Ever wanted to see how your homebrew stacks up against others in the growing Baja craft beer scene?
Mexicali's Craft Brewer's Guild is finally giving you the chance by allowing–for the first time since cerveza artesanal from the northwestern Mexican state began capturing American tourists' attentions last year–entries from U.S. home and commercial brewers into their upcoming beer competition.
Following the success of last November's Mexicali Beer Fest, in which 3400 people (including the mayor) drank beer from 26 Baja breweries in the city's partially revamped Centro Historico, the craft brewer's guild in one of Baja's most beer-soaked cities is launching its first Spring Beer Fest.
And in addition to the 30 breweries, eight food stands and countless borracho Mexis that are expected to flood the State Arts Center (CEART) for eight hours on April 12, the Mexicali Craft Brewer's Guild is also hosting a coinciding Beer Challenge that will use certified beer judges to determine top brews.
Last year's competition was open only to breweries that were pouring in the beer fest–aka Mexicali breweries. But with two California breweries already confirmed for the Spring Beer Fest (and an open invitation for more!), it was only appropriate that the Beer Challenge also invited American brewers to submit.
“We are opening up for U.S. applicants given our close ties with the California craft beer movement, which is where we've learned from and inspired ourselves over the years,” said Rodrigo Hernández Mijares, co-founder of Mexicali's Cerveza Tres B and one of the festival's organizers. “We have many friends over there and would love to put their talents to best use as BJCP judges, exhibitors and Beer Challenge contestants.”
Entries will be divided into commercial brewery and homebrew categories and awards doled out during the fest for individual beer styles as well as the top three overall winners.
In November, the mejor cerveza was a citrusy, grapefruit hop bomb called Crossover IPA, the only beer made by Mexicali newcomers Cerveza Urbana.
Deadline for Spring Fest contest entries is April 8.
“Baja beers are truly the best in the country,” Hernández said, “but Mexicali's beers have earned a special place amongst beer geeks and consumers all over the country.”
For more information on how to submit your beers for competition, email ro***************@bi*************.com. For more information on attending the Mexicali Spring Beer Fest, visit Facebook.com/mexicalibeerfest.
Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering food, music, craft beer, arts, culture and all sorts of bizarro things that interest her for local, regional and national publications.