December 22, 2015
As the sun dips below the Baja horizon, odds are you are admiring your backyard view from Tres Santos with an ice-cold brew in hand. And if you’re anything like us, chances are that glass of refreshing suds is brewed by Baja Brewing Company—a Colorado-inspired label based in nearby Cabo. How, you might ask, did Colorado’s famous brewing scene spread all the way down to the Baja?
We sat down with the mastermind behind it all, Founder and Brewmaster Jordan Gardenhire, to find out how a Colorado hobby turned into a paradise reality.
Adios Colorado, Hola Mexico
Gardenhire, who first found his love of brewing beer while creating experimental brews in his college apartment in Boulder, Colorado, decided in 2006 to trade in his boots for flip-flops. After a year spent in sunny Cabo, the thought of leaving was a hard one to bear. “I really didn’t want to leave, so I thought of ways I could stay. That’s when the idea of the brewery came about,” remembers Gardenhire. “I went to the American Brewers Guild in Vermont, and then came back to Cabo and started the project.” In 2007, Baja Brewing Co. was born.
Best of Both Worlds
Even with his love for the beauty and lifestyle that is Cabo, Gardenhire still can’t leave his roots in Colorado behind. “I am trying to bring more of the Colorado-style beer down here to Mexico, but also keep it easy-drinking in the hot weather,” says Gardenhire. This is why the blonde ale, Cabotella, makes a big splash among the locals. It is light but not lacking in flavor.
While there can be challenges when meshing his love for a hoppier, stronger beer into a crisper and thirst quenching brew enjoyed on the beach, it is hard to ignore the multitude of fresh ingredients growing in Mexico all at their disposal. His easy access to thousands of mangos, for example, sparked the idea for Baja’s famed seasonal Mango Beer. “We just have to peel and core them and throw them into the beer,” says Gardenhire. The result: an unforgettable fruity and tangy mixture of sheer brew bliss you can’t miss when in season.
It’s All About the Donkeys
Like Donkeys? So does Baja Brewing. So much in fact that they chose the donkey over a mermaid for the mascot of their sudsy creations. “If you drive down a dirt road, you are almost for sure going to run into some donkeys,” says Gardenhire. “They are super friendly and come right up to your car.” We know we certainly love “el burro.”
The Cabotella (Translation: Cabo in a bottle)
Style: Blond Ale
Alcohol Volume: 5.5%
Recommended Pairing: This really refreshing brew pairs well with a citrusy ceviche dish, or with the classic Baja fish tacos.
The Peliroja (Translation: Red Head Red)
Style: Amber Ale
Bitterness: Medium and Balanced
Alc. Vol.: 6%
Recommended Pairing: Try this crimson beer with one the the brewpub’s thin crust beer pizza prepared with a red sauce.
The Baja “Oatmeal” Stout
Style: Oatmeal Stout
Bitterness: High and Balanced
Color: Dark Coffee
Alcohol Volume: 6.0%
Recommended Pairing: Who doesn’t love chocolate and coffee undertones that pair great with any kind of chocolate cake? Try with a brownie with vanilla ice cream.
Need more convincing? You will just have to pack your bags, and head on down to one of Baja Brewing Co.’s brewpubs to sip and dine on arguably the best beer and food in town. Don’t forget your flip-flops!