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Santa Fe microbrewery scores first medal at top competition

October 2, 2018

Rowley Farmhouse Ales, the 2-year-old Santa Fe microbrewery, has produced a winner.

Germophile, a Berliner weisse, recently scored a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. It was the first for the brewery and one of only six medals awarded to New Mexico craft brewers at the event.

Jeffrey Kaplan, a Rowley business partner, said he let out a shout when the awards were announced.

“I was very exuberant,” he said.

Berliner weisse is a light, sour beer with a dry, tart taste. The Rowley version, Germophile, is a nod to the bacteria lactobacillus, that creates the sour taste.

“Germophile is one of our core beers and has been very popular,” Kaplan said.

The Great American Beer Festival is an annual event produced by the Brewers Association, an industry trade group that represents craft brewers nationwide. The Sept. 20-22 competition, a premier event for U.S. brewers, this year drew 2,404 breweries that entered 8,496 beers in 102 categories.

Nineteen breweries from New Mexico were on the list to attend the festival this year. Only one from Santa Fe, Rowley, brought home a medal. Kaplan said this is brewmaster John Rowley’s first medal as a professional brewer, but he’s accumulated a chest full of medals as an accomplished home brewer.

A Rio Rancho brewery, Turtle Mountain Brewing Co., won the only gold medal for a New Mexico brewery this year for its Wooden Teeth international-style Pilsner.

“It still doesn’t quite feel real,” said brewer Mick Hahn. “It feels great to walk past the tap and see the medal for Wooden Teeth. It puts a smile on my face.”

Turtle Mountain, like Rowley a small outfit, is a perennial beer festival entrant, but this is the first win in its 19-year history. Hahn said he’s been brewing for five years, half of that time with Turtle Mountain. He said he learned brewing at Albuquerque’s Marble Brewery.

Wooden Teeth started with a recipe developed by Hahn’s predecessor at Turtle Mountain, brewer Tim Woodward, for a Pilsner called Hockey Teeth, Hahn said. He tweaked the recipe and called it Wooden Teeth American ale, a tribute to George Washington.

Another Albuquerque brewery, La Cumbre Brewing Co., won a silver medal for its Malpais Stout in the export stout category.

Three other New Mexico breweries won bronze medals: Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. of Moriarty for its Cherry Wheat in the fruit wheat category; Bosque Brewing Co. of Bernalillo for its Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale, in the golden or blonde ale category; and Starr Brothers Brewing Co., also of Albuquerque, for its Lampshade Porter in the other strong beer category.

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