¡Viva Mexico, cabrones! After last year's Ensenada Beer Fest, I predicted this gathering was about to blow up in a big way and it sure did—sold out! Now in its seventh year, EBF has grown from about 80 breweries last year to 120 breweries this past weekend. Unlike most American beer fests that go on for just a couple of hours, this one started at 2 pm and went all the way to midnight! ¡Ajua! Two stages of live music with a third for EDM and dance music for people who wanted to dance.
I wanted to drink. My first stop wasJordan Gardenhire, founder and brewmaster of Baja Brewing Company in Cabo San Lucas, as I drank his Peyote IPA—smooth, hoppy, very enjoyable. We talked about how EBF had grown so much that two of his crew were still trying to get in—YIKES!!! Jordan is currently re-branding his brews, and showed me the new labels made by local artist from Cabo—beautiful. Expect to see some bottles of his Cabotella in SanTana soon!
I then met Andrew Mercer from Guadalajara, owner and brewer of 7 Mares Cerveceria. It was their first appearance at EBF, and his chelas were on point! His stout was full-flavored with hints of toffee and chocolate, and the IPA was smooth. We talked about the difficulty he has in getting premium supplies and how hard it is to get his beers distributed—his sister owns a restaurant and that's where you can get 7 Mares beer. That's part of the reason this beer fest is so important—the chance to try beers you will never see in the States, and to see the passion that these owners have for the love of craft beer.
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Cervezeria Baron from Mexicali won a 2nd place medal for their honey blonde pale ale, it was BEElicious! Brothers Eduardo and Enrique Villegas get their from Coachella, from bees that pollinate only citrus and you can taste it in the pale ale. Another brewer from Mexicali, El Sarmiento Ale, had a Habanero IPA (5%ABV) by brewmaster Gerardo Daniel that I really liked—the habanero came on the back and the IPA was tasty, hoppy but not bitter. Daniel's blueberry wheat, Blue-Rita (4% ABV) was also very refreshing, especially for those hot Mexicali summer days.
My winner for EBF was Calavera Beer of Mexico City. They poured a Mexican Imperial Stout infused with mezcal for a fabulous 12% ABV. The stout was rich, chocolaty, and the mezcal was subtle but definitely gave you that extra kick!
The Ensenada Beer Fest is a must-visit not only for beer geeks but for anyone that enjoys a fun time, good food, live bands. And did I mention the beautiful women? #chichischrist and #nalgamedios FOR DAZE...
For more information, visit www.ensenadabeerfest.com