Mexican beer is officially on the map. At least that’s the case if your craft-beer universe is set according to Brew Dogs' James Watt and Martin Dickie, the flamboyant Scottish duo running the best — and one of the only — beer-focused television show today. For their season finale, which aired Wednesday night, they headed down to Baja, Mexico, to drink and brew beer. Did they convince us that Mexico is the next craft beer mecca? Not exactly. But they did make an argument for Baja as one of the most fun places on the planet in which to imbibe.
"Maybe they just wanted a vacation for their last episode," says Jordan Gardenhire, the founder and head brewer at Baja Brewing Co., where the episode took place. The show revolved around dune buggy racing, eating local seafood, drinking a few bottles of mezcal, swimming naked in the ocean, doing peyote with a Mayan shaman — and finally brewing a special collaboration with Gardenhire.
The beer in question was the kind of weird concoction viewers have come to expect from Watt and Dickie — a dark ale brewed with sea urchins and peyote ("just the peel — not the hallucinogenic part"). They decided to brew the beer specifically for mixing in a michelada — the local beer cocktail that usually is made to dress up a mediocre Mexican brew. It’s not exactly a move that shows off the great craft beers coming out of the country.
"Personally I don’t drink many micheladas," says Gardenhire. "It was a weird idea, I’ll grant you that. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but at the end, no one poured it out." Even with all the distractions from craft beer, Gardenhire points out that Mexico was a logical choice for the show. "Really, craft beer in Mexico is booming faster than anyone realizes. I started this brewery eight year ago, and there was a handful of craft breweries in the country," he says. "Now there are hundreds."