BLUE CORN CAFE AND BREWERY
I was really skeptical of Blue Corn because I remembered visiting it with my father 15 or so years ago. I don’t remember it being a brewery at all; just a restaurant with a corn and chipotle soup for which my father harbored a small obsession (the soup is really good; the rest of the food, eh).
Stepping into their brewpub (Southside location; not the original restaurant on the Plaza) 15 years later didn’t do much to assuage my suspicion – it just looks like a big restaurant with a suburban feel. But, looks can be deceiving. In our view, their beer was the best of the three breweries in Santa Fe.
We each did a flight and pretty much agreed that it was all high quality. They even had a recreational IPA on tap as a specialty, which I always appreciate given my prolific ability to “taste.”
If I lived in Santa Fe, I’m not sure the atmosphere would be good enough for me to spend a lot of time at Blue Corn, but I expect I’d get a lot of growlers filled there. And maybe the occasional soup.
SANTE FE BREWING CO
Santa Fe Brewing Co on Fire Road (they have two other tap rooms) is oddly the only true (non-pub) brewery in Santa Fe and it has a nice brewery setting, with a small tasting room walled off from the brewery surrounding it. The inside was cozy, their outdoor seating a bit too far removed from the bar.
We did a tasting there and then stuck around for a few pints and conversation with some new friends from Minnesota. It was a good scene. They had a wide selection of beers. I was pleased enough with the IPA, but neither of us loved the beer.
This brewery has been around for a while and seems pretty prolific, with 8 flagship brews (including a barley wine) and a number of seasonals as well. They began bottling their beers over a decade ago and canning in 2005.
SECOND STREET BREWERY
We visited both of Second Street’s locations, the original on Second Street and the newer restaurant in the Railyard neighborhood (also home to the fantastic beer-lovers movie theater Violet Crown). The former resembles something of a pizza pub, albeit one that does not serve pizza. The latter has a bit more of a retail feel to it. Both struck us as restaurants first, despite the extensive draft beer selection (theirs) and the brewery name.
We did a tasting at the Railyard location and ate nachos and drank pints at the original location. We thought the beers were pretty good, but weren’t wowed. An exception, perhaps, is the Trebuchet IPA, which is a seasonal, strong IPA they were serving in 8 oz snifters.
Second Street does occasional canning of some of their beers for sale out of their two restaurants. The barkeep at the Railyard location told us they were looking to ramp up distribution and production soon.