Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tractor Brewing Company: Another Stop on My Tour of New Mexican Microbreweries

Tractor Brewing Company is the latest stop on my tour of New Mexican microbreweries.

Located in Los Lunas, roughly 20 miles south of Albuquerque, TBC is a small brewery that's part of Ribs Hickory Smoked BBQ restaurant.

I've been to Ribs a dozen or more times. My sister lives in Los Lunas.

I like TBC's beers more than I like Ribs food. Last night I had the beef brisket for $12.49. It came with two sides. I spent an extra $1.50 to substitute onion rings for one of my sides.

The brisket was sliced paper thin and was on the dry side. You have your choice of BBQ sauce as long as it's what comes in a little cup on your plate. The taste was good. Eight or so smallish onion rings came on a separate plate.

Don't get me wrong, the food is good enough, but not memorable.

Usually the service is fairly attentive; although it wasn't last night. Eight of us surrounded our table hidden behind a partition at one end of the dining room. Two servers showed up rather quickly when we were first seated, soliciting our drink orders. Delivering our drinks, the server took our food orders. The food arrived within a decent period of time, but from then on, we were like the forgotten brigade: beer glasses sat empty and one dinner didn't arrive until after everyone else was nearly finished. I had to finally get up and go find our server to make that happen. No one checked on us once the food runners dropped off the first seven dinners.

Young servers were bustling around the place like ants on picnic plate, but none thought to check on us. Of course we had a party large enough to trigger an automatic 15% tip. Normally we would have added another 5% to that: not last night.

Enough about the food and service, let's talk beer.

I had the Double Plow Oatmeal Stout. It was flavorful with some traces of coffee and malt. I was not disappointed. We were there for happy hour and a pint was $2.50: a bargain by any measure.

My two nieces who were there with me each tried the Haymaker Honey Wheat. I'm not a wheat-beer fan, but they really liked it.

Ribs doesn't seem to market the brewery side of the business very effectively. Of course I come from a region well known for its BBQ, but I think the beer is a bigger draw than the BBQ.

I didn't see any tee-shirts, TBC pint glasses or any other logo merchandise available.

They also made the decision to keep the tanks and plumbing of the brewery out of sight. Granted it doesn't make the beer taste better, but part of the experience is being surrounded by brewery trappings.

By the time we left around 7 PM, the restaurant was buzzing and the parking lot stuffed with vehicles.

Obviously Ribs is doing just fine.

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