Lost Hiker Brewing Company is part of collaborative microbrewery movement. “High tides rides all ships,” Dan Carey quotes a friend. “There’s no use in working against each other. We’re hoping to develop a scene here.”
What’s in a name?
Jennifer and Dan Carey used to vacation in the Sacramento Mountains where one-hour hikes would turn to four hours, with a shortage of snacks and water. As retired teachers from Austin, it also represents going through life and picking direction.
“We just thought, wouldn’t be great to live in the mountains and brew beer,” Jennifer says. Dan had been home brewing for more than 20 years. After the first step, doors began opening.
People are already talking about Lost Hiker Brewing Company. The couple only moved here last June.
“We paid a lot of attention to how Austin breweries market themselves,” says Dan. Jennifer loves to create space for “sessions” where people can enjoy beer and connect with others.
You start with malted barley, wheat and grains; you mill them and then steep that in hot water for about an hour; rinse it off and pump it over to a boil kettle where it boils for an hour. During that time, you add hops at different intervals according to desired bitter, aroma and flavor.
After boiling, Dan cools it off in a heat exchange to keep the yeast from dying. Then, it’s pumped into a fermenter where liquid yeast is pitched into it. Seal it up and let it ferment for 10 to 12 days. “Then you cool it, carbonate it, keg it, and drink it!” Dan adds with a smile.
Right now, Lost Hiker Brewing Company has 4 styles of beer. Dan explains:
The Ruidoso Blonde is an introductory craft beer. “It’s a crossover beer for people that are used to domestic beers. It’s light and malty, with a little bit of a sweet finish.”
“The Midnight Squirrel Stout is an oatmeal stout- a dark beer with a dark roasted barley flavor.”
Connectivity IPA (India Pale Ale) is a popular style in New Mexico. “It’s a hoppy, bitter beer that ends with floral, citrus notes from some of the hops we use.” The backstory is that England added more hops to exported beer to preserve it, during India’s colony period. Accurate or not, the point is that it’s “over hopped” beer.
Finally, the Rye Not? Belgian Pale is a basic pale ale recipe with a rye grain added to it. “That adds a spicy character to it. Belgian yeast is known for fruity flavors. It’s a pretty complex beer. We brewed it at home for years. It’s one of our favorites, so we had to include it.”
“There’s a lot going on in a complex beer,” Dan continues, “it’s got the fruity esters from the yeast, the spice from the rye, the malty-ness from the hops . . . there’s a lot going on in the palate.”
“If Siason and a pale ale had a baby,” Jennifer adds, “it would be the Belgian pale with rye!” (If you don’t get the joke, ask a beer enthusiast! Or better yet, stop by the Lost Hiker Brewing Company.)
“Right now, we’re just kegging,” she continues. “Our beer is available here at our tasting room on Saturdays from 2-8 p.m. and Sundays from 2-6 p.m..” Lost Hiker also distributes to Hidden Tap, Sacred Grounds, Casa Blanca, and Anaheim Jacks in Ruidoso. Lost Hiker Brewing Company is located at 26394 Hwy. 70 East in Unit #6 in Ruidoso Downs.