by Colette Armijo
RATON — In July, Colfax Ale Cellar, located at 215 S 2nd Street in Raton, opened its doors to a community that had been excitedly anticipating this day. After much hard work and perseverance, the fruits of the labor of owner Jim Stearns has finally paid off. Colfax Ale Cellar, also fondly called Raton’s Brewery, has the brewing capacity of seven barrels and currently offers Rabbit Chaser Golden Ale, Gate City Pale Ale, and Van Houten No. 4 Stout to be savored by patrons.
An American Brewers Guild alumnus, Stearns is well connected with experienced, well known, and some even famous local and international brewers. Through these relationships, Stearns has learned a lot about the craft of brewing which, together with his own experience of over 40 years, has now brewed life into Colfax Ale Cellar. One of the greatest challenges for Stearns, besides the age at which he decided to officially begin his brewing career, is dealing with his Type I Diabetes while still doing all the physically demanding tasks involved in brewing.
Raton is quite fortunate that Stearns stumbled upon its almost 110 year old building, which was initially Dwyers Department store. Here, Jim found exactly what he was looking for, the perfect location to have an underground cellar in which he could produce high quality aged cellared beer. Stearns is optimistic that Colfax Ale Cellar will be instrumental in stimulating the downtown economy of Raton as it is an ideal magnet to entice travelers to stop off the I-25 and to even stay a little longer to experience Raton. Raton can look forward to Colfax Ale Cellar being an exciting and beneficial addition to Colfax County.