We don’t know why it took us so long to try out Cortez’s Main Street Brewery & Restaurant. Maybe it’s the name. While it certainly won’t lead you wrong – the brewery is indeed on Main Street – it’s not quite as attention-grabbing as your WildEdges or Skas.
Whatever the case, we’re sorry we didn’t drop by sooner. And we’re not just saying that because we’re massive nerds and, in addition to the caterpillar from “Alice in Wonderland” and dragons and the like, the mural above the bar features the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D, the one from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). The beer and the food are pretty good, too.
During our recent visit, we tried two of their beers: the Blue Corn John and the Honey Raspberry Wheat.
The Blue Corn John has earned a spot on our list of favorite brews from Montezuma County. A traditional dark Mexican lager, the beer is brewed with blue corn sourced from Bow & Arrow Brand Farms just down the highway in Towaoc. It tastes like a Mexican lager. But it also tastes like a blue corn tortilla. The ... well, “corniness” of it adds to the flavor without adding anything approaching a vegetable taste to the beer. In other words, if you’re the kind of person who appreciates a well-made corn tortilla for its own sake, you’ll probably enjoy this brew. It was extremely quaffable, and it didn’t take long for us to drain our glass.
The Honey Raspberry Wheat, while entirely different from the Blue Corn John, had similar qualities. Local honey is added to the beer during the brewing process, and it’s finished with raspberries. Which would make you think it’d be kind of sweet ... but it isn’t. As you drink the beer, you can easily taste the flavors of both the honey and the berries, but in their most stripped-down forms. It isn’t sweet at all and really isn’t fruity either. It’s like the yeast has eaten away the sugars of the flavors, leaving only the incorporeal essence of both of them within a nice light wheat ale. If you enjoy raspberries but not fruity beers, such as Carver Brewing Co.’s Raspberry Wheat Ale, you should definitely try this one.
Of course, we couldn’t just sit there in the brewery, which seems very large (especially if areas of it were not closed off because of COVID-19 restrictions), with a menu in our hands without ordering some food. So we got a cup of the Green Chile Stew and the Smothered Chili Cheese Fries, which just so happens to also be topped with the aforementioned stew. Are we a bit obsessed with green chiles, especially when they come with chunks of pork? Yes. Certainly. Green chile is a magical fruit and we’ll never let you tell us otherwise.
In both a cup and over fries, the green chile was eminently cheesy. While consuming both dishes, we had that experience where you feel a strand of cheese hanging below your lips so you continue to pull it into your mouth because you assume it’s not that long – only to look down to see that the strand is being continually generated by the food on the plate and doesn’t show any signs of breaking. In other words, it was great. The stewed pork is worth mentioning because it was cooked to that point where it perfectly melts in your mouth. And when they say that the stew comes with fresh-baked focaccia bread, they mean it, at least in our experience. It could not have been out of the oven for more than a few minutes before it made its way to our table. Finally, the Guacamole Poblano Ranch that came with the fries was the tangiest of dipping sauces, and we loved it.
Suffice to say that we had a great beer and chile experience at Main Street and will be adding it to our rotation of breweries to visit on a regular basis.