One Girl in Portales

A Clovis & Portales Survival Guide

Local Brew Review: EPIC edition

Beer tasting beers

When I decided to write a review on many local beers all at once, I knew I couldn’t go it alone. Its way too much pressure for just one girl in Portales, so, for the first time ever… I needed to recruit a panel of judges.

I really tried to assemble a well rounded panel of judges. Male and female. Experience levels ranging from beer snob to beer n00b. I printed out a quick reference Beer Tasting Guide for my n00bz and some review sheets so I could keep our data organized. I drove to Roswell and stocked up at Pecos Flavors Winery even though I hear that its cheaper to buy the same beers at the Roswell grocery store.

We've got beer

We’ve got beer, we’ve got spreadsheets. We are READY TO ROCK!

The judges:

(names have been changed to protect the identities of my judges)

Von Braun- Male. Beer aficionado and kind of a douche. This is definitely the beer snob of the panel. Loves hoppy beers and hates anything that doesn’t meet the German purity law.

Candy Tips-  Female. A novice drinker who’s learning more about beer everyday. She likes more of the fruity, less hopps kind of flavors.

Reverend Biff Johnson- Male. He drinks 12 beers a week and when he does, its all Land Shark. Known also to divulge in bouts of Mickey’s 40oz duct taped to his hands. He hates micro brews and dark brews.

Turquoise Pearl-Female. Not a fan of beer. She’s a local gal sacrificing herself in this experiment to represent the palette of the chick who’d rather be having a margarita.

Sirius Black- Male. A lover of stouts.  More into foreign delicacies and is all about the way a beer makes your belly feel.

Tulip Golden Moon- Female. Beer lover. She favors just about anything that tastes like its from Northern Europe. Not a fan of ‘American urine beers’ or pretty much anything that Rev. Biff Johnson likes to drink.

A well rounded panel of judges. Male and female. From beer snob to beer n00b.

A well rounded panel of judges. Male and female. From beer snob to beer n00b.

Apparently beer tasting/reviewing isn’t much different from sitting around a table on any given Sunday and drinking with your buddies. There is a little bit of everyone represented and I convinced myself and crew that this was for science! This Sunday was unlike last Sunday because TODAY we are drinking beer as a public service and it needs to be taken as seriously as 6 people drinking gallons of beer can take science!

Marble Oatmeal Stout:

BA Profile: Outstanding

Pearl- Its extremely dark. The first drink tasted very smokey but it was very smooth after. Its got a very good taste.

Rev.- Its super dark, it looks like molasses. There is zero light penetration.  Its smokey at first but that fades the more you taste. There is NO oatmeal taste.

Tulip- I like this! Its malty, smooth. I’d totally buy this. Its toasty but not hella dry. I’m in!

Sirius- It is smooth. It smells dark and kind of sour. Maybe a little coffee? Its heavy on the stomach.

Candy Tips- Smokay! Dark rich nutty flavor.  I didnt get any oatmeal either. Medium bodied.

Von Braun- Dark Espresso Color. Smokey nutty smell. Its actually not very aromatic. This beer has a very smooth mouthfeel. I get light coffee and toasted oats.

Drinking out of my United Way glass!

Drinking out of my United Way glass!

Marble Red Ale

BA Profile: Outstanding

Pearl- It has a very interesting smell. It smells citrusy, almost like a heavy apple juice. (sips) This beer did not taste how it smelled. It’s tart and dry.

Rev.- This one smells like a heavy beer but drinks like a light beer. Its missing something… airy? Much too bitter of an aftertaste for me.

Tulip- I get fruity citrus too. Maybe a little floral? Its got  a light body and its an easy drink. One of those crowd pleaser beers that isn’t too much or too little. I’d take this outside. I’m thinking pool parties, BBQs.

Sirius- I also get a faint fruit like smell. Taste had a light feel with a bitter after taste. Drinks easy and sits well on my stomach.

Candy Tips- Its light enough to drink all night, however, I would not.

Von Braun- Light amberish color. Hoppy front end but finishes with a dry aftertaste. Descent fruity under tones. Good outside sipping beer.

Beer tasting bottle opener

Official atomic beer opener of science!

Monks Ale

BA Profile: Good

Pearl- Light orangish color. The smell is very tart and yeasty. Tasted like a cider to me.

Rev.-  Very golden like the sap from Jurassic Park. Smell and taste are so connected and I didn’t detect a smell so I think I am missing 90-95% of the experience. This one tastes like the most ‘massed produced’ beers so far. I cant taste the man love. I’d buy a pitcher at a bowling alley.

Tulip- Haha! Rev. Biff, I think you mean it tastes most like a domestic lager to you. (puts down smart phone) First of all let me tell you guys that I looked this whole thing up and yes, The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is in on this ‘monk’ beer. Hmmmm… its a little fruity, a little honeyish?  Anyone else get spice? To me this beer is  light and balanced.  I’d say its very balanced, almost to a fault because no flavors shine through to me as largely significant.  It finishes crisp and I love it. I’m calling dibs on the rest of this 6 pack.

Sirius-  Well… (sips) Very very light smell, almost non existant. Creamy to the swallow. Good for spiced food. Pergatory of beer!

Candy Tips-  I cant smell anything either. This one is light to medium bodied. I will go with: wheat flavored water? Idk, I think its plain.

Von Braun- Slight floral scent mixed with fresh wheat. Creamy heffe front end with an almost indistinguishable hop finish. Not impressive, the very slight wheat smell and taste (which I feel is the only redeemable feature)  makes me wish I just had a real heffe.

Beer tasting judge

beer tasting beers

 A Slice of Hefen by La Cumbre

BA Profile: Outstanding

Pearl- Oh wow. Extremely harsh smell that makes me nervous to drink this. The taste is very flat- way better than its smell. There is absolutely no carbonation that came through for me. It was pretty interesting.

Rev.-  Very light in color. Its not bad compared to the smell. This is the best tasting beer to me so far. Drinks like a camp night. Oh look! There are directions on the can! (respours according to directions) This is better now! Yeasty taste, the flavors are way more enhanced now. This beer is the best in show. I call dibs on the rest of these.

Tulip- Ugh. I’ve never been a fan of hefs. Ok. Its um. It smells like popcorn. It tastes like wheat and sweet mellow fruits, banana. Obvious yeast. I could drink this which says a lot, I do like it but its stinky.

Sirius- Upon the smell I am going with “hell no” (pee). Upon taste I get some spice and tang. Tropical fruit flavors. Pineapple.

Candy Tips- This to me smells like a can of cream of chicken. It tastes much better than it smells. This tastes sweet. I really like this one! Pouring correctly is a must!

Von Braun- Light golden color with some slight cloudiness. Very underpowered wheat smell which is overpowered by a chicken broth/urine smell. The taste is a bit stronger than the smell. Sweet wheat taste but finishes a tiny bit sour. Smoothed flavors.

One of our judges working hard

Imperial Java Stout by Santa Fe

BA Profile: Very Good

Pearl- Dark look. This smells delightful! Its just like a coffee shop! OMG, it tastes like straight espresso but this beer is delicious! I enjoyed this a lot. Very heavy and filling.

Rev.-  The name alone turns me off becuase I am not a coffee fan. Its pretty dark looking and smells like ‘coffee soda’. Ughhh.. not a good taste for me. I just got hit in the throat. I hate coffee. I cannot finish.

Tulip- Very dark . I love this beer. Its like coffee pudding in a can. Its got some roasted toasty notes and chocolate.  Very filling and very smooth. Definitely a delicacy beer. Its so heavy and flavorful that there is no way in hell I could finish more than one of these in a sitting.

Sirius-  This beer has a dark coffee smell.  All I taste is espresso. A hint of bitterness.

Candy Tips- Smells like coffee, reminds me of a Starbucks. A strong dark roast. Yup, it definitely tastes like coffee. Very filling. You could make a beer float out of this! There is a slight ‘beer’ after taste. I agree with Tulip, I could not have more than one of these.

Von Braun- Very dark with an amber tint. Chocolate coffee smell. Large chocolate and concentrated coffee punch to the taste. Slightest hop/boozey finish. Thick and sweet. This would be good after dinner or for curing that morning hangover. Its enough coffee taste to fool your body but enough booze to fix your head.

Oh, the stress of science is taking its toll on some as others diligently report their findings.

Oh, the stress of science is taking its toll on some as others diligently report their findings.

La Cumbre Elevated IPA

BA Profile: World Class

Pearl-  This one has a sweet smell. OMG. What a horrible aftertaste. I did not like this one at all. Its sticking to the back of my throat like smoke.

Rev.-  Really good citrus smell, mangos. This tastes like a kick in the throat. Ugh, this is the worst beer ever!

Tulip- Just by reading the can I am expecting a loaded American style ‘hop gun in the face’. I smell apricots and fruit which I know is not to be trusted. Ugh. Yeah. This is mad dank. Like, I get it, I understand the craft and know some people love this but Im not super into the American IPA craze. I  prefer the traditional IPA styles. This is super hoppy and piney and citrusy. Hop bomb. It is what it is ya know. I feel like I have bad breath. This would be perfect  for a Portlandia marathon.

Sirius- Peaches. Tastes good at first and then things get reeaaally bad.

Candy Tips- It does smell kind of peachy. I get some fruity notes. NOT GOOD. Its deceitful. This tastes good at first then its ashy.

Von Braun- Deep yellow tint, not necessarily gold. First smell is citrusy, subsequent smells like freshly laid tar. First taste is a good hoppyness then it finishes very bitter. Remaining tastes are very high on the base side of the Ph scale. This is like a “rape van beer”- it lures you in with free candy only after the door slams shut you realize your mistake. You are in for a long ride. Eh, I think they tried too hard, I’m adding this to the bunch of hipsters trying to outdo each other on hoppyness. Does La Cumbre use the Pecos Valley Aquifer?

Beer tasting sceintist

 Rio Grande’s Desert Pils

BA Profile: Good

Pearl-  Ooh! This smells like apple juice- its very light and smooth. I like this one! Its simple and easy.

Rev.-  Hmm… Its got a bite and taste of an american lager… I could drink 100 beers! EXACTLY 100 beers!

Tulip- Yeah, Pearl. I get the simpleness too. I get the hint of Budweiser also. They have bottled the flavor of nostalgia! I think this is one of those beers that was meant to be had en masse. Its malty and a even little appley?  Its easy and drinkable but leaves me wanting. This one is clean, crisp and quick. You’re in, your out, your onto the next one!

Sirius-  This beer smells like honey. It tastes a little like a generic college beer. Its light.

Candy Tips- I like this one but its not my favorite. Smells a little sweet.

Von Braun-  Light pale color. Very nice honey aromas. Honey is all I taste. The honey mellows out after a few sips and begins to taste like a sweeter pilsner. As someone who is not a big fan of lighter pilsners, I appreciate the sweet addition. I wouldn’t drink more than one if given the choice but it seems like a good hot weather beer.

beer tasting rio grande

In conclusion, there is a wide variety of New Mexico made beers out there! For anyone with a craving, I encourage you to try something local. There are breweries sprinkled around the state and most of them if not all of them have tasting rooms. Don’t be afraid to get out there and find some new favorites! You may be able to find these beers at Cannon or Goober McCools. Plus, there are New Mexico guest taps at Roosevelt Brewing Company in Portales. I hope you enjoyed our little experiment and took something away from it. If anyone decides to pick up a local brew and on their next beer run, we did our job :)

Be delighted by this ugly photo:

Beer tasting- fart face

One comment on “Local Brew Review: EPIC edition

  1. Tracy Mixon
    March 3, 2014

    So glad you are posting again! My son moved there in November, he is getting married in July and bringing his beautiful bride back! This really helps us all see what the place is like…thanks!

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