RIO RANCHO, NEW MEXICO
Situated inside the tan stuccoed 36th Place Mall in Rio Rancho (a few miles north of Albuquerque), TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY began operations in 2012 when local Pueblo Indian descendant, Nico Ortiz, decided to join the evolving Craft Beer Revolution. A sizable pub with 12-seat back bar, multiple wooden tables and booths, one slate-topped community table, wall-sprawled beer banners and a banquet room with patio, Turtle Mountain offered wood-fired pizza, burgers, sandwiches and calzones to pair with its dominantly dry beer selections.
With 14 draught lines available on my April ’16 afternoon trip, nine were pouring worthy homemade beers while the others had popular local selections from Bosque and La Cumbre.
For openers, light-bodied McDay’s Cream Ale offered zesty lemon spritz and spicy citric hops to corn-flaked barley malt crisping (allowing subdued celery, fennel and brown rice wisps to emerge beneath the surface). With a similar profile, Heidelberg Helles brought lemony hop briskness to sweet sugar-spiced pale malts and herbal lemongrass snips. Amiable rye-spiced Oku Amber caressed floral-fruited hops with cereal-grained barley and oats.
A ‘fun twist’ on an American pale ale, Parasol White Ale layered lemon-soured yellow grapefruit bittering above grassy hops and spiced crystal malts while the bolder West Coast-styled Hopshell IPA seduced its lemon-peeled grapefruit bittering and lacquered wood tones with floral citrus-candied sweetness.
Tart Gose With The Flow took its soft-toned pineapple adjunct to a salty-bottomed lemon-lime pucker. Vinous black grape esters seeped inside Amethyst Brett Double Stout, a brettanomyces-soured dark ale with light wine barrel aging, serene black chocolate overtones, timid burgundy flutter and peated earthiness as well as pithy black cherry, cola nut and roasted tobacco nuances.
Off-dry Snake Driver Irish Stout gathered dark cocoa, black chocolate, charred nuttiness and dark-roasted grains atop its dewy mildewed base.
Newest full-time dark ale, Stauffenberg Oatmeal Stout delegated dark-roast ground coffee overtones to amplify light charred nuttiness over its groaty barley-flaked rolled oats base.