Border Psycho Brewery: The Rebel Flavor of the Border
By Jorge Guevara. Reprinted with permission of San Diego Red.
I first met Roberto Albarran while I was sitting in a bar at a restaurant, doing a review of the their new menu. At first glance I found him intimidating. He was wearing a leather jacket, a black shirt, and had an epic beard. All he needed was a motorcycle to complete the picture, and my impression was that he could well be the president of a motorcycle club. Then I discovered that Roberto was the one who made the local beer Border Psycho, and everything suddenly made sense. That same day, he gave me his card and invited me to visit the brewery.
A few weeks later I went over to the Border Psycho Brewery, appropriately located near the international border in the Colonia Libertad neighborhood of Tijuana. After being greeted by a friendly pitbull at the front door, I went inside and noticed that the place was painted with red and black colors – just like the colors of the local professional soccer team – and it felt like a motorcycle club.
Javier Albarran, the master brewer of Border Psycho, also greeted us at the entrance and gave us a tour of the brewery. He explained in detail the entire brewing process, from the selection of grains to the manual bottling process. Each bottle that reaches your hands has passed through theirs, which says a lot about the brothers’ traditional brewing philosophy.
Roberto arrived moments later while we were enjoying a beer called “Cream”, a clear and sweet beer that had not been bottled yet. He sat down and after we touched glasse,s I asked him the obvious question. How did it all begin? As it turns out, Javier Albarran is a sommelier, and was was fortunate enough to take a course in the art of brewing. Roberto, the other half of the duo behind Border Psycho, reached a point in his life where he found himself unemployed. Both brothers decided to go all in, and pursue their dream of making their own beers, something they had always wanted to do.
VIDEO : Interview with Roberto Albarrán
Fortunately, everything seems to be going very well, as their beers are not just a success locally, but also at a domestic and international level. This 100% family owned business is increasingly being recognized everywhere, and honestly, this is well deserved. Something I noticed during this visit is that when the Albarran brothers talk about their beer, you immediately sense the sincerity and confidence they have in what they do. These guys are really passionate about their beers.
Border Psycho Brewery produces the following beer styles:
• Imperial Psycho Ale
Abbreviated IPA, this beer has a dark copper color, lots of foam and a strong smell of hops, flowers, toffee and caramel. It’s a bit bitter, but has a sweet finish.
A dark beer with a delicious smell of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. In Robert’s words, it’s no big deal, but it is a well-made beer. Great to sip on while just sitting around, talking and smoking a cigar.
• English Brown Ale
The “Brown” as its commonly known happens to be one of my favorites. It has great taste of coffee, chocolate and black fruits, with just the right bitterness at the end.
• La Perversa (The Wicked One)
A double IPA with long hops, but also a sweet taste at the end. This new addition to the list of the Border Psycho beers is a pleasant surprise to fans of the IPA. La Perversa beer without a doubt can compete against any of Sierra Nevada’s IPAs.
• Brutal Imperial Stout
Like all stouts, this one also has a dark color, good foam, and smells of coffee, chocolate and to my surprise, anise. This beer is delicious and soft and has a high alcoholic content that is barely noticeable. Definitely one of the strong cards of the Border Psycho Brewery.
• La Belgica Sicotica (The Belgian Psycho)
A Black Saison. Wow, they definitively brought down the house with this one. This beer is the crown jewel of the Border Psycho Brewery. You simply just have to try this beer to begin to understand the complexity of its flavor. If you ever have opportunity to try it, don’t think twice and just do it.
Border Psycho Brewery is part of the current craft beer production movement in Baja California. Every day more and more places have begun to order their products, all of which are excellent. On your next visit to Tijuana make sure to visit La Tasquita or the BCB Tasting Room and enjoy the new rebel flavor of the border, a Border Psycho craft beer.
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