Monday, July 9, 2012

Santa Fe Breweries: One Pint at a Time!

I photographed the breweries of Santa Fe, New Mexico from 2 to 5 July 2012 as part of an overall story a team of us put together working with famed National Geographic Magazine photographer Jim Richardson (assisted by the lovely and gracious Kansas princess Jordan Haiduk) while part of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshop.  

Sampling at Santa Fe Brewery
Choosing my topic... well, I guess you can say I’ve had experience touring breweries and drinking the products, so why not cover something I know about.  I also thought it would be a different take on a lovely city. 
Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe

Before leaving for Santa Fe, I did some research and targeted four companies.  The first place I stopped and actually visited twice was Second Street Brewery by the railroad tracks on, of all places, Second Street.  I quickly explained I was doing a photo story and was immediately welcomed in.  Actually, one thing I found with all of my visits was how darn friendly everybody was once they found out I was doing a photo story on breweries.  Maybe it was the intense smell of hops in the breweries or maybe they are sincerely nice folks!  Anyway, I fancied a few of their beers and settled on the India Pale Ale.  We all have different tastes.  I just don’t care much for the highly bitter beers.  I also had to remind myself that these beers often come with a kick (higher in alcohol content).  It was hard to say no, but I did need to keep my camera straight.  Rod Tweet is the able brewmaster there.  Thanks for your hospitality, Rod.  I liked it so much I came back a second time.

Robert from Marble Brewery in Santa Fe
Then I went down on the plaza on San Francisco Street and visited Marble Brewery.  Now, I did some faulty research because I thought they had a brewery in Santa Fe.  They brew in Albuquerque.  No matter, I sure did want to try what they had.  Robert, the friendly fellow you see serving me up a pilsner, also let me sample some of the other beers they make including the red, which has a bit of a kick to it. 

Alana Jones and friend at Santa Fe Brewing Company

I then went over to Santa Fe Brewing Company and visited with manager Alana Jones.  Once again, they opened up their tasting room and brewery to me on two different visits.  The lovely Heather served up the brew in the tasting room.  There is just something about a pub that invites friendly people.  It was hard to photograph because I got so engaged in conversation with people.  I just couldn’t decide what to try, so I got the sampler with, as I recall, eight different varieties.  I gave away a few brews so I could get some photographs of people, so I bought some additional samples.  I have always been partial to Hefeweizen (wheat) beer, and their version did not disappoint.  I also liked the Happy Camper and State Pen Porter (named after the nearby state penitentiary).  The friendly Leif took me over to their cask room, which was nearly pitch dark, to see the beer they were aging for two years in wooden casks.  That was a challenge to photograph.  I put my Canon 7D on manual and pointed and fired my 580exII flash unit in various directions.  Cask beer.  That will be interesting to sample when it is ready.  If you ever get to Santa Fe Brewing, ask them about it. 
John is passionate about beer at Blue Corn Brewery

My final visit was to Blue Corn Brewery.   I sampled again several of their beers, but settled on the Atomic Blonde Lager, a very smooth refreshing beer.  My new friend sitting next to me, Mr. Modesto Gilbert Garcia, also liked the Blonde Lager.  While sitting at the bar contemplating either my next photo or next beer, I met a fellow by the name of Darragh Nagle.  He is CEO of Falcon Meadery and Winery and sell wines to Blue Corn.  Darragh explained it was a honey wine made out of brewers yeast.  I must say, I am not much of a wine drinker but provided a sample and it was quite good!  Sadly, I ran out of time; otherwise I would have enjoyed visiting his winery/brewery (or is that a wine brewery?). 
Darragh Nagle of Falcon Meadery and Winery

If you want to know more about breweries throughout New Mexico, visit the New Mexico Brewers Guild.  My home state of Arizona also has a brewers guild.  Now I’ll have to get familiar with the local stuff; a story for another day.

But for now, thank you Santa Fe brewers!  From what I remember, I had a good time. 

Happy Shooting,

Jim Patterson

See all the photos below from my Flickr site