BEER. We had been dreaming of beer. Now, don’t get me wrong. Obviously Mexico has plenty of beer. But we hail from the land of the brewpub, from a city with more brewpubs per capita than any other. We were dreaming of craft beer and we were not to be denied! Luckily for us, we found beer and Loreto!
Our drive through the endless deserts of Baja, we were still searching for that special little town. Was Loreto it? That may remain to be seen, but I can’t deny it’s charm.
The first Spanish settlement in Baja, Loreto was founded in 1697 by Jesuit missionaires, drawn by the steady stream of fresh water at it’s site, where they founded the Mision Nuestra Senora de Loreto. Eventually the Jesuits were expelled and the Franciscans took over control of the Misions before they, of course, were forced to turn over power to the Dominican order. And so it goes in world domination.
Meanwhile, little Loreto simply went life as the beginning of the El Camino Real (The Royal Road), the historic corridor that works it’s way north to Sonoma, California, following the ancient route of the Spanish missionaries.
While Loreto is undeniably a tourist town, we found it’s charm quite real. Originally promoted as one of the Mexican governments “IT” towns like Cancun and Ixtapa, that ideal never really came to fruitiion in Loreto. Since then, the golf courses and high rise hotels have seemed to move south of town and Loreto still has a colonial feel in it’s center. There is an overwhelming small town feel. The locals are friendly, the services readily available, and the food fantastic.
We found our home at Riviera RV Park, a wonderful two blocks to the beach and mere five blocks to the main square. Run by uber-efficient Yolanda, the location is ideal for exploring the area, along with simply being a pleasant, if busy place.
But I know what you really want to know about…. THE BEER. We found our craft beer at 1697 the restaurant/ bar/ guest house named, obviously, after the year the town was founded. Run by Kiernan, an Irishman with a Mexican wife, we sampled a couple of his excellent brews, ate one of his excellent pizzas, and Jim even went back with him to tour his brew room. Somehow, even while planning on going for beer, we managed to forget our growler so one of the helpful staff found an old tequila bottle and filled it up for us to take along for a nightcap at camp.
As happens on this life on the road, after a couple of days it was time to move on. But we thank you, Loreto, for your hospitality and charm, and especially your beer.