From July 16-19, 2009, Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza led an epic Baja bender, with many beer related stops. This photo essay captures some of the highlights.
Our first stop in Tijuana was at La Vuelta for a mariachi show and several ice-cold buckets of beer, beginning with Casta Cerveza Obscura, a “super premium” 5.3% ABV beer featuring a logo of a frog balancing bottles and glasses.
As the night wore on, we switched to Bohemia Obscura, 5.5% ABV, our second beer from Cerveceria Cuahtemoc in Moctezuma.
The weekend’s key beer-related event was undoubtedly Festival Internacional de la Cerveza Tijuana 2009, held outside the Caliente greyhound track.
The first booth we visited belonged to Tijuana Brewery.
We started with Morena (pictured) before switching to Güero, the brewery’s pale ale.
They even had beer from Cuba’s Ceveceria Bucanero, which is of course not available in the U.S. We drank Fuerte and Bucanero Max.
Cucapá is the only Mexican craft brewery gaining traction in the U.S. We tried three different of their beers: Obscura Brown Ale, Chupacabra Pale Ale and Chile.
Baja Brewing Co. contributed Peyote Pale Ale and Pelirroja Ale Roja.
Cemitas y Clayudas Pal Cabron owner Bricia Lopez remained relentless throughout the weekend. Even after inhaling almost every beer at the festival, she was still happy to pose with a coco loco.
We tried a stout from Beer Factory Restaurant & Wood Grill. To fill in the final gap, Esparza brought a cup of Minerva on to the bus. It was a toasted malt beer from Guadalajara. As we drove back to the hotel for a much-needed respite, Esparza said, “This was Olympic.” No doubt.
Muelle Tres in Ensenada had bottles of Victoria, which were unavailable at the beer fest.
At Manzanilla, we met Alvaro Alvarez and employee Hortencia, who are launching Labricha Cerveza Artesenal. Partner Armando Orozco wasn’t there. Alvarez learned how to make beer at UC Santa Cruz, where he studed mathematics. He named the brewery for his mix of Labrador and Salchicha (dachshund) = Labricha. Almixia is Alvarez’s winery, combining Alchemy and Ximenia. “With water, sun, air and soil, you can make wonderful things like wine.”
Alvarez poured Dos Vidas Brown Ale and Monasterio Extra Stout. They also have a honey ale and a red ale. Labricha’s appearance at Manzanilla was a surprise, but they ended up delivering the best beer all weekend.