There are only three things that will make me drive 40+ miles from my mountainous seclusion that is “the valley:” a re-release of Duck Duck Gooze, the resurgence of Mother Funker, and a beer tasting by Mexico’s award-winning Ensenada Brewing Co.
All I heard was horchata, piloncillo, and red agave…small, but essential components of my childhood growing up Mexican, now in beer!! Was this true? Could it be? I had to taste!
On November 10, Colonia Taco Lounge, located in La Puente, CA and LA Beer Bloggers hosted a sampling, The Rise of Craft Beer in Mexico. Ensenada Brew Co. and Cucapá Brewing Co., two of the best from Baja California, provided samples that were paired with smoked porter tacos. And to think I was going to spend my Saturday color-coding my dish towels and alphabetizing my VHS collection…
I had the pleasure of meeting Ensenada Brew Co. husband-and-wife team Paul and Karla Woronicz, owners of the Old Mission Brewery and Woodfire Pizza Restaurant in downtown Ensenada, BC. Having grown up with these ingredients herself and having direct access to fresh product, Karla knew they would have a unique-tasting selection of beer that would also implement a sense of community from the consumer.
As Karla explained, more important than hitting as many store shelves as possible, is the ability to provide freshly brewed beer in their restaurant for their customers and creating a sense of interaction, like that of family, with people.
That day, I tasted three beers:
Horchata Obscura (made with brown rice, chocolate malt, roasted barley, and accents of cinnamon and locally-grown vanilla, 6%)
Smoked Piloncillo Porter (made with roasted malts and piloncillo, which is unrefined sugar, 6%)
Red Agave IPA (made with two-row barley, crystal malts, and agave nectar, 6.8%)
It was an exhilarating explosion of flavors and scents unlike any other I have experienced to date; smooth and easy on the palette with plenty of flavor. The kind of beer that makes you want to order one after the other, after the other. Distribution to California is set for mid-December to early January 2014.
For a full list of their beer and to find out more, visit ensenadabrewing.com