Brother Augustine Seiker stirs hops into the brew.
STORY BY ADELE MELANDER-DAYTON PHOTOS BY KERRY SHERCK
Driving north up N.M. 84 toward Ensenada, it’s easy to miss Forest Service Road 151. The turnoff is dusty and faint. The road itself is one lane rutted to a washboard and crossed with intermittent cattle guards (in springtime, calves wander by the roadside), with steep hairpin turns and gravel the size of shooter marbles. This means the trip up Chama Canyon isn’t for the faint of heart. But few dirt roads in Northern New Mexico yield sweeter rewards. For 13 pleasantly slow miles, F.S. Road 151 hugs the Chama River, winding past chalky mesa cliffs and views of Pedernal, until at last it ends at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert.
IF YOU GO Monastery of Christ in the Desert P. O. Box 270 Abiquiú 801-545-8567 www.christdesert.org/
Founded in 1964 by monks from Mount Saviour Monastery in New York, Christ in the Desert is a collection of adobe and straw bale buildings (and a tall, glassy chapel, plus a huge photovoltaic array) clustered where Chama Canyon begins to narrow. The low brown structures are peaceful and modest, befitting a Benedictine monastery. But drive up the road a little farther, past the refractory and the gift shop, and you’ll find a newer, smaller building. It’s tiny, tiled and lit with fluorescent lights. The building’s sterility and sheer newness stand out against the old adobes and red sandstone dirt. This is the year-old microbrewery of Christ in the Desert, where, as a hanging vinyl banner proclaims, beer is brewed “with care and a prayer.” At the end of March, the monks were hard at work on their first production brew. This was an exciting moment: While the
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Bienvenidos 2012 Summer Guide to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico