Craft Beer Bar in Ajijic
Shopping is hard work! So we were mighty glad to stumble across El Figón after spending the morning in and out of various tiendas. Don't blink, or you might miss it, which would be a shame as it's one of a handful of bars in Mexico serving a menu of only Mexican brewed craft beers. The Mexican beer market has been dominated by the 2 huge brewing giants, Grupo Modelo and Grupo Cuauhtemoc, and young craft brewers have had a hard time finding distribution and placement for their beers
7 of us found El Figón a little after noon and dropped into their very comfortable equipale sofas and chairs much in need of refreshments. The beers are listed on a large chalk board and change depending upon availability. The beer menu held a lot of stouts and ales along with a stray weizen or two and represented breweries from Baja to central Mexico. I tried the Alebrija Weizen, which turned out to be a mango based beer. Would I drink it every day? Probably not. Was it a light and refreshing beer? Absolutely. The Tijuana Bufadora was a big hit as were the Jack Stout, Baja Black and a Rio Bravo that was not listed on the chalk board.
As long as you drink, snacks are free. The popcorn was great and was quickly followed by a platter of chips with assorted salsas. There was a positively incindiary arbol based salsa that was addictive if one could stand the heat. More interesting however, were two veggie based salsas, both of which were quite good. Beets, chipotles, crema or mayo (or perhaps both) and a little salt morphed into the most garish magenta color but was wonderful. The lowly cucumber was converted into a subtle and nuanced salsa that provided a welcome cooling element after the firey arbol salsa. Not entirely satisfied with the popcorn and chips routine we ordered quesadillas con hongos (mushrooms) off the small tapas-style menu. Wow, were these things good. Fresh mushrooms had been lightly sauteed and stuffed into tortillas along with some gouda cheese. I was a little disappointed that the quesadilla was the American-style stuff it between two flour tortillas rather than the Mexican-style fill a masa tortilla and fry it, but the mushroom and gouda duo was such a winning combination that the type of tortilla didn't really matter. The beet and cucumber salsas, BTW, both nicely complimented the quesadilla.
El Figón is located at Ocampo 8-C, about a half block (or less) west of Calle Colon. Beer prices range from $2.30 - $4.25 with most being in the $2.75 - $3.50 range. I think our quesadillas were about $3.00. If craft beer is your thing and you're in the Ajijic area, stop in and check out what the Mexican craft brewers are doing. They may be a fledgling group, but they're producing some very interesting beers