Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You Don’t Have to Wait Until St. Patrick’s Day . . .

to drink “green” beer.

As we continued our walking tour of Deming, we came to a building known as “Tea Pot Dome.” Built in 1886 in the Queen Anne Commercial Style, it has been a stable, a meat market, and other businesses. Today, it is the home of the Mimbres Valley Brewery & Pub and is another one of the few alternatives to Mexican dining in town.

Owner Bryan Reedy’s “vision is to exceed all customer expectations in great brews, stellar service and a relaxing dining experience, and to provide community members with a ‘second home when they walk through the door.’” And color that home green--“Our goal is to become a certified green restaurant with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building,” says Bryan.

“New Mexico MainStreet (NMMS) and its partners...joined forces to provide technical assistance in energy efficiency improve-ments and grant application packaging.... They prepared grant applications to the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program(REAP).... REAP Improvements include insulation above the existing ceiling tile, replacement of inefficient lighting and lamps, and installation of a photovoltaic solar electric generation system on the roof.... Energy efficiency improve-ments are just part of rehabili-tation. Bryan is adding a kitchen and brewery (left in the photo). And repairs and rehabilitation of the building envelope will ensure that the 1885 structure, historically known as the ‘Teapot Dome,’ will help anchor the district for another 125 years” (from

The Mimbres Valley Brewery is one of the few Deming restaurants to post its menu on the windows, and my eyes were immediately drawn to one appetizer—the Cheddar Battered Macaroni and Cheese Wedges. This is my kind of eats! We didn’t stop that day, but vowed to return.

And return we did a few days later. The first thing I noticed when we entered was the magnificent and original pressed tin ceiling (right and below). I am amazed at how many of these original ceilings still exist in small Southwestern towns.

The menu is short and simple and concentrates on what I would call “brew food.” Sandwich choices include a bratwurst, a chicken sandwich, a Philly Cheese Steak, a “Spicy” BLT made with spicy bacon, a portabella “burger,” and four other burger variations. Finger foods included: wings with hot or mild buffalo sauce, Caribbean jerk sauce, or BBQ or spicy BBQ sauce; beer battered mushrooms; beer battered hot scoopers (onion petals coated in jalapeno speckled beer batter); artichoke spinach dip; sliders; beer battered fries; breaded green chile fries; peppercorn sweet potato fries; and the aforementioned cheddar battered mac and cheese wedges. All of these perfect for sharing a pint or two (or three) with friends.

Six booths and six high tops provided seating for at least 40 customers. Along one wall was a bar with seating for twelve. Over the bar was a chalkboard listing the beers available. Among the beers on tap that day were the Poncho Villa Stout, Green Chile Lager, Golden Ale, Nut Brown Ale, Liquid Nap (a Belgian), and Rusty Nail Scottish Ale. All, with the exception of the Green Chile Lager and the Nut Brown Ale are brewed on the premises.

We ordered the stout, which Chuck liked best cold and I preferred when it came closer to room temperature and the toasty coffee flavors were more predominate.

Chuck’s lunch choice was the bratwurst with the battered french fries. The good juicy German sausage, with a nice grilling char, came on a toasted bun (this always gets extra points) and was covered with a not-too-sour sauerkraut. The fries were lightly battered with a good crisp exterior and soft and mealy interior.

I started with a bowl of Southwest Chicken and Potato Soup that contained small cubes of chicken, potatoes, green chiles, and corn in a chicken broth. The soup was good, but I would have liked a more pronounced Southwest flavor—like hotter green chiles.

Then it was time for the mac and cheese wedges. First, I strongly suspect that these come to the brewery frozen in a bag. They were too uniform in size and shape to be homemade. But if you want the ultimate bar food, these were it. The outside was crusty, and inside you encountered the soft macaroni and the oozing cheese. From about four options, I chose the green chile and onion dipping sauce and, again, I would have liked hotter chiles.

So I raise my glass to Bryan Reedy and his staff and award Mimbres Valley Brewery & Pub a solid 4.0 Addies.

Our walk around the historic section of Deming, NM, took us past some of the 37 (out of 134) properties within the commercial district that have retained their historical significance.

At the present time, four of the 16 buildings on the State Historic Register are also on the National Register of Historic places. But we also found evidence of the city's 14,000 residents' desires to bring color and novelty into the city.

From the umbrella at the table outside The Brew (above), located down a dirt side street to the residence (right) about two blocks from the Courthouse

and a business (left), owners of businesses and homeowners have paired their reverence for the town's history (as evidenced by their highly-regarded museum) with a break from the serious focus on the history of where they play, live, or work.

An example of a dramatic break can be seen in this person's use of color to express himself in what he drives.

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