Baja California is currently home to around 100 craft breweries, but many San Diegans have never tried a Baja craft brew. While southbound tourism has been picking up, borderphobia and long return lines have led many to write off the trip altogether. Furthermore, prohibitive import fees coupled with stringent FDA regulations have kept most Baja crafts from entering the country, with the exception of a few larger brewers such as Mexicali’s Cerveza Cucapá.
For the first time, San Diegan’s did not have to contend with a border wait to sample some of Baja’s most prominent breweries, because, last Sunday, September 20, Baja headed north for San Diego’s premiere cross-border beer fest at Bread and Salt in Barrio Logan.
San Diego’s first Baja-centric beer festival
Organized by Baja tour outfit Let’s Go Clandestino, the fest featured south-of-the-border staples Teorema Cervecería, Cerveceria Wendlandt, Border Psycho Brewery, Cerveceria Insurgente, and Agua Mala (the first Mexican brewery to win a silver medal in the World Beer Cup) alongside six local breweries.
Baja brewers are already well acquainted with San Diego’s beer scene and, in fact, buy most of their ingredients from San Diego suppliers. As a result, cross-border relationships between brewers have led to a number of collaborations such as Xocoveza by Cerveceria Insurgente and Stone; Mosquito Pale Ale by Pizza Port, Alpine, and Wendlandt; Tres Tuercas by Pizza Port, Tres B, and Pink Boots Society; and Let’s Go Clandestino by Monkey Paw and Wendlandt.
Five years ago, cross-border collaborations such as these would have been unfathomable.
The fest ran from 2pm to 5pm and featured live music from Tijuana cumbia mutants La Diabla, Cumbia Machin, and dubstep producer Rub-A-Dub Jones as well as an expo from Tijuana artist Panca and San Diego artist Denisse Wolf.