Open since October 1st 1999 in the growing Albuquerque bedroom community of Los Lunas stands Tractor Brewing Company. At the intersections of Main and Lujan look for the tractor parked on the corner. Physically and contractually attached to Ribs Restaurant, the synergy seems to be working. Fully wheelchair accessible, the medium-sized lounge offers a view across neighboring farmlands of the Manzano Mountains. Abundant windows combine with tan tile floors to make for an open and airy environment, perfect for viewing the classic model tractors and historical farming memorabilia from John Deere, Case, and Allis Chambers that populate the white walls of the room. Stainless steel tops the hand-made bar and lounge tables, as well as surrounds the mirrored barback. A corrugated galvanized sheet over the bar protects patrons from unknown falling debris, always a concern in the deserts of New Mexico. From 30 feet overhead a gray iron-beamed ceiling provides solid support. Three TVs and one "bigscreen" are also on hand, but the loudest sounds might be those of the Country music wafting in from next door. A screened-in patio offers a great place to take in the relaxed pace and fresh air of the "country". Time, and the winds, will tell if outside attendance is impacted when it comes to fertilizing time on the farms.
The rear of the building is where the 15-barrel copper JV Northwest brewhouse stands. Five 15-barrel uni-tank fermenters feed 11 densely-packed Grundy tanks stacked in the cold room. After the spent grains leave the Mash Tun they are whisked away by a local farmer for his appreciative bovines. An initial four beer lineup will soon expand as Brewer / Distributor Mike Campbell strives to meet in-house and local demand. The Hay Maker Honey Wheat is clear gold with a light body and slightly sweet wheat flavor. Very smooth! The Farmer Brown Ale is a clear dark amber where a medium body and smooth mouthfeel are accompanied by a rich malty flavor and great dry/sweet flavor balance. This one can be found on tap at O'Neils in Albuquerque. The Sod Buster Pale Ale is a dark gold with a bold hoppy aroma followed by an equally powerful hoppy flavor. The Johnny Popper IPA offers an even more intense hoppy aroma along with a medium body and flavor profile dominated by hops. The Double Plow Oatmeal Stout is easy-drinking, with a light body and very dry flavor that is not excessively roasted nor chocolaty. All the beers are filtered and are both clean and flavorful. Future selections should include a Half Acre Hefe-Weizen and a house root beer. From the neighboring bar at Ribs, mega-beers, ciders, and a few imports can be ordered.
The Brew Pub Menu consists of Chilli Poppers, Santa Fé Chicken Rolls, Mozzarella Sticks, Buffalo Wings, Onion Rings, Zucchini Sticks, Texas Toothpicks (battered jalapeños), Quesadillas, and Sautéed Mushrooms. A full menu from the adjacent Ribs should also be available. Summertime will bring live music, with the former lead singer from the Smitherines expected to appear. Mike and Cheryl are putting in a lot of energy with twice-weekly brews and self-distribution to five outside accounts. When in the vicinity, make sure to stop by to "get plowed" by the abundant flavors on hand at Tractor Brewing.
Tractor Brewing Company
120 Nelson Lane
Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - February 2000
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