Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Rise of Baja Beer

Baja is quickly becoming the Mexican mecca for beer


Published:

BCB Tasting Room in Tijuana | Photo by Luis Garcia

Baja Beer Events

Expo Cerveza Artesanal
Tijuana, June 3–4

Rosarito Beer Fest
Late July

Ensenada Oktoberfest
Late September–early October

Mexicali Beer Fest
November

Ensenada Beer Fest
March 2017

Baja California’s craft brewery count currently weighs in at 80-plus, and more than half of those are in Tijuana. At least five official festivals attract thousands annually, and the state’s three clubs of homebrewers boast about 300 members altogether. With numbers like that, and local labels filling the menus at top restaurants and bars from Monterrey to Mexico City, the country’s northernmost state can confidently call itself a homeland for cerveza artesanal.

Baja leads the nation in quality and production, says Pepe Estrada, president of the Baja Brewers Association, a union that gives local brewers resources for increasing their presence and distribution over some major territory. Nine exporters currently operate within the state, and exportation is constantly on the rise.

The Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana held its first professional training program in brewing technology in March, the first students of which were the U.S. consul generals of Tijuana and Monterrey. Hurdles still abound. Mexican craft brewers are taxed an average of 42.5 percent, Estrada says—three to four times higher than industrial breweries. Supplies are limited, too, since most are imported from the U.S., upping the cost of production.

Luckily for San Diegans, tapping into the scene is as easy as venturing a mile south of the border to Plaza Fiesta, an outdoor labyrinth of bars and restaurants that, with some 15 (and counting) craft beer tasting rooms, serves as Baja’s unofficial Epcot Center of craft beer.

 

5 New Cerveceros to Know

You likely know Insurgente, Border Psycho, and Agua Mala. Here are cinco emerging brews you might not have tasted yet.

Norte Brewing Co.
Norte set up shop in what was once a fifth-floor strip club hidden in the back of a parking garage. The pole may be gone, but its legend lives on with brews named Cougar, Escort, and Quinto Piso (Fifth Floor).

Cerveza Fauna
Fauna finished first at the Ensenada Beer Fest in 2012 and won the People’s Choice Award at the Mexicali Beer Fest 2013. Try their copper porter, Belgian blond, or Russian imperial stout, on tap at their Plaza Fiesta tasting room.

Paralelo 28
Originally born on the 28th parallel in Guerrero Negro, Paralelo 28 moved 440 miles north to Tijuana’s Plaza Fiesta in 2014.

Lúdica Artesanal
Lúdica—Spanish for “playful”—won silver at Cerveza Mexico 2014 with a Belgian IPA and a single-hop pale ale.

Cerveceria Urbana
Founded by two brothers, Urbana’s crossover IPA took gold at Cerveza Mexico 2015. Visit their tasting rooms in Mexicali and Tijuana (coming soon).

Edit ModuleShow Tags

San Diego's Best Beer 2016:

Best Beer 2016: Best New Breweries

Here are 8 of the best breweries opened in the past year

Best Beer 2016: Best of the Best

Find your new favorites, from best beer gardens to best barrel aged and sours

San Diego Brewery Guide

Tasting notes, fast facts, and expert reviews on every brewery in the San Diego region

Beer Geography: The Yeast Goes East

The East Village and Barrio Logan are becoming beer's next hot spots

Hoppy Anniversary

Three iconic breweries, all founded 20 years ago, celebrate a milestone in the beer biz

Trending: You Brew!

On-site brewing is the new homebrewing

The Rise of Baja Beer

Baja is quickly becoming the Mexican mecca for beer
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

The Best Food & Drink Events in November and December

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival Grand Tasting, Prisoner Wine Dinner, and Kettner Exchange/You & Yours/Catalina Offshore Dinner

Lady Bartenders Prove There’s Room for Beer in Cocktails

Amplified Ale Works’ beers help showcase the diversity of booze pairings

The Women Who Revolutionized San Diego's Food Scene

A discussion with six iconic San Diego chefs and restauranteurs who helped make our culinary landscape what it is today
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
    Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
  2. Best of San Diego Party 2018
  3. A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
    The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com
  4. What San Diego Women Want
    53 working women share their compelling stories on navigating pay equity, the baby penalty, #MeToo, and more
  5. First Look: Lola 55
    A top restaurant industry strategist brings a chef-driven taco shop to the East Village
  6. Sushi’s Next Gen Is Here at Himitsu
    In La Jolla, a Sushi Ota protégé sticks to an age-old tradition of quality
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags