Cerveza South of the Border

Brooke Binkowski

Fri February 28, 2014 12:52pm

If you live in Chula Vista, chances are you’ve been bitten by the beer bug. This is not hard to understand, especially when you realize how much craft beer adds to the local economy — so much, in fact, that the University of California San Diego now offers a brewing certificate.
But for the many people who cross back and forth between the United States and Mexico, that love for craft beer doesn’t stop at the international border. Tijuana’s reputation as a craft beer destination isn’t as developed as San Diego’s, but it is growing by leaps and bounds along with its foodie scene.
One such international brewery is a tiny place called Cerveceria Insurgente. Brothers Ivan and Damian Morales have made an entire floor of their childhood home into a nanobrewery. Their mission is, in their own words, to “liberate you from the tyranny of tasteless beer.” They brew everything from English brown ales to witbiers specifically created to ease drinkers off of big Mexican labels and into smaller, tastier brands.
A little further into Tijuana, in Colonia Juarez, stands one of Tijuana’s older and more venerable microbreweries, appropriately called Cerveceria Tijuana or TJ Beer. It is famous for its Czech-style pilsners and American lagers, as well as a highly-rated light bock beer called Bufadora (Blowhole.)
If individual breweries aren’t your thing and you just want to taste everything at once, check out the selection at BCB Tasting Room, which features a wide selection of U.S. and Mexican microbrews as well as gourmet food to pair with it. Their bartenders are always happy to give you advice or a tour, so don’t be afraid to ask for either.
There are many other microbreweries and nanobreweries in Tijuana, and just as the craft beer movement doesn’t stop at the border, it also doesn’t stop at city limits. Ensenada, Mexicali, and the rest of Baja California state have their own small but thriving beer scenes. Check them out  — Mexican craft beer is worth the trip.
And the border wait has an upside in this case: if you have to make it just a day trip, that hour or two gives you plenty of time to sober up before you get back home.