Craft Beer Breweries in Tijuana
You guys know my love for good beer. I mean, it is hardly a secret on my blog. The husband and I love to visit breweries, check out craft beer tasting rooms, heck, we even brew our own beer at home. So during my recent visit to San Diego, I decided to head South over the border and see what the breweries in Tijuana were up to. Was there a Craft Beer scene at all? I have to admit, I had no idea that there were any micro breweries in Tijuana. I heard some rumors and decided to dig a little deeper by going on a little Craft Beer and Brewery Tour in Tijuana to see for myself what was brewing in TJ. And who could say no to some yummy Mexican food together with some cold brews?
The San Diego Connection
San Diego is the Craft Beer capital of California. They throw some pretty big names into the ring of Craft Beer Breweries, like Stone, Green Flash, and Ballast Point. But there are also some smaller ones that are making a name for themselves, like Modern Times, AleSmith and Societe.
But did this trend swap over San Diego’s neighbor city of Tijuana? It certainly has and the connection between these two cities and their breweries is quite evident, once you start looking for it. Stone worked with Cervezeria Insurgente to create Xocoveza a deep and rich Chocolate Stout Collaboration Brew that makes you want to dunk your churros in your beer.
But what I love the most about the Brew scenes in both cities is that they don’t just copy each other. No, they learn and inspire each other. Breweries in Tijuana and San Diego have a unique and different feel to them and while you can see the influence on each other, they stay true to their own style.
Small & Sexy Breweries
I just had one day in Mexico, so I could only sample a few select Craft Beer Breweries in Tijuana. I definitely have to go back and try some more, especially since the poor husband had to stay home and work that day 🙂
The breweries that I did get to visit were really cool and made some amazing beers. What I really liked about them was the fact that they were smaller and a bit less established. It felt a little like Silicon Valley in the 70s. Steve Jobs making beer, ahm, computers out his garage in the good ‘ol days. Many of the breweries in the US have a ton of money behind them through loans and investors. They are the Silicon Valley of today, with all the angel investors and pie charts and overnight millionaires. The brewers in TJ have to work with what they got and it makes them quite innovative. The breweries in Tijuana still had the flair and passion of Homebrewers and instead of channeling their efforts into marketing and fancy schmancy tasting rooms, they focus on creating good beers. And they make some AMAZING beers indeed.
Here are some of my favorite Breweries in Tijuana and I highly recommend checking them out, if you head down to TJ and like Craft Beer!
Border Psycho Brewery
I am starting off with my favorite one: Border Psycho Brewery makes some amazing Beers! They have a dark Saison that was so good, I smuggled a growler back over the border with me to share with the hubs and it was one of my favorite Beers I have ever tried. La Belga Sicotica is an amazing beer and if you ever have a chance to try it, do and thank me later 🙂
Their brewery is a bit out of the way, but you can check out their tasting room at Plaza Fiesta. Especially noteworthy: the draft handles made out of dildos! 🙂
BajaBrewLabs, as well as Azteca Craft Brewing, is in a little shopping mall just off Avenida Revolución, the main tourist drag in Downtown Tijuana. What I find most amazing about BajaBrewLabs is the fact that they built all their brew equipment themselves – the kettles, the fermenters, everything. And the brewery has a really cool and eerie feel to it. A bit serial killer, a bit witch kitchen, don’t you think?
Azteca Craft Brewing
Azteca Craft Brewing has some interesting creations in their lineup, for example their Blonde Ale with Strawberries was pretty tasty and refreshing on this super hot day. Another thing that I love about Azteca is the fact that they have a female head brewer. You don’t see that very often and I have to say that lady knows her malts! So if you don’t want to stray off the beaten path too much, Azteca and BajaBrewLabs are located just off the main tourist drag and I highly recommend you check them out!
Funes Brewing Company
Funes Brewing Company is just across the street from one of the culinary secrets of Tijuana: Telefónica Gastro Park. A food truck park that has something for everyone and you can get some amazing food there.
After grabbing a bite to eat to soak up all the malty goodness you have been drinking, check out Funes Brewing Company. The beers from this Brewery in Tijuana have a lot of German influences, as Raúl Aispuro Funes has spent a few weeks in Düsseldorf to learn about the typical Altbier of the region and wow, did he learn his stuff while over there. Raúl is very passionate about his beers, LOVES Germany and it was so great to meet him. If you go there, hang out with him and listen to his brew stories 🙂
Funes Brewing Company also has a Home Brew Shop in their Tasting room, which is well-stocked and has everything the home brewer might need or want. Love the idea to bring a craft brewery and a home brew shop together like this!
Norte Brewing Co.
Norte Brewing Co. is the youngest of the breweries, turning 1 this week. They have a beautiful tap room overlooking the city and the Tijuana arch. The beers are great and the view will let you daydream and relax. A perfect place to hang out with some friends, your date or even by yourself. The beers and the incredible view will keep you entertained for hours.
But enough words already, doesn’t this picture speak for itself?
Albeit not a brewery, Plaza Fiesta will make any Craft Beer Lover’s heart beat faster. This place has dozens of little tap rooms from Craft Breweries from all over Baja California, restaurants, taco shops and even tiny breweries that brew on the spot in their 10-15 gallon brew system and make some amazing beers. The narrow winding alleys, the bars and restaurants with their open facades, the different smells of delicious food and beer fill the air and as you walk through this place, you instantly know you found a real gem.
This was one of my favorite places in Tijuana that day and I cannot wait to take the husband there. If you find yourself South of the border and don’t have time to check out all the breweries in Tijuana, come to Plaza Fiesta and try some tasters, eat some food and hang out there.
So you can see that Tijuana has a thriving and innovative Craft Beer & Brewery scene that is definitely worth checking out. Just don’t forget your passport!
I also want to thank the Tourism Board of Tijuana and the Tourism Board of Baja California for taking me around the city and showing me all these amazing places! I had an amazing time and cannot wait to come back 🙂
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