Aaron Diaz is a man driven by passion. When he was twenty, Aaron visited a friend in Colorado, who took him to a small brewery. He sampled his first craft beer and knew then and there he would one day brew and sell his own artisanal beer. After years of working hard, scraping and saving to fund his dream, and learning and experimenting with the intricacies of the brewing process, it has come to fruition. Bahía de Banderas Brewery will open its doors to the public at 4:00pm on Thursday, October 3.
You may know Aaron from Tacos on the Street in La Cruz. His family has owned and operated that business for the past twenty-six years. His father, in teaching a valuable life lesson, saved all of young Aaron’s tips from working at the family restaurant. Aaron became a property owner in Bucerias at the age of thirteen. “I hated it. Who wants to own land at thirteen years old? I wanted to hang out with my friends, go to the movies, you know? I thank him for it now.”
Aaron describes his first beer flight experience, with his friend in Fort Collins, Colorado as so, “I wasn’t much of a drinker. That beer actually tastes good, smells good, has different notes. You can smell the hops. I was amazed at the process. This is what I want to do when I grow up.” He stayed in Colorado, applied for a work permit and took steps toward fulfilling his plan. For income, he built a food stand. “I did what I knew how to do. I sold tacos.”
Aaron then bought the equipment to start brewing batches, and turned his friend’s garage into a brewing area. For four years, Aaron took weekend courses, “whenever I could afford.” He learned how to grow yeast in Petri dishes, and about the German Beer Purity Law, a decree that allows for only hops, barley, water and yeast as true beer ingredients. On every day off he would brew a different kind of beer. “Sometimes it was real bad. I had to throw out entire batches. But sometimes it was good. I just had to learn.”
Winter in western USA is too chilly to sell street tacos, so Aaron would always come back here to help his parents with the restaurant during the busy season. Of his property in Bucerias, he says, “Every winter I came here it was all weeds and big, tall grass. I poured myself a piece of concrete right here”, he points out a spot on the current brewery floor, “and put up a tent, continuing to brew beer as practice, always planning on opening a brewery here.”
During one of those winters, Aaron met his wife, Jennah, who will look after the food at the brewery and their three small children. “When I was ready to start working on my brewery, I sold my business in Colorado and we moved back here full time. It’s taken me three years to prepare the site and build the brewery, doing everything myself, without investors.”
Aaron gave me a crash course on the process of making different beers. As he moved among the apparatus with an awe inspiring energy, his enthusiasm was contagious. The Bahía de Banderas Brewery will offer five beers; golden ale; blond ale; pale ale; IPA; and stout, eventually introducing new beers. “Maybe a wheat beer or a Belgian. I love making beer almost as much as I love my kids. If I could make and sell beer every day, I’d be a happy man”. Stop in. You, too, will be amazed.
Find the Bahía de Banderas Brewery on Google or Facebook.