Hidden in the valley, a microbrewery is the taste of the good life

The outdoor “biergarten” at Comanche Creek Brewing Company in the Moreno Valley near Eagle Nest. Jesse Moya

To say Comanche Creek Brewing Company is “tucked back in here” is a simplification of both its geographic context and world-class experience.

But that’s just how owner Kody Mutz describes it.

For people driving through the Moreno Valley or those souls willing to go the extra mile, the microbrewery with no indoor seating, but a respectable lineup of ales is well worth the effort.

The brewery’s website links to no map. Instead, it has turn-by-turn instructions to get there from either direction, befitting the spotty cell service that seems endemic to Northern New Mexico.

Two miles north of Eagle Nest on State Road 38, you turn left into sweeping fields of alfalfa and then drive 2 miles. Handmade wooden signs point the way at each split in the road, lest you get Libran about which way to go.

A small wooden shack sits at the end of the road. You’ve arrived.

Tasha and Kody Mutz started the brewing company seven years ago, deciding to “make the leap” from Colorado-based home brewers to bona fide business owners.

They ended up within earshot of the babbling Comanche Creek on land at the northern end of the Moreno Valley that Kody Mutz’s family settled in the mining days of the 1880s.

Built within the homely confines of a 360-square-foot log cabin, the brewery is likely the smallest in the state.

“Definitely in terms of size,” he said.

The brewery uses a three-barrel system to brew about 100 gallons of beer a week. A tank of gas out back keeps the mash warm and the cabin cozy.

The brewery rotates through about a dozen beers, though the “homestead amber” and one of several India pale ales are the go-to brews.

“Sometimes we do something goofy, too, like a sour or a lot of fruit beers,” Mutz said.

Mutz even has a little bottling machine. A couple of restaurants in Colfax County occasionally stock the company’s beer when there’s enough left over from the brewery’s adventurous visitors.

But just how many people make the trek to the Comanche Creek Brewing Company during any given week? Aside from the bear that sometimes fishes the creek, tries to raid the chicken coop and hangs out on the patio, “It can go from zero to 150,” Mutz said.

“It’s a word-of-mouth kind of place. People find out about us somehow, someway,” he said. And that leads to a lot of “crazy synchronicities” — like one of The Taos Newsreporters running into a group of high school friends from central New Mexico while sipping on an amber.

Breweries are often soured by a macho sort of competitiveness, but the Mutz’s place is “fairly low key” as far as small breweries go.

Kody and Tasha Mutz will “go to a couple events here and there,” but they don’t enter too many competitions.

And even though the brewery has no kitchen or food service, folks bring their own picnics and fixings for barbecue.

When Kody Mutz isn’t behind the split-door counter in the former blacksmithing shop, he helps out around the family property and hikes around in the wilderness of the Sangre de Cristos.

But make no mistake – this is no fair-weather brewery. As long as there isn’t a whiteout blizzard, Mutz plows the 2-mile road and opens the doors all the same.

“When we were starting, we wanted to see if anyone would come and how they like the beer,” Mutz said. “We’ve been here ever since.”

Comanche Creek Brewing Company is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. It can be reached at (575) 377-2337 or online at comanchecreekbrewingco.com.

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