We’d just spent the morning at Bandelier National Monument and had worked up quite the thirst climbing in and out of the ancestral pueblo homes in the Frijoles Canyon. After re-grouping in the parking lot we determined that a brewpub would fit the bill and I identified a particular one that I thought would be worth a visit. Into our rental cars we piled and headed back into Santa Fe to the taproom of Rowley Farmhouse Ales.
Rowley is tucked into a a small commercial area within the Westside neighborhood of Santa Fe. It’s exciting to me to see craft breweries popping up in all sorts of areas, adding more of a community to neighborhoods that are usually home to AutoZone and Chick-fil-A. Their taproom was easy to miss. Their building has the standard pueblo style that you see all over the southwest with a small covered patio out front. The only indication that you’re in the right place is a small sign facing their parking lot and a round wooden sign above their door.
Unfortunately we arrived to a patio under construction. Our morning had been spent in the sun so it wasn’t a huge problem for us, but it would’ve been nice to sit in the warm shade in their very lovely outdoor area. They promised us that it would be ready by dinner time, but we were not able to make it back to take them up on their offer. Instead the seven of us (plus a little one) bellied up to the bar. We were lucky that we got there when we did, because we took up the entire thing!
There were a handful of other tables in the taproom making for a very intimate space. It was almost like we’d been transported into a nook within someone’s barn. The decor was simple and straightforward which let us focus on the task at hand: ordering beer and food. With 22 beers on tap there was plenty to choose from! There was a good selection of guest taps but I focused my efforts on the 9 Rowley drafts that were on offer. It took me a bit to realize what was what, just look for RFA on their tap list.
My flight arrived on a metal tray with four tulip glasses of beer set atop a laminated piece of paper noting the numbers of the beers that I had ordered. It took a minute to realize that two of our flights had been swapped but only a sip or two was misplaced before that was rectified. Everyone also put in an order for food. They don’t have an expansive selection but everything they do have sounded delicious. Their focus is on farm-to-table fare and I selected the Shrimp & Grits. Not exactly a southwest staple but I was in the mood and it ended up tasting excellent.
The four beers in my flight were the Sketches of Simplicity Farmhouse Pilsner, Kaffeeklatsch Berliner Weisse with Coffee, Agent Scully American IPA, and Saison du Sarlacc. I ended my visit with a pint of One at a Time Pale Wheat Ale. The Kaffeeklatsch earned a star in my tasting notes. A very unique blend of sour and coffee. It had Heavy sour aroma and was extremely sour forward with a clean coffee finish that really stuck with me. I’d never really had anything like it! The other one that I enjoyed was the Agent Scully. It was Season 1 – Episode 7. The Season denotes the hops, and the Episode is the batch. Pretty obvious X-Files reference, and a very cool concept to an IPA. This particular version was hazy rust gold, with smooth tropical fruit and melon flavors and a mellow bitterness. Very refreshing!
Overall our experience at Rowley Farmhouse Ales was excellent. Their intimate taproom was a perfect spot to share food and drink with friends while discussing our sightseeing in Santa Fe. The staff was very friendly and were always on hand to answer our questions. I’ve looked at photos of their patio online and it looks like it takes that same coziness to the next level. I’d love to visit on a warm evening and dig into some more of their innovative styles. It was easily my favorite taproom that we visited in Santa Fe, and I’d return in a heartbeat!