Long a local favorite, Eske’s is housed in a century old, charming adobe, on Des Georges Lane right in the center of Taos’ Historical district.
Just across the street from Taos Plaza, Eske’s is hidden from plain sight – if you blink, you can miss it. If you are visiting, definitely ask a local for directions!
“It’s not quite 100 years old,” says Blair Stoltzfus, Eske’s co-manager (with Mark Hoffman), about the home of Northern New Mexico’s oldest and much awarded, brew pub.
Eske’s reputation as a creator of some of the most tasty and unique beers in the region, is a given in a town now fairly bursting with breweries. Winning the Best Of Taos award, along with national media recognition has ensured Eske’s a place in Northern New Mexico brewing history.
Steve and Wanda Eskeback opened Eske’s in 1992. She grew up in San Diego and here, with deep Northern New Mexican roots (and the chile recipes to go with that heritage). He’s from the Pacific Northwest but early travels across the Pond, got him hooked on British pubs, so by the time he and Wanda met, it wasn’t too long before they combined their considerable skills and resources to create Eske’s.
Steve has served on Taos’ Ski Patrol for almost as many years as he’s owned Eske’s and has more stories and information about Taos Ski Valley, than can be told here. Wanda’s legendary Tuesday Sushi nights were long renowned in these parts. For years there simply was no other sushi available in Taos! Likewise, her World Eats nights are the best kept secret in town.
The charming, relaxed atmosphere created by the couple, along with fantastic live music year round, has blessed locals and visitors alike with a perfect laid-back place to eat a wholesome, healthy meal, enjoy some of the finest hand-crafted brews around while listening to some of the best, live music in the West.
The beer, it goes without saying is a major draw; a staggering array of flavors and subtle bottom notes. I urge you to taste! Order a flight. Cord Kiessling, Eske’s brewer for the past 6 years, is as creative as they come. New beers are constantly offered. Everyone loves the Green Chile brew for its mellow bite and the sweetness of the chilies themselves, but do try whatever is new and comes recommended by the bartenders and wait staff.
Lest one assume Eske’s is all about the beer, the menu is also a delight. A few items are consistent no matter the season, but Wanda has long been committed to farm to table, fresh food that tastes great and is good for you! The menu accommodates all eaters; there’s a kid’s menu and several gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. (Gluten-free beer is also available). Do inquire about the specials. Depending on what’s in season, something delectable is invariably not on the printed menu.
After almost a quarter Century of doing business in the same location, and as Steve and Wanda slow down a bit, Blair Stoltzfus and Mark Hoffman have stepped in, bringing fresh energy and ideas into Taos’ oldest brew pub. Blair spent 14 years working at the Taos Inn with a brief stint at Taos Mesa Brewing and a Home Brew Supply business he started after discovering the joys of brewing at home, before coming over to Eske’s with Hoffman two years ago.
The two have been hard at work, adding a new, much larger walk – in that has room for both food and beer, along with replacing (and adding) new beer lines. “We now have refrigerated beer lines,” Blair tells me with a wry smile. “We’ve added temperature control to aid fermentation along with new processes and new ingredients, so far the response has been great, we think people like it.”
“Look we are a very small brew pub,” he explains.”We have 9 draft lines and we are always changing it up with classic recipes and new things – we brew in batches of 3-5 barrels – that’s small!”
After the recent Alabama Shakes concert in nearby Kit Carson Park, Eske’s was one of the few places in town that stayed open late to accommodate hungry and thirsty concert goers. “It was crazy busy” Blair says. “We were hammered but it was totally worth staying open late for, just a bit overwhelming for the staff.”
“Next time we’ll be better prepared.” He continues.”We thought the Town did an excellent job, it was very well-organized and everyone (coming from the show) was really happy and positive about the experience.” As for Eske’s own musical offerings; Wednesday Night Bluegrass is always a treat and as Blair reminded me, “rivals Fridays and Saturdays in terms of a crowd.”
From now through the Fall, the outside courtyard is where that crowd can be found but in Winter, musicians and audience gather around the hearth in the small and cosy front room, spilling out onto the covered porch. Body heat and plenty of brew along with a blazing fire are enough to keep everyone warm.
For more information about Eske’s do visit their site linked below this post.
All Photographs c/o Eske’s.