Very Large Array ... of Beers
An Outing in Socorro, New Mexico
Posted on 11/15/2014 by Chops
It's not every day that you get to combing two of your passions. I was lucky enough to do just that when I visited the small town of Socorro, New Mexico. Obviously craft beer is one said passion and Socorro is home to a handful of craft breweries that I wanted to check out, namely the Twisted Chile Brewing Company and the Socorro Springs Brewing Company. The area is also home to a very special nerdy destination that I was positively giddy to visit.

Twisted Chile Brewing Company

Twisted Chile was my first stop. The brewery is located at the historic JJ Baca House (built in 1870) in the heart of Socorro. I arrived for lunch and was treated to a delicious wood-fired pizza. The establishment oozed history with dark paneling, thick wooden beams, and colonial-like architecture. I loved their internal beer garden, which was quite cozy and inviting. While I was there, I sampled their Scotch Ale and 790 IPA, both very tasty.

Socorro Springs Brewing Company

Up next was Socorro Springs. This brewery had more of a modernized pub feel complete with bold colors, hammered metal accents, and a sleek design. It had a good pub-standard menu and a respectable craft beer selection. I sampled their Extra Pale Ale and Red Chili Porter (my favorite of the trip). I definitely got the impression that Socorro Springs was a tried-and-true establishment with a strong local following.

NRAO Very Large Array

It's no secret that I'm a craft beer nerd, but I'm also a card-carrying astronomy nerd. So visiting Socorro meant that I also had to visit a very special site located close by: the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's (NRAO) Very Large Array, a collection of powerful radio antennas (think of the movie Contact). This observatory is directly responsible for a great deal of our current knowledge of the universe. Just walking around the site was enough to drop my jaw. These instruments are as enormous as they are humbling. I loved getting a chance to explore the site and learn more about the operations.

Yes, my adventure to Socorro, New Mexico ended up being a complete and total nerd-gasm. I got to drink great beer and experience one of science's greatest accomplishments. I cannot wait to return for another visit. If only the VLA offered a few local craft beer taps. I would never leave.

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BrewChief Founder Zachry Wheeler at the Twisted Chile Brewing Company
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