Recently Yelp rounded up the best craft beer makers around the country in commemoration of American Craft Beer Week.
Yelp, which publishes customer reviews and recommendations for various types of businesses, analyzed user-submitted reviews of breweries in every state to determine the best independent breweries.
New Mexico’s Truth or Consequences Brewing Co., located in the city of the same name, took the top honor for the state.
“At first, we sort of couldn’t believe it,” John Masterson, chief beer officer and co-owner, said. “But then we thought about it and said, ‘Well, the team just executed on the mission.’ In a certain way it makes sense.”
Masterson believes positive Yelp reviews submitted came from a combination of locals and travelers passing through.
“We’ve had a really gracious, appreciative reception from the local community,” Masterson said. “TorC used to have a really thriving, vibrant, lively downtown. And that dried up some years back. And so what was really needed was an evening entertainment venue, and frankly, a meeting space where you could just have a casual beer with a business colleague and hatch a plan to develop a new business or to go on a date, et cetera. And so we have live music. So that was another thing that the community really values. And so I think we probably had some community members who were interested in helping out with our Yelp reviews and trying to give us a boost.”
The owners have a hunch that many travelers stumbled upon them on their way to the town’s popular hot springs.
“They probably sort of walked in the door already charmed by the experience of arriving in the historic downtown hot springs district,” Masterson said. “And then once we could wow them with customer service and delicious beer, they were motivated to give us a little boost on Yelp as well.”
Masterson and his wife, Marianne Blaue, were also travelers from Seattle who found themselves in Truth or Consequences on their way to Silver City. The couple fell in love with the town and decided to find a way to make a living there.
“We developed a crush on the town real fast,” Masterson said. “I was a longtime home brewer in a previous life and (my wife and I) decided we’ve got to figure out a way to have a life here. And then we said let’s get a beer and talk about it. And well, there was nowhere to get a beer downtown. So the idea sort of bloomed right there.”
The couple opened Truth or Consequences Brewing Co. in 2016 along the town’s main street at 410 N. Broadway St. Its beer is served at its headquarters taproom and production facility in Truth or Consequences. The brewery also has a satellite taproom in Las Cruces.
“We’re glad we’re on the main drag on Broadway,” Masterson said. “There’s just a lot of visibility and now there’s other businesses popping up around us that are sort of benefiting from additional activity. So that’s creating additional economic activity and so we feel really good about our impact.”
The brewery incorporates the town as well as outer space in the names of its beers. Dark Skies Oatmeal Stout commemorates Truth or Consequences’ star filled sky. Blood Moon Cherry Lager, which is a tart cherry lager, was named in honor of the lunar eclipse of the same name. Supernova Double IPA, a “super hoppy” hazy IPA, Omega Haze named after the Omega Nebula, as well as Mega Haze and Nebula Nectar, all pay homage to space.
“A lot of our beers have some sort of space theme just to recognize the fact that Sierra County, where we are, is also home to Spaceport America,” Masterson explained. “Obviously New Mexico generally has a pretty rich space history … And it gives us an opportunity to express an almost artistic appreciation of the wonders of the universe. And, it’s fun, well for me, to learn about it and then share some of the cool space stuff that we learn when we name beers.”