The craft beer scene in Southern New Mexico has taken off in recent years, with taprooms popping up in new locations and unique brews hitting the menus. Each brewery has its own story to tell and beers ranging from easy-drinking wheat to hoppy IPAs. You can beat the summer heat by cooling off with an ice-cold beer at one of these six Southern New Mexico brewpubs. We know there are lots of great breweries throughout the area and we’ll feature more in future stories!
Little Toad Creek Brewery & Distillery has locations in both Silver City and Las Cruces, but it originally opened at a remote lodge near the Gila Wilderness in 2012. Following their passions for brews and people, the husband-and-wife team of David Crosley and Teresa Dahl-Bredine opened the Silver City tasting room in 2013 and moved the brewery and distillery headquarters there in 2016. They opened a tasting room in downtown Las Cruces in 2018, and plan to open a third tasting room in La Union within the coming year.
“Little Toad Creek beers follow clean, classic American styles,” Teresa said. “We are unique in that we were the first brewery in New Mexico to also be a distillery. We have been producing spirits since 2013, and now have a line of ready-to-drink craft cocktails in cans.”
One of Little Toad’s top-selling beers is the Hop-A-Long Pale Ale, made with wild hops harvested from the Gila River area. Both the Silver City and Las Cruces tasting rooms have restaurants. The Las Cruces location features sandwiches, salads, and pizzas, and the Silver City location offers burgers, fish and chips, fish tacos, and other pub fare.
Cloudcroft Brewing Company
Cloudcroft Brewing Company has a family-friendly atmosphere and is the only brewery in Cloudcroft. Owned by Matt Willett, Jim Maynard, and Cody Castello, the microbrewery opened in June 2018 in what used to be an old firehouse. Before turning the firehouse into a brewery, the owners used the space to host music events.
“We needed a place to hang out,” said Matt, who added that the brewery still serves as a music venue.
Cloudcroft Brewing Company offers regular staples as well as a selection of seasonal beers. A crowd favorite is the Railspike Red Ale, which incorporates flavors of roasted malt and chocolate.
“We have beers that range from lagers to stouts,” Matt said. “Our brewmaster is always changing it up, so he’s experimenting a lot with new things.” Along with its beer, the brewery is known for its wood-fired pizza, as well as a house salad and soup of the day. “We get as much bragging on our pizza as we do our beer,” Matt said.
Lost Hiker Brewing Company
Lost Hiker Brewing Company brings the fun and funky vibe of Austin, Texas, to Ruidoso. Jennifer and Dan Carey, both teachers, moved from Austin to Ruidoso after falling in love with the mountains and deciding to follow their dream of opening a brewery.
“We ended up basically just putting all the cards on the table,” Jennifer said.
Lost Hiker opened in February 2018 and currently has two taproom locations — one in Midtown and one in Ruidoso Downs near the racetrack.
The brewery serves a range of both standard and unique beers. According to Jennifer, the Rye Knot? was the result of a home-brew accident that turned out to be a bestseller. It’s a Belgian pale ale with fruity esters backed by a malty backbone and mild hop finish.
“You either love it or you hate it, but it’s developed this cult following,” Jennifer noted.
Like many other businesses in Ruidoso, Lost Hiker supports local artists through shows and exhibits. Lost Hiker also supports local charities, and recently opened a pizza kitchen called New Mexico Pizza for Good. Each time the brewery hosts an event, they open the kitchen and proceeds from the food sales go to a good cause.
575 Brewing Company
Retired Border Patrol agent Bill Arnold and his wife, Vicky, a retired teacher, opened 575 Brewing Company in Alamogordo in January 2020, just two months before pandemic restrictions hit New Mexico. Fortunately, they had a large outdoor beer garden and a supportive community that kept them afloat.
“With everybody being closed, our big yard outside was one of the few places people could go,” Bill said.
575 is the only brewery in Alamogordo, and its welcoming and friendly atmosphere has quickly made it the go-to place to unwind and relax for locals and passersby. The beers at 575 are made with just a few simple ingredients. The Sleeping Lady, a light American ale, is one of the more popular choices. The fruity beers, like the Raspberry Trestle, are also top sellers.
575 gives back to the community with its Fallen Wings IPA. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Fallen Wings Foundation, a nonprofit supporting U.S. Air Force aerial mishap aircrew. Food items at 575 include snack plates, a soft pretzel, and chips and salsa. Food trucks also set up regularly at the brewery.
Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company
Guadalupe Mountain Brewing Company (GMBC) is a family-owned brewery in Carlsbad that began as a father-and-son dream. It opened in 2018 and has become a popular spot for locals as well as visitors to the area. “It’s just a wide-open space for family and friends to gather on our big patio or dining area to enjoy some fresh brews and cider,” said April Pettus, who runs the brewery along with her husband, Chris, a construction worker. “We have New Mexico wine that we carry, and we have brick-oven pizza now.”
GMBC keeps a blonde ale on tap at all times, a selection of IPAs, and a few outside-the-box brews, like the Coconut Porter, a dark beer with notes of chocolate and coconut.
The brewpub also offers an extensive food menu, with items ranging from subs and paninis to pizza, salads, and sides.
High Desert Brewing Company
High Desert Brewing Company in Las Cruces is the second-oldest brewery in New Mexico. “There’s only one other brewery in the state of New Mexico that’s older than High Desert, and that’s Santa Fe Brewing,” said Donna Almarez, High Desert’s vice president.
High Desert originally opened in 1995, a collaboration between a microbiologist and biologist at New Mexico State University who wanted to brew their own beer. Its current location on W. Hadley Ave. opened in 1997. Donna was the first and only bartender/server at High Desert when it opened. Today, she runs the brewery.
“Of course, we’ve got great beer because we’ve been doing this for a long time,” Donna said. “We think we’ve got it down.”
High Desert always has 11 beers on tap, rotating approximately 50 different styles of beer. The IPA and Peach Wheat are long-time favorites. High Desert is also known for its pub food. The menu includes a long list of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
“Our nachos are ranked as some of the best in the U.S.,” Donna said. “We have fantastic wings; our burgers are big and juicy; and of course you can get green chile on just about everything.”
Written by Alexia Severson
Originally published in Neighbors magazine.
Posted by LasCruces.com