Last month I talked about Cabotella beer that is new to the SoCal market. At that time I also e-mailed some questions to Jordan Gardenhire, Colorado native and Baja Brewing Company founder/brewmaster. Here is our mini-interview:
Sean Inman: What is a common misconception of craft brewing in Mexico?
Jordan Gardenhire: That the quality is not up to par. People judge Mexican macrobrews and assume craft brews will be the same quality, but just like in the U.S., craft beer in Mexico is focused on quality first, and the brewer community is just as ready to experiment with the art as their American counterparts. It is a very new scene in Mexico, so certainly not as far along as in the U.S., but it’s heading the same direction.
SI: Are IPAs as popular in Baja as they are in on the West Coast of the U.S.?
JG: No. This style is growing in popularity extremely quickly in Baja right now and has surpassed some of the easier drinking craft styles in popularity, but it still has a long way to go here in lager land.
SI: What’s the best way to learn about (and taste) the craft beers being brewed in Baja?
JG: Only a few are available in the US, like Cabotella, but just across the border in Tijuana there are some great beer bars, like BCB Tasting Room, which has a huge selection of Baja craft beer.
SI: Are there any plans for a collaboration with a U.S. Brewer?
JG: Nothing in the works. We recently did a collaboration with BrewDog brewery from Scotland for their show on the Esquire Network. We also did a collaboration in December with 5 Mexican breweries. We would love to do more collaborations, but nothing is planned at the moment.
SI: What style of beer do you think is under appreciated currently?
JG: Blond Ale. It’s a perfect way to get more flavor and enjoy-ability out of an easy drinking beer. Great substitute for a lager. I think I’ll have a Cabotella.
The Beer of the Week is from San Francisco and the newly distributed to L.A., 21st Amendment Brewing. Hell or High Watermelon may seem like a seasonal beer you would find at a farmer’s market, but it is one of the most popular beers that 21A brews and thanks to their new facility in the Bay Area, we will be able to quaff cans of this refresher all year.
Your Homework is to seek out a foreign beer the next time you are in a bottle shop or bar. Our palates can get attuned to the terroir, so to speak, of the region we live in. IPAs in particular can really de-sensitize your tastebuds. Beer not from the U.S. will help to re-calibrate your mind as well and can lead to further adventures in a beer from Canada, England or Mexico.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.