I met a monk in El Paso…

30 Jul

Far be it from me to dog my hometown as not being very “cosmopolitan”, but it has historically lacked some of the finer things in life.  Namely places to get something other than a Coors Light.  Well, it looks like El Paso has started to take itself in a new direction I am happy to say!  A couple of blocks down from my Mom’s house is a relatively new joint called The Hoppy Monk.  With an emphasis on beers from Europe, Texas, and California, this tap house has about 150 bottles and 45 + drafts.  There were the standard Deschutes and Rougue offerings, along with some NY beers as well.  With the saying “Good people drink good beer” as their motto, I was happy to find a place that is trying to bring some craft beer to El Paso.

Two great tastes that taste great together

I started off with an Endeavour Double IPA from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, at the recommendation of the bartender.  Pretty solid beer, if you ask me.   Excellent piney, citrus nose was the first thing I noticed.  Then a nice, big malt profile with an intense bitterness up front that finishes softly with spicy notes.  I am not familiar with the brewery, but from what I tasted, they know what they are doing.

I followed up the IPA with a bottle of the Stone collaboration TBA (triple brown ale).  Brewed with molasses and brown sugar, this extra hoppy brown ale was quite a beauty.  The nose was real fruity…sort of plummy and earthy.  The initial flavors were slightly smoky and pleasantly sweet, with the hops and malts well balanced, making this a really solid brown.

As for the place itself?  Good for El Paso, but it left a bit to be desired in the service and food departments.  You can tell that the staff is doing A LOT of educating of its customers.  They tried way too hard to give me the skinny on beer when I bellied up to the bar.  I realize that they are probably working in a tough market when it comes to beer knowledge, but not everyone who sits down is ignorant of styles, flavors, ingredients, etc.  I tried cutting them some slack, but it was a bit annoying for the first 10 minutes, until the bartender figured out that I knew a little bit about beer (and I mean that in all seriousness…I know only a little bit, but that is way more than most El Pasoans probably do).  Additionally, the food was not that great.  My wife’s Margherita pizza was an abomination of the style and the sliders were decent, but not impressive. I am clearly spoiled by the pub food in PDX.

The patio decorations were a nice touch

Having said all of that, this is a great place to come across in El Paso.  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 place to hang out at on the west side of El Paso.

The 411 from my brother is that there is a new brewery in Las Cruces as well, and that there are more and more beers coming to town that were never available before.  I am excited that craft beer is starting to blow up in the southwest, especially after my last experience here, and I hope to run across a few more places and beers worth writing about.  Stay tuned…


2 Responses to “I met a monk in El Paso…”

  1. Chad wakefield July 30, 2012 at 10:59 PM #

    For some reason I had a flash back of the Rib Hut. That Stone TBA sounds appealing to me.

    • BrianBrian July 31, 2012 at 9:20 AM #

      Mmmmmmm…Rib Hut. $1 beef ribs on Wednesdays. That does bring back the memories.

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