S is for Santa Fe.
With the weather finally warming up and road conditions finally safe for travel, Aaron and I decided to take the rather short drive 45 minutes north to Santa Fe. Growing up in Albuquerque, I was never one to care too much about the highly hyped up Santa Fe. Yes, walking around the Plaza feels like stepping into an antiquated European village, and the city boasts a world class art community, but, like any major tourist destination, the place feels a bit pretentious and unauthentic.
However, despite being smaller and less accessible than Albuquerque (Santa Fe doesn’t have a major airport), I cannot argue that Santa Fe offers better (and higher end) shopping options . For example, the only premium outlet center in New Mexico is in Santa Fe (http://www.fashionoutletssantafe.com/index.shtm). While selection is much more limited than say, the Premium Outlets in Las Vegas, the Nike Factory and Coach Outlet are worth the drive.
While we are up at the outlets we usually make a quick stop by the Santa Fe Brewing Company (http://www.santafebrewing.com). We love to try out microbreweries wherever we go, and I really think the smaller ones, where the bar only seats as many customers as the bartender can keep up conversation with, are the ones worth visiting again and again. If they also happen to have great beer, even better.
Santa Fe Brewing is one of those places. Most New Mexicans know the Santa Fe Brewing brand with the Zia Symbol cap. They are available in most grocery stores and restaurants. We even served it at our wedding. However, despite the availability, I am always pleasantly surprised at how quaint and personable the tiny brewery at the south end of Santa Fe is, even on a Saturday afternoon. The bar seats 5. There is probably room for about 10 more people in chairs down stairs, and room upstairs for people wanting to lounge on the couch. You get your beer from the bar because the place is too small for a cocktail waitress. And, best of all, conversation with complete strangers happens naturally. On this particular day we talked to a man just off a mountain climb in Turkey, and a man who, years ago, had been held hostage in Yemen.
Every Saturday is Small Batch Saturday where an experimental brew, usually crafted by a home brewer, is featured. This Saturday, the brew was Red Ginger Wheat (like Christmas in a beer). We’ve also had Green Chile Beer and Hard Cider on other Saturdays that we’ve been there, and a pitcher on the bar begs for suggestions. But our house brew picks are 1) the Java Stout (for the diehard coffee lovers) which is actually made out of coffee, 2) Pale Ale, 3) Nut Brown, and 4) Oktoberfest. Needless to say, I was delighted that this late in the season, we were still able to pick up a 6-pack of the Oktoberfest before heading home! I hear they have a good IPA, but I pretty much think IPA tastes as good as Lysol smells, so I don’t know from experience. The beer is great and original, and the Brewery is a delightful place to spend a Spring Saturday afternoon.
S is also for Sun Tea.
To take advantage of the natural heat, Aaron put some sun tea out today. That in itself isn’t too exciting, however, with the amazing Retro Camera app, even sun tea on our fence can look pleasant.