Craft Beer in Tijuana Round 2

Back when I first posted about Tijuana beer I had only been able to visit a single brewery and a bar. Thankfully, over time there have been more and more places opening, making the area more accessible to visitors from San Diego. Specifically, a small plaza has started growing where you can taste beers from many different breweries all in the same enclosed space that is only about a mile south from the border.

Tijuana Breweries Second Trip 01

For this specific trip I was able to visit Fauna, a brewery from Ensanada, a bar called El Tigre featuring the beers from Ludica, and Paralel 28, a local brewery that also has a few guest taps. This same area is soon to be home to a few other local Tijuana breweries including Border Psycho and Insurgente.

House beer tap list at Fauna.
House beer tap list at Fauna.

A few things to keep in mind about these breweries, most of them want you to pay in cash only. This is a big difference from Baja Craft Beer that was perfectly fine with people paying with a credit card. Most of them should be fine giving you some change in pesos after you pay for your beers in US dollars though you should be ready with smaller bills if you don’t want to end up with a lot of extra pesos back. Also, most of the people working there seemed to speak pretty solid English, so you should be able to order beers with no problem. If you have data roaming from T-Mobile you can get around with Uber, otherwise you will want to take a cab, which will also expect cash.

The view inside Fauna.
The view inside Fauna.

The area where these bars and tasting rooms are located is known as Plaza Fiesta though cab drivers might know it better as plaza del zapato. If you see a bunch of clothing shops you are in the right area but you need to go down the street until you see the bars. They aren’t particularly inviting from the outside but they have done a good job with making them look nice on the inside. Because most of the places I visited did not do flights like I am used to in San Diego I only ended up tasting a few beers at each location.

More of the view inside Fauna.
More of the view inside Fauna.

My first stop was Fauna. The bar is also a restaurant and they have some really good food from what I hear, though I only got to try one of the small ceviche tostadas. Beer wise I ended up trying their coffee porter because I had already tasted the IPA at Baja Craft Beer previously. The coffee porter hit the spot with plenty of roasted malt flavors and a solid strong coffee flavor.

Coffee porter with some ceviche tostalito.
Coffee porter with some ceviche tostalito.

Next I went across the street to El Tigre, where I got to try a few of the beers from Ludica. I tried a single taster of the Saison and was not impressed. It was overly sweet and yeast forward without any of the smooth flavors I expect in the style or much spice. I ended up with a pint of the Supermash Equinox Pale ale (single hop). I could tell that the hops were extra fresh and bright. It had a good tropical fruit flavor and a nice low malt bill. As you can see on the photo most of their beers were a bit lighter than I normally like.

Single hop pale from Ludica.
Single hop pale from Ludica.
Tap list at Ludica.
Tap list at Ludica.

Finally I visited Paralel 28, though they were out of a lot of their house beers and what was left didn’t appeal to me. So I ended up trying an IPA from Wendlant called Perro Del Mar. This IPA was quite tasty and had a lot of what I expect in a west coast style IPA. Before I went back over the border for the night I walked the short walk to my favorite taco place in Tijuana called Tacos El Frank. They are only open in the evenings and have some delicious carne asada tacos as well as other options for a very inexpensive price.

Tijuana Breweries Second Trip 09

Taplist at Paralel 28.
Taplist at Paralel 28.

I hope to write again over the next few months when Insurgente and Border Psycho open their own places in this plaza. For now, I was glad that I got to experience what I did and see that craft beer is becoming more available. Sadly, it seemed the locals were still ordering macro crap in most of the bars because that is what they are used to. Almost everyone in El Tigre was drinking Indio. If you are thinking about visiting these bars, they aren’t known by Google yet. Probably the best thing is to look for Sótano Suizo, a bar in the same area to find out where to go.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney focusing on serving the San Diego LGBT community.

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