Draft beers from New Mexico and Colorado brewers were joined by holiday beers from larger distributors. Some notables included the Bock Holiday from Rio Grande Brewing; dark, full-bodied, malty rich, and crisp finish. From Phantom Canyon came their Barley Wine; smooth, malty sweet, great dry finish, and only four months old! Brought in by Merchant du Vin, the Samuel Smiths Winter Warmer was aptly named; smooth, clean malty flavor, and subtle alcohol finish. Brewed a few miles away at Eske's Brewpub was the Holiday Cheer; a seasonal favorite, the dark amber liquid offered a complementary blend of spices matched to a medium-bodied brew that suggested nutmeg and orange zest. Redhook brought their Winterhook 97; a dark amber color, hops dominated the flavor balance but spices no doubt created the complex, dry finish. Other participants bringing multiple quality beers included Anchor Brewing, Assets, Cabezon, Celis, Crested Butte, Embudo Station, Full Sail, Great Divide, Il Vicino, Irons, Left Hand, Oasis, Red Hook, Rio Bravo, and Way 2 Cool sodas.
Combining the attractions of craft-brewed beer and skiing is becoming much more popular, and festivals such as this benefit both industries. Look for annual events of this type to become commonplace wherever good beer and good snow coexist. Next year expect more attention to be given to the ever-present problem of second-hand smoke destroying the tasting enjoyment of serious beer tasters.
Taos Brewmaster's Festival
J.P. Rael - Marketing Manager
P.O. Box 90
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, USA 87525
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - December, 1996
Festival Reviews NM Virtual Brewpub