Monday, July 9, 2012

Eske's


There have been times in my life when I traveled to places or when I met people and a lasting impression was created. I am fortunate enough to have traveled a lot. I thank my uncle, John, for my traveler's spirit. I have also had opportunities to meet a lot of people. For that, I am grateful for my teaching job, my traveling spirit, and for my ability to talk with anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. I'm not sure where I got that disease, but I am thankful for it until it causes me to get stuck in Walmart.

My mind reaches back to unforgetable places like Glacier or Denali National Parks where I hiked in silent awe of the landscapes, to Appomattox National Battlefield where tears flowed freely as I visualized the Union troops saluting the crushed Rebels, and to the shanties of Nogales, Mexico that made third world poverty a reality for me. Though my time in those places was brief, the imprints they left in my memory were deep enough to last a lifetime. My character is elevated and I am grateful to have gone to those places.

Then there are the people who passed quickly through my life but who still live vibrantly in my mind. There was the elderly black son of a sharecropper who eagerly welcomed me to chat with him on the porch of his ten by ten foot shack in Alabama. And I fondly recall the thru-hiker from Virginia that I picked up in the Smoky Mountains. There was the one-time superstar endurance athlete who welcomed me into his home and treated me like an old friend. I will never forget the salesman, who gave me a short life lesson that I recall often in this walk through life.

Trust me, I could go on and on, but the canvas is prepared. An attentive mind knows what I am creating here. Life, short and precious, provides many opportunities for growth, joy, and emotion. We simply need to pause long enough to appreciate those gifts.

As a measure of the diversity of these gifts, I would like to introduce Eske. He treated me with respect and kindness when I first visited his pub in June of 2008. I have, since 2000, visited more than 100 breweries and brewpubs all over the country. My outgoing nature has allowed me to meet many brewers. Eske stands out as the most cordial and energetic of them all. When I think of Eske's Brew Pub and Eatery, I smile!

Eske, in green, busy in the kitchen
I brew beer, love beer, and draw satisfaction from meeting like-minded people. When I announce during my first visit to Eske's that I am a chemist and a brewer, the waitress tells Eske and he appears within minutes. He talks to me about the brewing process, he shows me his brewery, and he takes me to the cellar beneath his pub. Granted, it is an off hour in the middle of the afternoon, and Eske obviously still has plenty of work to do, but he takes the time to talk to me.

Down to Earth, with a calm, soft voice overriding the intensity of an entrepreneur, Eske is instantly a likable man. His thick sandy head of hair, bright eyes, and bronzed skin make him resemble a surfer. Eske's chiseled arms and legs announce the laborious life of a brewmaster and his love for the outdoors. Only the creases around his eyes reveal his middle age and the many hours he must devote to his business, his love.

During my recent visit to Taos, I talked again with Eske. I also witnessed him wearing the hats of all of his employees as he moved about the place. It was obvious that his staff, which varied from five to six while I was there, were at ease around him. He is, apparently, a likable boss.

A simple, well-thought out menu
Eske's wife, Wanda, whose name graces several of the dishes on the short, but fulfilling menu, also blends into the workforce. The two seem very busy, but they both smile a lot and take the time to welcome and talk to customers. After thirty years, they know how to get the work done while enjoying themselves.

The Hefe, the Burrito, and Wanda's Stew. 
I visit Eske's three times during my two day visit. Smile. I use the rain as an excuse, but the truth is that I love the aura of the place. I also love the burrito smothered with Wanda's stew (minus the cheese, of course!). Then there is the music. A bluegrass quartet on Friday night and a jazz trio on Saturday night help pull me in and hold me in a chair on the porch (Eske's has indoor and outdoor seating). What a surprise, a treat, to be entertained by those talented musicians!
The Muddy Mountain Orchestra
And, lastly, there is Eske's beer. Beer is part art and part science. Eske currently has nine beers on tap, covering the tapestry with brews to satisfy any beer lover's tastebuds. And they are all GREAT! I have only been able to say that about two of the other breweries I've visited. Eske is a brewmaster with a wide range of brews that more than meet the expectations of their respective genres. I love stouts and hefes. Eske's 10,000 Foot Stout and Hula Hoop Hefe are both bulls eyes, having unique, yet superb blends of grains and hops to compliment their respective yeasts. Well done, Eske!!
Eske's brews
If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in Taos, NM, a mountain town known around the world for its artists, don't forget to visit one of the best galleries - Eske's. I am certain that it will quickly make an indelible mark on your memory.

Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer. - Dave Berry (from BrainyQuote.com)



1 comment:

  1. Well put. I live 4 hrs away and am always eager for my next visit. Truly one of the great treasures of America.

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