The Root Cellar

LL The Root Cellar16The adage says it takes a village. Greg Menke, owner and chef of Beestro, The Hive Market and The Root Cellar, contends it’s not a village it takes—it’s a hive. That’s the model for effective, healthy communities—ones that renew and aid their landscape rather than deplete it—he’d like to see adopted. “The bee is really just a metaphor for how to live locally, live sustainably and give more than you take,” Greg says. And he’s taking over one storefront at a time on East Marcy Street to import it.

Greg inherited his infatuation with honeybees from his grandfather, an aeronautical engineer who studied honeybees and honeycombs, and applied those principles for lightweight strength to his work. Pouring through his grandfather’s old journals and workbooks, he found inspiration and answers to questions he hadn’t known he had. He’s come to see bees, providers of honey and beeswax for candles, as an emblem of sweetness and light, both of which are in need of spreading.

In Greg’s own work, those ideas have manifested in the form of the honey-centric businesses that have grown in recent years off the established lunch spot, The Beestro, which opened six years ago. The Hive Market, which opened in November 2015 in the former home of the Blue Rooster and the Rouge Cat, began as a holiday pop-up shop themed around “gifts from the hive.” The aim was to take a test run at the space and the idea of a store centered on honey-based products. It worked. Continue reading

Bike and Brew

Outside Santa Fe's Beer and Bike 2015

Outside Santa Fe’s Beer and Bike 2015

I’ve been asked what makes mountain biking in New Mexico special to me. For a brief question, I have a long and winding answer. My “love affair” (yes, my wife knows) with cycling began when I was given a sparkling blue Schwinn Stingray that I thought was the greatest gift of my young life. After a few weeks of toodling around with training wheels, I gradually became more confident. Then one day, with a patient father in an empty parking lot, I learned to pedal, steer and brake on two wheels. That blue bike radically expanded my childhood universe. I wasn’t limited by ploddingly slow foot travel or the whims of a parent with a car. I had my first taste of speed and freedom, so I explored.

I never lost my taste for the freedom a bicycle brings. I can’t deny that I’ve fallen prey to the temptations of the automobile. I’ve had many dalliances with the quiet speed of road cycling, and my town bike sees quite a few miles every year. But, oh the places you’ll go on a mountain bike! Not limited by pavement, a mountain bike can turn a thin dashed line on a map into a daylong or longer adventure. Continue reading

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

_mg_5514Picture a farmhouse. It’s hospitable and warm, with a pleasant aroma of earth, food, and tradition. A devoted dog naps quietly on the porch. The entire place is comfortable and casual, and when a stranger comes calling, they are graciously welcomed with a plate of homemade food and a glass of ale. The food is familiar and was grown by friends just down the road and it’s always made fresh for visitors when they arrive. The ale was made by hand, just around the back of the barn. With each bite and every sip, you slip further into calm serenity.

Now drop that slice of pastoral bliss right in the middle of Santa Fe, just off one of our city’s main thoroughfares and you have a mental picture of Santa Fe’s newest brewery. Rowley Farmhouse Ales delivers exactly what you’d expect from a farmhouse brewery, and so much more.

Beneath the rustic charm, something fascinating is in the works. Once they get up to full production speed, Rowley will be the only brewery in New Mexico to specialize in farmhouse, lambic, and sour ales. What makes that detail exciting and unique is the use of wild Brettanomyces yeast, or “Brett”. Typically this yeast is considered a contaminant, but what others seek to destroy, they embrace and celebrate. Where others see flaws, the folks at Rowley Farmhouse see complexity. They see perfection. Continue reading

Still Hungry? October 2016

applesA is for Apple. It’s also for Autumn. And Awesome, too, because that’s what sipping hard cider in the crisp chill of fall is. This month, four local cider-makers—Skarsgard Farms, New Mexico Hard Cider, Santa Fe Cider Works and Sandia Hard Cider—share with us a favorite dish, paired with a hard cider they’ve pressed from our local earth’s autumn bounty. Ah yes, A is for Artisanal-cider and Adult-beverage, too. Cheers! Continue reading

The Pioneer of Native New Mexico Hops

New Mexico Hops -  BrianHarvestingHere in New Mexico, we like our hops. In a land where spicy food is king, powerful flavors rule. When it comes to our beer, hop-forward IPAs are a statewide favorite. So it seems only fitting that New Mexico should grow its very own native hop variety, the Neo-mexicanus 1, and that New Mexico hop farming should be pioneered by New Mexico’s first brewery, Santa Fe Brewing Company.

But let’s rewind for a moment, back to 2003 when a local Rinconada man named Todd Bates began a singular project. He frequently hiked through the New Mexico mountains identifying and gathering native wild hop plants. He then isolated and cultivated the varieties at his farm and eventually created a hop that was desirable for brewing. The result was the Neo-mexicanus 1 (Neo-1 for short) and Amalia hop varieties. In about 2010, Todd sold the fruits of his labor to a Washington-based commercial hop farmer, Eric Desmarais, at CLS Farms.

When Santa Fe Brewing Company owner Brian Lock heard about the unique New Mexico hop variety, he was immediately enamored with the idea of growing his own hops. “That really interested me,” he says, “because No. 1, it was a new hop variety that no brewer had tried to brew with before, and No. 2, it was native, so I knew if I put that particular variety in the ground that it would do well, because they are native.”

Brian continues, “I was really excited about taking on the challenge to grow my own hops.” He found a beautiful location near Blue Heron Brewery in Rinconada. The 7.5-acre farm is right on the Rio Grande, which is ideal, not only for its natural beauty, but also because it has plenty of water available for agriculture. Santa Fe Brewing Company purchased the land in December 2013, and Brian began planting the unusual Neo-1 and Amalia rhizomes (bought from CLS Farms) in July of 2014.

Many companies grow or use locally sourced ingredients, but this takes it to a whole new level. These hops are naturally more adapted to the New Mexico climate, so they’re more sustainable and, best of all, they’re unique. They are ours. Continue reading

Fine Food and Fine Beer: Bosque Brewing at Terra Restaurant

4BEER_187Fine dining and beer? You go to a pub to drink beer. You have bangers and mash with beer. Somehow, I was having trouble making the leap—that is, until I caught up with Jotham Michnovicz, a founding partner and director of operations at Bosque Brewing Company, and Andrew Cooper, executive chef at Terra Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. Admittedly, I am a late adopter, one who takes all kinds of flak for liking a flip phone. But yes, I found out fine dining and craft beer go together like I hadn’t even imagined. As part of the Outside Bike & Brew Festival, on May 19, Bosque Brewing and Terra hold a five-course beer dinner at Rancho Encantado. If there’s a restaurant in Santa Fe known for providing its guests with a fine dining experience, Terra is it.

After college, along with two partners, Jotham was working on starting a software company. “It wasn’t panning out the way we wanted, so we decided to redirect our efforts and in the same weekend we all had the same idea separately to open a micro brewery,” Jotham says. “So we decided at that point, ‘Well, we know we love beer and we love business but if we’re really going to make it go we have to start learning how to brew.’” After about two years of R&D, they opened their doors in October 2012.

Continue reading