An El Paso brewery and the end to a looooong trip

11 Dec

So…I must have done something to upset the beer gods.  Seriously.  First it’s a closed brewery in Port Aransas.  Then it’s a freak icestorm during my time at High Desertin Las Cruces.  Then I get to Jaxon’s Restaurant and Brewery in El Paso and their entire brewing system is under repair!  Jaxon’s bills itself as the fourth oldest brew pub in the state of Texas.  I could find no dates that would allow me to verify that statement, but this place has been around since forever.  I remember eating here as a small child with my parents.  Not sure how long the brewing has been going on, but they entered a handful of GABF competitions in the late 90’s, so they have probably been at this a while.  Check out their normal line-up.  Thankfully there were still two beers available when we went: Chihuahua Brown Ale and the Borderland Lager.  All was not lost!  I ordered some food and asked the server to bring me the two pints that were available.

Borderland Lager: Served with a lime.  That’s right…a lime.  Now I know that the beer purists in PDX might get their panties in a bunch at the prospect of citrus in a beer, but having come from the SW, I can tell you that it works in Mexican style lagers.  I love me some lime in a Negra Modelo or Tecate.  Now it’s not for everyone, but on a hot day in the desert it’s lovely.  The waitress billed this as their take on Dos Equis Amber, and a damn fine take it was!  The color was a deep gold and it had a nice, clean citrusy smell to it.  Without the lime, this beer tastes like many Mexican lagers I’ve had in the past.  It reminded me of a Bohemia.  With the lime?  It was like a walk down memory lane.  At 3.5% ABV, I would drink 3-4 of these while enhaling an order of hot-ass Chile con Queso.  There are some things I do miss about El Paso, and this combo is one of them (the other is Chico’s Tacos).  I really liked this beer.

Chihuahua Brown Ale: I have to say that the silly drawings that represent each of the beers really had me turned off on this one.  Talk about cheese-ball.  A chihuahua in a Pancho Villa outfit?  But then I tasted it, and realized that I shouldn’t judge the beer by the choice in marketing material used to promote it.  The beer was red/brown and had all the flavors you expect in a brown ale.  The malt shined through with toasty notes, the hops helped balance it out, and the beer finished with a nice crispness to it.   I would think that a lot of their beers would finish drier, as the hot climate begs for beers that quench thirst.  My wife had a pint as well and was very happy with it.  My only issue with it might be that the beer was slighly thinner than the Brown Ales I am used to drinking in Portland.  But drinkable?  Absolutely.  Even with the stupid dog in a Mexican cowboy costume on the glass.

So my trip back to Texas/New Mexico rarely went as planned (from a beer perspective), but what I found were some really good beers to be had back home.  It should come as no great suprise, as the craft beer movement gets bigger everyday.  The breweries I managed to visit were pioneers in the region, and are still at it today.  Good to know that they are continuing to get better and hone their craft.  Nothing beats Oregon for fantastic beers, but if you find yourself in any of the places I visited, I recommend you seek out a local brew or three.

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One Response to “An El Paso brewery and the end to a looooong trip”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I met a monk in El Paso… « taphandle - July 30, 2012

    […] Prior to the Hoppy Monk, I only knew of one other beer-focused establishment, and I profiled that experience the last time I was home. It’s nice to know that my next visit home will provide me with a […]

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