Autumnal

Fall is a great time to be alive in New Mexico. The smell of pinon fires mingling with the scent of roasting green chiles on the cool air means one thing, it’s beer festival season. Marble Brewery’s intimate Septemberfest, delivers the goods from regional microbreweries around the state. Then there’s the New Mexico Brew Fest, at the Villa Hispana. I’ve never attended this one, but I see it’s got a nice line up of big commercial breweries (Odell, New Belgium, ect.) as well as some non-New Mexico neighborhood breweries, like Ska Brewing out of Durango.

Another festival that’s not to be missed is Telluride Blues and Brews. Generally known for big name headliners this festival also has a really great line up of Colorado beers from breweries big and small. I drank a lot of good beer when I went last year, even as it snowed on the valley in late September.

This year, in a brilliant move, Il Vicino Canteen kept things closer to home, cracking open the beers they planned to take to the mother of all beer festivals, the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on October 11-13. I felt like it was Christmas in September as I sipped their Chocolate Cherry Stout, which an innovative competitor in the Fruit Beer category at GABF this year.

Of course GABF is sold out, who doesn’t want to drink beer in 70 categories from 580 of the nation’s best breweries, but if you’ve got a New Mexico server’s license, hit up your local pub and see if you can join their team to head north and volunteer.

No tribute to fall in New Mexico could be complete without mentioning Dixon’s Apple Orchard. I feel extremely lucky as a new Burquena to have been treated to this fall tradition before it was too late. As a girl from New England who grew up picking apples with my classmates in the crisp Connecticut air, I was thoroughly impressed with Dixon’s delicious champagne apples. Sadly, my first visit to this wonderful orchard would be my last. The orchard was badly burned in the fires of 2011 and will not be producing a harvest this year.

New Mexico may not be New England, with throngs of tourists inundating small towns to stare at the leaves and gawk at covered bridges (I’m looking at you Kent, Conn!) but we do have aspens. The glorious golden trees can be seen just about anywhere you go above 8,000 feet. There’s something alpine and soothing about the sound of aspen leaves blowing in the fall breeze.

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