Go Native!

“Want something new and different? Bored with the same old? Go Native. Europe has a huge representation of indigenous grapes––read “native”––and more and more wines made from these grapes are finding their way to New Mexico.”

So you know a Cabernet is going to be perfect with ribeye or roast beef, but the beef for tonight’s meal is a marinated flank steak. Or the salmon you have planned is poached and served cool with capers, so the Willamette Pinot Noir you would normally have with grilled salmon is going to overwhelm your delicate preparation. Want something new and different? Bored with the same old? Go Native. Europe has a huge representation of indigenous grapes––read “native”––and more and more wines made from these grapes are finding their way to New Mexico. They may be single varietals or multi-grape blends. The wine press will often refer to varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as “international varieties.” They are used to make wines all over Europe and the New World, sometimes in areas that make you scratch your head for the incongruity. But Europe, especially Spain, Portugal, France and Italy all have local specialties in cuisine and wine. The wine lover is always looking for the new and different, the crazy and esoteric. New Mexico restaurants are starting to embrace these wines and specialty wine shops are stocking them on their shelves. Here are some especially unusual examples of wines in that category to be found locally, some of them arriving this spring. 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.

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Beer…It’s What’s for Dinner!

Our Outside Bike and Brew Festival beer-dinner chefs and brewers reveal their methods and motivations for making their selections this year. The pairings are certainly sublime—and even a bit mysterious—setting us up for tastings that are sure to get a wide range of reactions and applause. To see a listing of Bike and Brew Beer Dinners, including menus and dates, visit our listing here.

Monk’s Ale

“When I tested the beers, I was in heaven. I really love them,” L’Olivier Co-owner Nathalie Grenet laughs. Pairing with Monk’s Ale was a new experience for Nathalie and her chef husband, Xavier, who felt the European style of ale was really well suited for L’Olivier’s menu. Their beer-recipe research fittingly started at the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day. For Bike and Brew, they are fashioning a beef glaze incorporating the full-body, nutty flavor of dark brews. “To me, these are really beautiful beers,” Nathalie says.

229 Galisteo Street in Santa Fe. 505.989.1919. loliviersantafe.com.

Pranzo Italian Grill
New Belgium Brewery

Pranzo Chef/Owner Steven Lemon and cocktail choreographer Evan Schultz picked a regional brewery that embodies the spirit of the Bike and Brew Festival. “We think an older brewing technique is going to pair with our food the best,” Steven reveals. Pranzo offers four savory dishes, skipping dessert this time, to maximize the brewery’s eclectic line. Get ready to experience a wood-aged, sour brown ale from New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series for one of the chef’s pairings, which he claims proved to be difficult—but will be the most memorable.

540 Montezuma Avenue in Santa Fe. 505.984.2645. pranzosantafe.com. Continue reading

Still Hungry? May 2016

Type “uses for beer” into a search engine and you’ll get plenty of hits—for instance: “9 Surprising Uses for Beer!” or “14 Household Uses for Beer!” But let’s be serious here for a moment, put down the mouse and say to yourself (in a stern voice), “Why do we need 14 uses for beer?” Isn’t it enough just for beer to be beer? So I did what any intrepid reporter would do: I opened a beer and called an expert. In this instance, my expert was Chef Allen Smith of the Santa Fe School of Cooking, and he told me I’m wrong,; beer does have another purpose in life, and that purpose is to transform food, not as an accompaniment, but as an ingredient. “I cook with beer pretty often,” Chef Allen says. He likes to take advantage of the many flavors available in a brew. “They can really enhance a recipe,” he says, adding that cooking with beer can be a challenge for the novice: “You have to know the flavor of the beer and be careful not to overpower the food.” Hoppy, darker beers have a nice nut-like flavor, and hold up in heavier dishes. “Sometimes,” for instance, “a soup or a stew needs a kick.” Add beer, which livens up dishes like carne adovada, since it adds such richness that “you can cut down the amount of butter you might use.”

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Bike and Brew Beer Dinners & Tap Takeovers 2016

Bike and Brew Festival is back and better than ever! This year Local Flavor is excited to participate by coordinating beer dinners throughout the week with several of our favorite local restaurants!

Reserve your beer dinner by calling our partner restaurants directly or just show up for any of these amazing after-hours craft beer parties and tap takeovers.

Wednesday, May 18

Brewery: Monk’s Ale
229 Galisteo Street
Santa Fe
505. 989.1919
View Menu or Make Reservations


New_Belgium_Brewing_Company_logoPranzo Italian Grill 
Brewery: New Belgium Brewery
540 Montezuma Avenue
Santa Fe
View Menu or Make Reservations


3958-5d9fb26c-7724-4a8d-b640-9ab0be0b5dd2Andiamo! Trattoria 
Brewery: Marble Brewing
322 Garfield Street
Santa Fe
View Menu or Make Reservations

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Home Brew

beer-1-1325427-1279x852To most of us, brewing beer is something like witchcraft. You put barley, water, hops and yeast into a container, and a few weeks later, you’ve somehow conjured a potion that not only tastes fantastic, but has the ability to bring people together in joyful celebration. But it’s not magic. It’s something anyone can do, if they are intrepid enough to try.


It does take time, commitment, patience, creativity, a methodical and meticulous temperament, and—most importantly—a willingness to experiment. Brewing is not difficult, but it is technical and complex. It requires a certain level of precision and involves many different variables, so I won’t attempt to detail the process here. Instead, I hope to provide resources and encouragement for anyone who is curious about making the leap into home brewing.

The idea of making your own alcohol may evoke images of backwoods stills and moonshine-swilling hillbillies, but in reality, home brewing appeals to people from many different backgrounds for many different reasons. Some relish the ability to preserve local ingredients and put an abundant harvest to good use. Santa Fe Brewing Company Barrel Artist Leif Rotsaert discloses, “I will go out to nature to harvest, climb trees, dig around in bushes, as well as grow my own herbs and flowers. It is the perfect hobby for the farmer/hunter-gatherer in all of us.”
For others, it’s about creativity, personalization and independence. As Jami Nordby, owner of Santa Fe Homebrew Supply explains, “It has the appeal of science, sometimes the necessity of engineering, and always the freedom of art and cuisine. I can tailor the product to my own taste or make something no one has ever tried before. I just had a customer tell me he made a mango red-chili cider that was fantastic.” He continues, “I think many people are intrigued by the novelty of making their own beer, and many are surprised by early success. After that, they can brew whatever type of beer they can dream of, both flavor-wise and strength-wise.” Members of the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers club agree, saying, “Home brewing allows for lots of creativity. Once you get the basics figured out, you can pretty much brew with any kind of ingredient you can imagine. It also allows you to take your favorite style of beer and tweak in ways that make it your own, and if all goes well, it becomes even better.” Continue reading