Craft Beers Come To Todos Santos

New brewery offers handmade, artisanal ales
BY: LACEY STORER

Ted and Liz Mitchell never intended to put down roots in Todos Santos, let alone start a business there. The pair has been coming to Todos Santos for the past seven years for their summer vacation (well, winter vacation really, since they’re from Australia and the seasons are opposite of ours). Last summer, they planned to spend only a month in Todos Santos before moving on to South America. But one month turned into three months, and it was around that time that they went out one night in search of a place they could go and relax and enjoy a nice craft beer. Problem was, that place didn’t exist in Todos Santos.

Their solution was to stay in Todos Santos and open a craft brewery of their own, so they opened Todos Santos Brewing earlier this month, featuring a lineup of artisanal beers brewed by Ted himself.

draft.JPGOnce they decided to start their own brewery, it took the Mitchells a few months to find just the right spot. Liz says they were mindful of wanting a place where they could have both an indoor and outdoor seating area, a space for Ted to make the beer, living quarters for the two of them as well as onsite parking, and plenty of street parking for their thirsty customers. The spot they finally found used to be the El Conchalito mini mart and tortilla shop.

After another few months of lease negotiations, renovations finally began in February, with the Mitchells doing most of the work themselves. Inside is the bar, kitchen, and tables and booths for seating. Outside is the beer garden, with small clusters of chairs arranged throughout the space. Sit out there and you’ll likely make friends with the Mitchell’s dog, Hopsy.

While some businesses close down for the summer slow season, Liz says that was one of the reasons they wanted to open now, so there would be something else for the full-time Todos Santos residents to do. It also gives them a chance to work out all the kinks well before the high season starts up and the customers flood in.

As far as the beer goes, however, that part is already running smoothly. Ted has been brewing beer for the last few years, and before that he worked for a brewing company in Australia. For the brewery’s beer lineup, he says he tailored the beers to the hot weather of Baja California Sur. The majority of the beers are lighter and will taste refreshing on a hot summer day.

And take it from this (very) occasional craft beer drinker who has trouble finding beers that are light enough, Ted has done a great job of creating a variety of beers and flavors that aren’t too bitter or overpowering. Even if all you ever drink back home is Bud Light (which some would argue is just beer-flavored water) you’ll be able to find a Todos Santos Brewing beer light enough for you. But be warned: A lot of the beers have a higher alcohol content than the Modelos and Pacificos we Gringos typically drink here. And if you’re not used to it, Liz says, that can sneak up on you and kick you in the ass.

Riddle: What does making love in a kayak and light beer have in common?

Answer: They’re both f...ing close to water.

Although they are passionate about beer, Ted and Liz recognize that there are those people who just don’t like craft beer, or beer in general. For those customers, they’ve created a menu of cocktails and craft sodas. There are four types of soda: nitro espresso (which is so strong it’s served as a four ounce shot), sparkling limonada, ginger “beer” and jamaica fizz. The sodas are used in several of the cocktails as well, like the Dark and Stormy made with the ginger beer and the Paloma margarita made with the jamaica fizz.

Prices at the brewery are reasonable, with a pint running $4.50 USD (remember, this is handmade craft beer, so it will cost more than a regular, mass-produced beer). You can also get a 10 ounce middy glass for $3.50. And if you’re new to craft beer and not sure what kind of flavors you like, we recommend you try the sampler, featuring six 3.3 ounce tastings of the beers of your choice, which goes for $5.50. The artisanal sodas go for $3.00 for a pint, and the cocktails are $7.00.

Once the Mitchells have the brewery up and running smoothly, the next step will be to open the kitchen. The plan is to roll out one or two new items each week, so they’ll have a full menu by high season. The menu will feature dishes that, no surprise, incorporate beer in them, like beer battered fish and chips. And, of course, there will be beer pairing recommendations as well.

The Mitchells also want to eventually host craft beer classes to teach people about the process of making beer and what goes into the beer. This won’t be a technical how-to class, Ted says, but a way for people to learn more about the craft beer they drink and have a better appreciation for it.

To visit Todos Santos Brewing and sample their beers, you can find them on Alvaro Obregon between Militar and Rangel. You can also find them on Facebook at facebook.com/TodosSantosBrewing or visit their website at www.todossantosbrewing.mx.