Nick Carr on February 15, 2016 2 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Santa Fe Brewing Co. Location: Santa Fe, NM Style: Winter Warmer ABV: 6.0% IBU: 18 Appearance: Warm brown-amber with ruby highlights; Light-colored mocha head; Superb clarity; Low carbonation. Aroma: Notes of dusty chocolate, coffee and roast; Chili adds vegetal heat; Low notes of caramel and roasted maltiness. Flavor: Light caramel sweetness with notes of roast & cocoa; Clean, subtle red chili spiciness; Silent hops. Hops: Bravo Malts: Two-row Pale, Light and Dark Crystal, Midnight Wheat Special Ingredients: Cocoa Nibs, Red Chile flakes Shelf Life: 6-9 months Suggested Glass: Mug, Tulip or Snifter Serving Temp: 50°F – 55°F Availability: Winter Seasonal Pairs With: Pork Stew, Tamales, Aged Gouda, Cinnamon Churros Well, here we are. A little under a month of winter left to go and so many winter seasonals left untried. I guess there’s always next year and I do have to say I’m looking forward to the slow return of warmer weather and longer days. I guess that’s what’s great about each season in its turn. We enjoy it, but then look forward to the next as it approaches. In the spirit of still enjoying this winter season I have a new seasonal from a local New Mexico Brewery. The Santa Fe Brewing Company is only about 40 minutes from where I live. It’s also the oldest running brewery in the Land of Enchantment. The brewery finds its beginnings way back in 1892 when it was first incorporated under its current name. It closed soon after in 1896, would remain closed through the long years of prohibition, and only reopen in the first throws of the craft beer revolution. In 1988 Mike Levis bought the company and revived the name. He obtained needed equipment from the Boulder Brewing Company, which included custom square vessels and open fermenters. With the needed equipment in place he began to brew. Since these early beginnings the brewery, pushed by the need to expand, has moved twice. Santa Fe Brewing has had a lot of firsts; beyond being New Mexico’s first craft brewery, it’s the state’s largest brewing company, and it was the first New Mexico brewery to start canning their product. Adobe Igloo is the breweries newest release and takes the spot of “winter seasonal” in the lineup. Winter warmer’s often are higher alcohol and offer some blend of warming, fire-side reminding, spices to help shake the cold. For Adobe Igloo the brewery decided to look to New Mexico’s cultural history and culinary heritage for inspiration. Instead of going the usual route of cinnemon, ginger, nutmeg, or any of the other oft used warming spices, They went to New Mexico’s most known crop… chili. Using red chili flakes and cocoa nibs they’ve built a beer true to its origins. The design on the can too, is classic New Mexico. Utilizing a pattern reminiscent of woven Native blankets and rugs, with requisite brown patterning speaking to, of course, an Igloo built of Adobe. I’m excited, how bout you? THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Adobe Igloo. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Adobe Igloo drops into the glass a warm brown-amber, shot through with ruby highlights when held up to reveling daylight. A dusky two-finger head bellows up, with coloring of the lightest mocha. Head retention is good, dropping within about three minutes to a less impressive, but steadier half-finger. Clarity is superb; carbonation low. Aroma brings notes of dusty chocolate, low coffee, and roast. The chili adds a whisper of vegetal heat, while the malt comes through as low notes of caramel and roast. Mouthfeel and Taste: Low to medium carbonation pushing a nicely rounded medium full body. Very slightly warming. Light caramel sweetness at the front. The coffee aromatics don’t transfer, but there are notes of roast, and cocoa. Memories of chocolate linger in the aftertaste. Clean and very subtle red chili spiciness augments the roast and choco rather than shining its own spotlight. You may not even recognize it as chili unless you’ve experienced red chili regularly. It’s that subtle. Hops run silent. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is definitely a new favorite. The chile and cocoa remain subtle and anonymous, like muses stitching mystery into the brew, you’ll find a flavor you feel you should recognize, but it continually eludes capture. That is, as I said above, unless you’ve had some serious chile experience. Whether mystery or captured muse the warming qualities of the chile flakes and the dusty cocoa balance well with the deep malt backbone, creating a beer different, but easily drinkable. A nice companion for the last cold days at winter’s end.