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Good Beer Hunting

Sep 26, 2021

Throughout my freelance beer-writing career, one person’s name has continued to pop up as someone to pay attention to. That person is Laura Garcia, a brewer who has worked across the state of Baja California, but primarily in Baja’s capital city of Mexicali, which also happens to be her hometown.

But this isn’t a story about how I know Laura. It’s a story about why you should. Hailed by many as the best brewer in Baja, Laura worked her way from beer lover to beer judge to brewer and beyond. The pandemic interrupted her career trajectory, but she hasn’t let that dampen her enthusiasm for the craft. In fact, she’s using this time and space to reflect on what she wants for herself, for her beer community, and the Mexican craft beer scene at large.

During the course of our conversation, Laura reveals how Mexicali’s scorching heat and surprisingly early brewing history helped launch the area’s now-thriving craft beer industry. She talks about how the region’s sometimes limited access to resources, coupled with her community’s willingness to share everything, has led to a tight-knit bond not seen in many other places in beer. We, of course, discuss how the United States—and San Diego specifically—have influenced the Baja beer scene, but also how its ability to accept that influence without compromising authenticity has led to amazing results. Laura also pushes back against misconceptions about Mexico in general, and invites listeners to experience the best of Mexicali without fear, with plenty of recommendations for the city’s ridiculously underrated food and drink scene.