Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
Tasca de la Sexta: the Toronado of TJ?
If, by some chance, you find yourself in Tijuana on a lovely evening and you can't shake the longing for imported lagers and craft ales (because North Park is just oh so far away), fear not! Tasca is there to help!
Dark and hard to photograph under cover of night, the mid-sized, Mexican haven of hop sniffery is not too much to look at from the street. On Sixth, between Constitucion and Revolucion, Tasca de la Sexta is identifiable as a beer bar with the phrase "151 cervezas del mundo" on the awning that hangs over the front of the building.
On the inside there is a comfortable barroom that evokes stateside hipster dives with plenty of table space and a selection of beers from near and far that will put a smile on the face of any San Diego beer snob.
Off-the-cuff monetary exchange is an inexact science at best (and it only gets worse as the night goes on), but the prices at Tasca cover a pretty wide territory. Look at spending two to ten US dollars on a beer. The bar also has a selection of tequila and other spirits, but the list of cervezas importadas is themore enticing propsect.
There are beers from Belgium and Germany. There are plenty of beers from the US. There are also some really cool beers from Mexico. The new Zona Norte brewery is producing beer with names that evoke the clubs and cultures of the TJ red light district. Scandalous as that may seem, the beers are actually quite good.
An "Adelas" honey ale was infinitely drinkable and novel enough to stand out against a panel of similar brews. The "Zacas" pale ale was also very good, though not as refined as some of the most impressive examples from Europe and the states can be.
Still, both beers were impressive considering the relatively small scale of the brewer, and also the relative infancy of the craft beer scene south of the border.
Maybe it would be weird to go all the way to Mexico just to visit a place that's a lot like Toronado or Small Bar except with more soccer on TV.
But, maybe it would be awesome!