Many of the trends we are experiencing in modern NM culture are based on ancient traditions derived from the early pioneers of the western United States.
Brewing in New Mexico began in the 1850s when early settlers would visit mining town’s outposts thirsty for a brew. The arrival of the railroad in 1880 brought a larger and wide-ranging variety of ingredients to New Mexico and ushered commercial brewing to the Land of Enchantment.
The history of brewing in New Mexico is not well documented before the 19th century, but many of the early breweries were established in Santa Fe by German immigrants. In 1917, prohibition prevented alcohol manufacture and sale, which halted brewing operations across the United States. This era marked the end of commercial brewing in New Mexico and the beginning of a beer drought that would last over 50 years.
The modern era of brewing in New Mexico began in 1988 with the opening of Santa Fe Brewing Company, which is still open today. Since then, the microbrewery trend has expanded across the state. New Mexico currently has over eighty active breweries serving up craft beer, tasty food, and good times.
These establishments are very popular to locals and tourists and are likely a standing tradition for years to come. The science and sophistication behind the brewing process is fascinating and the unique recipes often include New Mexican themed names and flavors. Many breweries are family-friendly and create an experience that brings people together.
As our communities continue to grow and evolve, it is essential that we continue to support our local businesses. When you buy local brew, you’re supporting your neighbors and our local economy. Drink local!
Source: New Mexico Beer A History of Brewing in the Land of Enchantment by Jon C. Stott
We’ve plotted our favorite breweries in southern New Mexico. Use this guide to find out what all the buzz is about!
Black Cock Brewery
Roswell’s hometown brewery, known for their amazing burgers and party games.
Beer to try: Pecan Amber Ale
Where: 1719 SE. Main / Roswell, NM 88203
Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Co.
Family-owned and family-friendly, you’ve got to try their brick oven pizza!
Beer to try: Yard Work Cream Ale
Where: 3400 National Parks Hwy. / Carlsbad, NM 88220
Drylands Brewing Company
Handcrafted beers and pizza! Also serves NM Wines!
Beer to try: Urlager (named after hometown hero, Brian Urlacher)
Where: 322 Main / Lovington, NM 88260
*Drylands also has a beer garden and tap room located in Hobbs.
The Wellhead Brew Pub
A cornerstone for the oil community. Established in 2000, has a family-friendly menu and atmosphere.
Beer to try: Wellhead Pale Ale
Where: 332 W. Main / Artesia, NM 88210
Cloudcroft Brewing Co.
Beer tastes better in the mountains—make sure and try the Zia Pie!
Beer to try: Adobe Wheat
Where: 1301 Burro Ave. / Cloudcroft, NM 88317
Lost Hiker Brewing Co.
Enjoy the cold weather and a local cider in the beautiful, Sacramento Mountains.
Beer to try: Ruidoso Blonde
Where: 2536 Sudderth Dr. / Ruidoso NM 88345
Article written by Jessica Addington and originally published in Focus Regional 2020 Winter edition.