Second Street Brewery

A definite stand-out among Santa Fe's few craftbeer establishments, Second Street Brewery offers just what you'd look for in a neighborhood brewpub: atmosphere, friendly staff and great beers. Inside, the one large, open room has sections for darts, dining and drinking. An eight-place J-shaped bar at the back of the room stands between patrons and the glass-walled source of their liquid pleasure, the brewhouse. A silent TV features sports activity while commercial-free Rock & Roll tunes spread throughout the room. Beneath the 20-foot ceiling stand the light wood tables and padded chairs. Yellow walls with painted hop vines complement the colorful murals and the green concrete floor. Hanging from the room's main hand-hewn wooden beam are wooden signs labeled with the featured house beers. An outside brick patio offers a dozen tables of wood and painted green iron construction. The chairs are a matching green plastic patio furniture.

Seven beers are commonly available from the three three-tap brass towers. The 3.6% Golden Ale is a clear gold color with a crisp hoppy flavor throughout. It's surprisingly full body is matched with a creamy mouthfeel; clean and filling. The 5.2% Kidder Special Bitter is a deep copper color with a rich hop aroma. The slight hoppy flavor is paired with a dry maltiness that together result in a pleasant finish and lasting hop aftertaste. The German Altbier is also copper colored and surprisingly hoppy, with a short and slightly malty finish. The ESB is deep ruby with a great malty character, medium body, lasting head, moderate carbonation, and mellow supporting hops that produce a fine flavor balance. The 6.0% IPA is deep amber with a very assertive hop flavor with an underlying maltiness - very nice! The 5.2% Cream Stout offers a rich roasted aroma with a medium body, small mouthfeel, dry dark malt character and dry finish. The Old Pecos Porter has a sharp black malt flavor where a slight chocolaty character produces an overall very dry finish to this light-bodied brew.

The food menu offers an attractive selection of pub fare with reasonable prices. Highlights include: Appetizers ($4-$7) - Santa Fé Wings, Grilled Salmon Cakes, Personal Pizza, Quesadillas, and Beer-battered Fried Calamari; Sandwiches ($6-$8) - Chicken Pita, Burgers, and Jerk Chicken; Soup & Salad ($3-$8) - Poached Salmon Salad; Public House Entrées ($8-$9) - 1/2 chicken Breast, Salmon Cakes, Fish & Chips, and London Broil. Daily Specials are highlighted on chalkboard include such local favorites as Red Chile Enchiladas.

Happy hour runs 4 to 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight, with $2.50 pints. Standard prices include 75¢ for 4-ounce samples, $2.25 for 10-ounce, $3.29 a pint, $4 for a 20-ounce Imperial pint, and $10.49 for a super-sized 60 ounces. Half gallon growlers are $11 initially and $8 for refills. Kegs "to go" run $35 - 3 gallons, $55 - 5 gallons, $75 - 7 3/4 gallons, and $125 - 15 1/2 gallons. Sodas include Henry Weinhard Draught Style Root Beer and Cock & Bull Ginger Beer. Secondhand smoke doesn't seem to be a problem with the crowd of mostly regulars, along with the occasional appreciative tourist. A pooltable was recently added but a full-blown additional "annex" has been stymied by local government bureaucrats. With only a dozen and a half tables inside, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. Just the thing to make tasting Rod Tweet's fine beers a great experience.

Update for 2005 - Brewhouse expansion and relocation into an adjacent building has been completed and production is up, much to the appreciation of the local customers. The latest rendition of the Rod's Best Bitter, at 3.8%, pours a dense gold with a slight head on top of the medium body. The delicate hops edge out the maltiness for flavor dominance. The hop bitterness is very mellow and well suited to a very smooth body and the soft palt malt character. A very nice British Bitter. Competing for the attention of IPA aficionados is the St. George IPA. Brewed as a strong English Ale, the Fuller's yeast and Goldings hops make this big beer distinctively British and very attractive. The outdoor patio remains open all winter and a great place to catch some New Mexico rays. The long overhead heater makes for a cozy nook where the body stays warm and the beer chilled.

Second Street Brewery
1814 Second Street
Santa Fé, New Mexico 87505-3848

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - October 2000, January 2005