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For the Love of Beer: The New Mexico Brewers Guild

By Allison Wilson

Beer drinkers have it good in New Mexico. The craft breweries popping up in increasing numbers around the state are becoming destinations in themselves, complemented by a diverse Southwestern landscape and a unique community of brewers.

At the center of that community is the New Mexico Brewers Guild. The Guild was formed back in 2011, when the national organization of craft brewers- the Brewers Association, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado- decided to form a New Mexico chapter. Local brewers were assembled as founding members to represent the industry and to help bolster support for their businesses.

"As a nonprofit business association, much like a chamber of commerce or membership organization, we focus our efforts on promoting and protecting this thriving manufacturing sector," says Christopher Goblet, Beer Ambassador and Board Director for the Guild. "That means we do everything from hosting beer festivals to changing laws to make for a stronger business climate for breweries to succeed. Beyond the mission, we are a bunch of beer loving guys and gals that enjoy hanging out together, talking about making beer and frequently sampling each other's products."

Goblet says the state of New Mexico is gaining a reputation for its solid performing India Pale Ale, or IPA. IPA is the number one selling style of beer nationally and by far the No. 1 beer style in New Mexico. Albuquerque breweries have been consistently bringing home dozens of medals from national beer competitions in the IPA categories for the past 4 years. IPA is split into a few categories. In America, we have West and East Coast styles, which are more bitter and less malty than English IPA, where the style was originated.

"One might argue that New Mexico is going to soon have the reputation for establishing a Rocky Mountain IPA category and becoming the benchmark for quality and consistency," Goblet says. "People also come up to me at the annual Great American Beer Festival and ask for Pecan Beer or Chile Beer. Those two flavors seem to be pretty unique to New Mexico and we have a good number of fans who like the unique twist on beer flavor."

It's no wonder, then, that New Mexico is becoming a beer tourism destination, boasting breweries like Abbey Brewing Co. at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu. The spectacular setting for this off-the-beaten-path brewery is awe-inspiring, with hop fields bursting over the banks of the Chama riverbed and the lovely chapel set amongst the soaring rocks. For nearly a decade the monastery's monks have been experimenting with beer styles traditional to their Benedictine brothers in Belgium.

"Another brewery I love is Taos Mesa Brewing Company near the Rio Grande Gorge northwest of Taos," Goblet says. "It's funky and fun with a great beer selection and big views."

Goblet also mentions Little Toad Creek and Distillery in Silver City among his favorite destination breweries.You can opt for the downtown taproom or hit their outpost brewery on your way into the cliff dwelling in the beautiful Gila wilderness.

For more of an urban experience, Goblet suggests touring Albuquerque on foot or bike, or by trolley or RailRunner to check out the breweries of Santa Fe on a quick walking tour of the downtown and Railyard district.

Look out for upcoming events hosted by the Guild, including the upcoming New Mexico IPA Challenge, a competition judged by local beer drinkers, which will take place at different breweries throughout the month of July.

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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