Welp… I can’t concentrate much on writing right now but I will try my best to write everything I’ve been pondering about Expo Cerveza Artesanal. My mind is in an article that finally got published on the San Diego Reader that I wrote a few weeks back. Also, financial stress. But I’ll try to ignore all of that, and discuss in much more detail and with more time in my other blog, Matingas.com
———– Expo Cerveza Artesanal
Part 1 – New Brewers – Sober Matt
I made it!
I got in for free. Carlos hooked it up with an extra ticket he had. Bucio was also more than willing to get me a free ticket. Other brewers told me they will hook it up with free beer in exchange of pictures (they would actually do it for nothing, but I am not a charity… kinda). Yep. I only had 120 pesos in my wallet on Saturday morning and payment didn’t come until Sunday (it wasn’t much).
So I had to navigate the Expo Cerveza Artesanal with no cash, take pictures and still have a fun time. This is how it went down. All reconstructed from memory and ineligible notes (how I manage to type ineligible is beyond me).
Went to give my ticket to the gate thingy, got my tin shot glass and went through the doors. “Don’t use that shot glass, es de aluminio,” Carlos said right away (duh, it can change the flavor and odor). First thing I noticed (besides the HEINEKEN huge letters at the entrance) were the three nice ladies wearing Adelita’s Bar attire. Yep. The “Expo Cerveza Artesanal” which is supposed to be about beer and culture… you get greeted with ladies of the night (to put it nicely).
And I mean. It’s cool. It’s Tijuana. They are always going to be everywhere. But COME ON!!
I left my bag at basecamp stand, Norte Brewing Company, basically my second home. I grabbed their new Session IPA and strolled around for my first impressions. The Session is similar to their Penthouse but lighter body, really good, but with not that bitter bite the Penthouse gives. Still one of the best brews around.
I noticed many brewers that I know about but have never met and also noticed a bunch of breweries I have never heard off. On my stroll I said hi to those who I do know and they wanted me to give me free beer already… HOLD YOUR HORSE IS! (my favorite Hella album). No beer for me until I try and talk to all the other brewers I do not know.
And this is why I dislike beer fests. SO MANY OF THEM! How the fuck am I supposed to cover all of them?! AND REMAIN SEMI-SOBER?!
Also… The amount of people drinking large glasses of Indio with chamoy rims was outstanding. This is not a beer fest. This just a regular concert with the premise of craft beer on the perimeter. Waiters (workers) walked amongst the crowd offering two Indios for 50 pesos on a large glass. Of course the people that don’t know what craft beer is rather gravitate to two Indio instead of for just one craft (more product amirite?!). Don’t they realize that 50 pesos on a 10% beer has more alcohol than Indio? I mean if their idea is to drink to get fucked up… then… do that…
Shit. This is already getting long and I haven’t even touched the interviews with brewers.
While I was doing my round, I found a place with carne seca. I had some of that. It was goddamn delicious. I love jerky. This wasn’t that much of a cecina jerky, it tasted like grilled meat in tiny cubes. Really good. But I had the sample and shied away.
I saw Calafia Brew, and I remembered them from the beer fest in Ensenada a few years back. When I had more than 30 samplers and then lost track.
I might be remembering wrong, but I think they had a blackberry sour that they ran out (back in Ensenada 2014). They also had their coconut IPA gone. Now… I really wanted the Blackberry sour, but all I remembered was that I needed to try Calafia.
Coconut IPA is really sweet (well fucking duh). If coconut is your thing, then it’s a good beer on the syrupy side with a nice coconut overall feel, no hoppy taste or finish. Paid for it. 10 pesos gone.
Then I went to Vibra, a brewery that I have seen bottled but have never had tap or met the brewers. Because I was still sober, I only took notes of the beer and forgot to write the name down of the brewer. Had their Generosa IPA, it was great (but tiny sampler, can only say too much). Paid for it other 10 pesos gone. Had a little chat about what I was doing and I said I was curious about their fruit beer. Vibra offered the samples for free.
The fruit beer wins the grand prize surprise great beer I had in the fest. I’m not into fruity beers at all, but this one lingered in my memory for a reason and that reason is most likely that it was surprisingly good. Next time I see a Vibra I will make sure to buy a few bottles.
After that fruit beer, he insisted I had their 10% stout. I am not much of a stout/porter drinker, especially when I am trying to drink many different beers, but I remember I was surprisingly pleased that it wasn’t heavy at all, but smooth and light for a stout.
What what?! Ivan Maldonado walked by me. I said hi to so many brewers. It was like a rockstar convention of beer… yet the rockstars were getting ignored while the audience watched a cover band of Mexican popular rock tunes (of the 90s?) The guitarist of the band totally butchered the little intro solo on Un Poco de Sangre by Maldita Vecindad (but all good, band sounded great in general, bass wasn’t as present as it should have been).
AHH SHIT! I’m reviewing beer, not the cover band on stage.
Ok. New brewery.
Miley Cyrus look-alike and her dad in Puerco Salvaje, which I knew was opening in Plaza Fiesta. Mexican Miley told me that we will find her there everyday next to Los Reyes (behind Border Psycho) and I will definitely be stopping in for a visit.
I had Puerco Salvaje’s IPA and their Almond Joy Stout. IPA regular, didn’t write notes, which means it was drinkable but nothing special. Almond Joy I wrote “bleh” which I remember it meant it just tasted like a stout and had no real almond or joy in it (it didn’t remind me of the candy bar at all). Don’t know this guys either, so here’s 10 pesos more.
Cerveza Urbana from Mexicali was my next stop and I talked to the brewer for a while. Most of the brewers gave me the same impression which I already said “this is a concert, not a beerfest,” Armando the brewer also said. We talked about Urbana’s logo, which is a drawing by Mexicali artist Glow, she paints creepy female semi-childish faces, Urbana’s logo is a hop with a female face. The next logo, the face won’t look so childish, but more mature, like the hops have lived through some tough shit.
Anyway, Armando was a really cool guy and gave me a few of his beers. I recognized the hopes on their IPA and asked Armando if I was right, Simcoe and Citra (I recognized the latter). His Session IPA was done with Mosaic hops. I didn’t write much of it, which means they were both real good but nothing spectacular. I talked to Armando about hops and how the ones he was using are the most popular at the moment.
Then I met Charlie Kaminari of Santo Grial and of La Embajada, a tap room I still have to spend some time in (I went, it was packed, couldn’t find a table, got annoyed, left). They gave me a Raspberry Wheat that I was hesitant about. It was not wheaty at all, it was almost a sour! It was great, but most likely an accident, though they claim it wasn’t. I also had their IPA, no notes there. If I see that Raspberry Wheat again I will make sure to drink a full pint.
By this time, I was already feeling the beers.
Remember kids. Taste is subjective. Rating beers is not a real thing. Everyone has their own favorite and I heavily favor hoppy dry beers. I’m also into new flavors that transport me somewhere else, but hoppy is my drink of choice.
While drunk I get less shy and start snapping more, so of course I had to take more pics of Adelita girls. Adelita Bar… if you read this and you need a photographer… 😉
BREAK TIME. I already written too much. No one reads this much.
After break time and my email getting flooded by several thingys… I decided that this is the end of the post for now. I need to get outside of my apartment and eat a torta ahogada of a place I’m going to review next. ALSO! Tap Tuesday. Happiest day of the week.
To be continued…. Part 2 – Drunk Matt and more rants!