On a warm and bright summer day in June, strolling through the streets of Los Angeles, whether it be by fate or just the right decision, you can always end up walking into something unexpected. It’s one of the many qualities about Los Angeles that keeps me here, the ever-changing landscape being shaped by the wonderful mix of cultures and backgrounds constantly challenging the status quo. On this particular day, I found myself amidst a group of food journalists and professional glad-handers drinking beer and cocktails on a Wednesday afternoon celebrating the latest entrant into the battle royal of the LA beer scene, Bocanegra Brewing.
Bocanegra was started by Sergio “Checo” Guitierrez and Gullermo Gonzalez Beristain in Monterrey, Mexico. Guitierrez, like many brewers before him, decided to quit being a high paid lawyer and instead, dedicate himself to the art of making beer while Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain is a celebrated chef and owner of the award-winning restaurant Pangea. They began the brewery with the idea of defying the ridiculous notion that Mexican beer can only be lagers that require lime, whether added or infused. They know like I do, that that line of thinking is bullshit So the boys brought their Pilsner and Dunkel Weizen to the party, to which I replied with an emphatic yaaas queeeeen!
As I made my way through the spacious warehouse owned by Apron Manufacturer Hedley & Bennet, with what probably was at least my third round of beer and some delicious bites provided by some world-class chefs including Beristain himself, they began a Q&A discussing their humble beginnings and what their plans are for their beer. Questions were raised such as the possibility of them brewing an India Pale Ale, or IPA, the most popular of beer styles. “Well, to be honest, I really enjoy IPAs like Stone but that’s just not something I’m looking to do right now. That’s not me,” said Guitierrez. Which is interesting when you consider their brewery was bought by Anheuser-Busch in 2016 as one of many acquisitions of “craft brands” such as Goose Island and Wicked Weed.
Even with the big beer stink I couldn’t help but feel happy for those guys. Brewing is a costly venture that requires patience, hard work and a shitload of money. I can only hope that with these beers being available in big markets like LA and New York, people can finally see that we Mexicans like beer with complex flavors too.