure from and return to the Santa Fe Depot
  • Live entertainment
  • A selection of beers from a featured local brewery
  • Participants receive a complimentary beer
  • Option to purchase food and additional drinks

This brewery hopping itinerary aboard the Ale Train is an exceptional way to engage with the craft beer culture of New Mexico.

Beer Festivals and Events

Beer festivals and events form an integral part of the craft beer culture in New Mexico. The New Mexico Brew Fest is a major craft beer festival in the state, timed with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The festival draws large crowds and offers a wide range of local craft beers and other beverages. This is a must-attend event for any craft beer enthusiast visiting New Mexico.

Tips for a Successful Beer Tour

A successful beer tour in New Mexico requires a bit of advance planning. Organized transportation is key, as it allows participants to focus on the experience without worrying about logistics.

Many beer tours offer transportation services, enhancing the safety and enjoyment of the event.

Using the provided pickup and drop-off services can lead to a more immersive and carefree beer tasting journey. So, get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the vibrant craft beer culture of New Mexico.

Summary

From the historic brewing traditions to the innovative craft breweries, New Mexico’s beer scene is as diverse and vibrant as its landscape.

Each brewery, from the well-known to the hidden gems, contributes to the state’s rich craft beer culture, offering unique brews that capture the essence of New Mexico. Whether you’re a casual beer drinker or a seasoned craft beer enthusiast, New Mexico offers a beer experience unlike any other.

So, why wait? Embark on a flavorful journey through the Land of Enchantment and discover why New Mexico is a must-visit destination for craft beer lovers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of craft beer in New Mexico?

Craft beer in New Mexico has a long history, dating back to 1855 with the opening of the first brewery in Santa Fe, and has seen significant growth since 1988, with over 4,000 jobs supported by the industry today.

What are some of the best breweries in New Mexico?

You should check out the top breweries in New Mexico like La Cumbre Brewing Co., Tractor Brewing Company, Marble Brewery, Bow & Arrow Brewing Co., and Turtle Mountain Brewing Company for some unique and fantastic brews. Have a great time exploring the state’s craft beer scene!

What types of beers can I find at New Mexico breweries?

You can find a diverse range of beer styles at New Mexico breweries, including IPAs, stouts, sours, and barrel-aged brews, often incorporating local ingredients for a regional flavor. Enjoy exploring the variety!

Are there any gluten-free beer options in New Mexico?

Yes, Turtle Mountain Brewing Company in New Mexico offers gluten-reduced beers for craft beer enthusiasts with gluten sensitivity, and they also have completely gluten-free cider options for those strictly avoiding gluten. Check them out for some gluten-free drink options!

What can I expect from the Great New Mexico Beer Tour?

You can expect to immerse yourself in New Mexico’s craft beer culture through brewery hopping itineraries, attending events like the New Mexico Brew Fest, and experiencing the vibrant beer scene firsthand. Cheers to that!