By Kyle Hargrave
Beer is good. Craft beer is better. Pure craft beer is the best. This is the mantra of Cerveza Tijuana, developed by its creator Jose Antonio Gonzalez Ibarra, and memorialized in its relentless dedication to making pure craft beer. Mankind’s love affair with beer can be traced back as far as seven thousand years, and it has been a fiery and passionate relationship ever since. The quest to create the perfect beer recipe rivals that of a man in search of the perfect woman; a journey that can be frustrating, elusive, and arduous, and in the end (if all works well)- intoxicating.
In a time where Craft Beer is becoming almost as prevalent as commercial beer, Cerveza Tijuana stands apart in its commitment to producing what is known as pure craft beer. Pure craft beer is produced through an unwavering adherence to a specific recipe and an unchanging process. With no additives, pure craft beer’s alcohol content, color, taste, and smell are exactly what the name denotes--pure. This emphasis on purity leaves the beer drinker savoring the natural taste of hops and barley, not food coloring or other unwanted ingredients. Hops, barely, yeast, and water. Sounds simple, yet combining those ingredients and developing body, color, taste and smell is an intricate process. Cerveza Tijuana only uses the best ingredients, even if that means paying extra to procure them.
The beer brewed at Cerveza Tijuana is the product of a man -the quintessential beer aficionado- who would stop at nothing to satiate his desire to bring Mexico a beer like no other. Jose Gonzalez’ love affair with beer started from childhood. The son of one of Mexico’s premier beer distributors, Jose traveled throughout Mexico learning exactly what beer drinkers wanted from their frothy beverages. He knew that good beer can only come from a great recipe. After acknowledging his life’s purpose- to create and deliver a new and delicious Mexican beer- Jose embarked on a mission to find a recipe that could do such a thing. Jose’s journey led him to the nation that holds the global record for beer consumption, and a longstanding history for creating unrivaled beer- the Czech Republic. The creation of Pilsner in Czech Republic around 1842 caught Jose’s attention because of its transparent golden color, high foaminess, and light flavor. Jose fell in love with the pilsner recipe and brought it back along with several Czech brewmaster’s in order to help him develop his brewery.
After acquiring the perfect recipe and constructing his brewery on top of what was discovered to be the highest quality underground water source in Tijuana, Jose finally accomplished what he set out to do- to produce what has become one of Mexico’s most unique beers. With a beer made by a man who fell in love with Tijuana, a beer conceived and produced in Tijuana, there was only one name that was fitting for Jose’s product… TJ Beer. TJ Beer can be described generally as a traditional Pilsner beer with a Mexican twist. The quality and unique nature of TJ Beer has been acknowledged through a mountain of accolades received from beer festivals around the globe. With Cerveza Tijuana offering beers across the taste spectrum, you are sure to find a beer to quench just about anybody’s thirst. From the clear and smooth TJ Light to the dark and frothy Morena, Cerveza Tijuana will be sure to serve up a beverage just the way you like it. No matter what type of beer you order, there is one thing that holds true, Cerveza Tijuana spares no expense to deliver beer of the highest quality with almost unrivaled purity.
Cerveza Tijuana now exports to Japan, Australia, Chile, and yes, the United States of America. However, if you are looking for TJ Beer in the States it might be hard to find so your best bet to procuring a cold TJ Beer is making the trip down to La Taberna, which is located adjacent to the brewery. Cerveza Tijuana only exports a portion of the products made at the brewery. Some of their most delicious beers (Rosarito, Brava, and Bufadora) can only be enjoyed by pulling up a stool at the bar in La Taberna. Jose Gonzalez’ obsession with the perfect beer didn’t stop with Czech inspired formula, he wanted beer drinkers also to be able to have a more tangible beer drinking experience. In order to accomplish this, Jose imported a Czech made bar to install in La Taberna, in addition to modeling the entire tavern after what can be found in the Czech Republic. While sipping on a delicious pilsner beer inside La Taberna, you almost feel as though you are slipping out of Tijuana and into a traditional Eastern European tavern. If the beer and atmosphere aren’t enough to lure you in, La Taberna also offers excellent food, live music, and karaoke.
The brewery offers tours upon reservation, but will make exceptions if circumstances permit. A tour includes a visit to production stage of the brewery, a meet and greet with the brewmaster (if he is available), a plethora of information, and a tasting of Cerveza Tijuana’s great products. You can order your favorite TJ beer in bottles or kegs online or by phone. With one sip of a frosty TJ Beer you will be able to taste the product of an epic love story between a man and the eternal object of his affection.