Between Calle 6 and 7, Tijuana, Baja
Behind a nondescript door next to the new TJINCHINA gallery and down a long hallway, the first batches of Tijuana’s greenest microbrewery are bubbling up in small, stainless steel tanks.
“When I started at Beer Box in 2009, there wasn’t even a market for craft beer,” says brewer Edgar Martinez, who is launching Teorema Cervecería with business partner Luis Durazo.
As co-owner of the Gastronomy District’s Beer Box (a chain of about 45 locations nationwide), Martinez was among the first to consistently carry craft beer in Tijuana.
“Some people were interested, but in 2011 there was a boom of small breweries and festivals,” Martinez says. “San Diego breweries started coming down, everyone started homebrewing, and it just kept growing.”
Now, with a clandestine brew space, three 96-gallon fermenters, and a penchant for Belgian beers, Teorema plans to debut publicly at Expo Cerveza Artesanal in Zona Rio on May 30/31.
For the first year or so, Teorema will be open to tastings by reservation only (search for their website soon) and pairing events with local chefs. They plan to stock three year-round brews (American IPA, Belgian saison, American porter) and three seasonals (hybrid Belgians, sours, specialty IPAs). Eventually, they will distribute 22-ouncers to bars and restaurants, including BCB Tasting Room, Verde y Crema, La Tasca, and Beer Box.
Elaborating on recipes from Beer Box and home experimentation, Teorema is putting new twists on familiar formulas. Just a few weeks old, their pilot batch of Belgian dubbel (7.1% ABV, 28 IBU) is only beginning to express its potential. It’s sweet and malty, alluding to hints of honey, biscuit, bread crust, raisins, and cherries, all underscored by a mild chocolate.
“We’re trying to not overwhelm with the fruity flavors,” Martinez explains. “It’s still a Belgian beer. But these beers are very young, so in two or three weeks, you’re going to get all the esters, the flavors, and aromas.”
Their German hefeweizen (4.5% ABV, 26 IBU) is dry-hopped with wonder strains Mosaic and Citra, resulting in an atypically tropical hef abounding in fruity, citrusy, and piney notes. German yeasts cloud the glass, lending banana and cloves. The resulting brew, noticeably absent of bitterness, tastes very much like Key Lime pie.
“We are doing traditional styles but with new ingredients and techniques,” says Martinez. “We’re still homebrewers, so we want to do experimental, crazy stuff. It’s what keeps us excited about brewing.”