I have personally witnessed the boom in craft beer from Baja California, having attended the Ensenada Beer Fest the last two years and visiting Plaza Fiesta in Tijuana which houses tasting rooms for 17 breweries, a must stop for any beer aficionado. Opening in two weeks in Downtown Santa Ana is El Indio Botanas y Cerveza which will be pouring Baja Craft beer on draft and offering small plates (botanas) of Mexican food to pair with your Baja suds.
Viva Mexico! and Viva co-owners Oscar Olivares and Carlos Salazar for paying homage to a prolific Mexican actor and director, Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez. His picture is prominently displayed as you walk in and plans are to show some of his and other Classic Mexican films in the future as Oscar and Carlos unveil their vision of a chill place to relax, eat and drink to music. “Right now El Indio is a blank canvass” Oscar tells me as they get ready for the Grand Opening. Follow El Indio on Instagram @elindiobotanasycerveza to stay up to date with the latest events, El Indio is in soft opening mode for now and will be open on the weekends leading up to their opening day.
Fauna Mala Vida Belgian Blonde 6.2% ABV Cerveza Fauna is from a brewery in Mexicali that was founded in 2011, which makes them one of the more experienced breweries and it shows in this great tasting Belgian. Smooth, fresh with plenty of flavor, subtle coriander with notes of orange and spices. A refreshing brew to start your evening.
Insurgente Juan Cordero Pale Ale 5.5% ABV is crafted by brothers Damian and Ivan Morales. The pair started to home brew in 2010 and are now one of the biggest of Baja breweries. Juan Cordero is the street in Tijuana where you will find Cervezeria Insurgente, but now at El Indio you can drink this hop forward pale ale; it’s nice and bitter on the front end and finishes clean with refreshing fruit notes. Looking forward to some tacos and a Juan Cordero!
Fauna Dark Lycan Black IPA 7% ABV: I’ve had a few Black IPA’s and meh, but Fauna Dark Lycan is a very delicious and complex brew, nice and bitter but tempered by the dark roasted malts, which I love, and it finishes with a hint of chocolate and coffee. Amazing!
These are but a few of the Baja Craft beers available at El Indio Botanas y Cerveza. I’ve had most of these over the years but it seems with more experience at brewing these beers are becoming very solid and on point. A very exciting time for craft beer south of the border that you can now enjoy in SanTana. Salud!
El Indio Botanas y Cerveza is located at 309 W 3rd Street Santa Ana 92701 (714)862-7375