You don’t need to take a vacation to Mexico to know that the country has its fair share of beer. Some of the world’s most popular beer brands are imported from the North American country.
Beers such as Corona, Modelo, and Dos Equis lager all are mainstays in liquor stores and Mexican restaurants and are loved for their crisp flavor, which not only perfectly complements a plate of tacos but transports you to the bustling towns of Mexico, rich with culture or a secluded beach on the country’s cost.
Mexico’s brewing heritage is rich with history and tradition. Many major brands can trace their roots to Austrian and German immigrants who settled throughout North America. Mexican beers taste European because these settlers brought their brewing techniques and beer styles with them and slowly transformed the beer preference of native Mexicans.
Today, Mexican beer showcases a variety of amber beers like Vienna style lagers, darker beers with robust flavor, like Munich-style Dunkel, and light beers similar to pilsner style lager.
Additionally, beer connoisseurs have been pleasantly surprised by the growth of craft beer in Mexico, discovering local beers sold in beer bars and pubs throughout the country.
Since beer in Mexico is much more than the brands many beer drinkers recognize, this list is dedicated to the best Mexican beers to find on your next beer adventure in Mexico.
1. Victoria (Grupo Modelo)
Type: Vienna Lager | ABV: 4% | Calories: 135
Lightly toasted malt and spicy hops create the unmistakable balanced taste of a Vienna style lager. Victoria is always a sight for soar eyes at a Mexican food restaurant. This bright but malty lager with a slight bitterness has a smooth flavor and should be on anyone’s best beer in Mexico list.
2. Bohemia Beer (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery)
Type: Pilsner | ABV: 4.9% | Calories: 150
Bohemia does get a decent amount of distribution outside its home country. The golden color lager has earned some international recognition for its “robust” pilsner, bagging a World Beer Cup medal. This easy drinking beer is a perfect beer to hoist for Oktoberfest or Cinco de Mayo.
3. Dos Equis Amber Lager (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery)
Type: International Dark Lager | ABV: 4.7% | Calories: 145
More malty than Vienna style lagers, Dos Equis Ambar Especial has bready, caramel flavors that complement grilled skirt steak or pork mole wonderfully. While Dos Equis Especial might catch your eye with its green bottle, Ambar’s liquid is too important to risk being damaged by light. Search for it in a dark brown bottle.
4. Pique (El Gardenia)
Type: Chile Beer | ABV: 5% | Calories: unknown
Lagers and limes might be traditional Mexican beers, but a new age of Mexican craft brews has brought pale ales and jalapenos. Still bold and flavorful, Pique has garnered international attention, bagging a medal at the World Beer Cup for the brewery. El Gardenia makes it in Chihuahua.
5. Lagrimas Negras (Cerveceria Rámuri)
Type: Imperial Stout | ABV: 10% | Calories: 300
Deep, dark, and smooth, Lagrimas Negras is an Imperial oatmeal stout that clocks in at a whopping 10 percent ABV. Notes of chocolate and caramel are on display in this full bodied beer. Lagrimas Negras proves there is more to this country’s beer scene than the Mexican style lager.
6. Hazmela Rusa (La Chingoneria)
Type: Imperial Stout | ABV: 8 | Calories: 240
Not to be outdone, La Chingoneria’s Hazmela Rusa is as intensely dark as dark beers get, with notes of toasted malts, toffee, and chilies. This is the type of beer most folks think is made in Mexico but isn’t. Mexican Chocolate Stouts are much more prevalent in the US, but if you can get your hands on this one, do it!
7. Minerva Pale Ale (Cerveceria Minerva SA de CV)
Type: English Pale Ale| ABV: 6% | Calories: 180
Here, you’ll find the English influence on the Mexican beer industry. Minerva is a highly-rated English Pale Ale from the region of Jalisco. As a classic style, it tastes of bread, caramel, and nuts with an earthy touch from carefully selected hops. Minerva might not be one of the oldest beer brands in Mexico, but it has earned much respect for the beer produced under their watchful eye.
8. American Wheat (Cerveceria Principia)
Type: American Wheat | ABV: 4.3% | Calories: 125
Cleaner than a hefeweizen or Belgian wit, American Wheat from Cerveceriia Principia uses wheat to create a new way to quench thirst. Wheat offers a gentle tanginess that is different from many mexican style lagers.
With wheat, there is no need for lime or lime juice; the acidity is brewed right in the recipe. Though wheat beers may seem out of place compared to the general beer production in the country, wheat beers have roots both in Germany and the United States, which has had a noticeable effect on the beers brewed here.
9. Negra Modelo (Grupo Modelo)
Type: Munich Style Dunkel | ABV: 5.4 | Calories: 180
Modelo Negro is genuinely a classic. The warm, enveloping flavors of freshly baked bread are always welcome when drinking this beer. Negra Modelo is a versatile beer great for the beach with a lime wedge or at the dinner table with a plate of grilled meats. See here for our full review of Modelo Negra.
10. Pacifico Clara (Grupo Modelo)
Type: International Pale Lager | ABV: 4.5% | Calories: 135
Pacifico is a pils style lager beer without the aggressive bitterness that this beer’s American or German cousins might flex. Pacifico is easy drinking with the unmistakable cracker-like pilsner malt with a very balanced flavor. It’s the style I’d want to brew if I had my own brewery.
11. Noche Buena (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery)
Type: Bock Style Beer | ABV: 5.9 | Calories: 170
The legend of Noche Buena continues! This beer brewing tradition has gone on seasonally for nearly a century and showcases a fine malty brew with a slightly bitter taste.
Bock beers are great with pork mole — really any hearty Mexican food! Dark beers like this prove that Mexican lagers aren’t all fizzy yellow beers.
12. Belgian Blonde (Cerveza Patito)
Type: Belgian Style Blonde | ABV: 5.5% | Calories: 165
Patito refers to an inexpensive souvenir you might pick up on a trip to Mexico. It also translates to duck. While Patito’s Belgian Blonde is not a cheap trinket, it reminds me of a duck out of water since Belgian-style Ales doesn’t fit the Tropical climate of the Yucatan from which the beer is produced. This medium body beer has a candy-sweet malt character, low hop bitterness, and a slightly spicy yeast flavor.
Mexican Beer FAQs
What Type of Beer are Most Mexican brews?
Before European immigrants settled in Mexico, most Mexicans drank corn-based fermented drinks known as pulque. Over time, the European influence changed the local preference to that of the most popular beer style in the world, namely pilsner style lagers.
These lagers were brewed with pilsner malts and European hops for a refreshing and crisp malt flavor that suited Mexico’s Tropical and sub-tropical climates. Adding maze or corn helps make the beers even more thirst-quenching.
Today, when we think of Mexican beer, we think of a Cerveza-style pale lager with low to moderate hop bitterness and corn to complement barley malt.
What Foods Go Well With Mexican Beers?
Just as there is more than one style of Mexican beer, there are countless types of Mexican foods. Each region and town offers unique cuisine and even has its own take on the most iconic Mexican food, the taco. If you find yourself in Mexico, be sure to ask what’s local to enjoy with the house favorite.
When pairing Mexican beer and Mexican food at home, it’s helpful to consider the intensity of the food when selecting an appropriate Mexican beer. Lighter foods, like Baja fish tacos, benefit from lighter beers, for instance, a Pacifico or Modelo Especial.
For richer, more spicy dishes, grab a beer with a flavor profile that matches the bolder flavors. A great example might be pairing a Negra Modelo lager with Birria de Borrego “a beautiful, smoky, and flavorful Mexican lamb stew. Simmered long and low on the stove.”
What are the Most Popular Mexican Beers?
The most popular beers from Mexico are from Mexico’s oldest beer brand. Grupo Modelo brews Mexican beer brands such as Corona, Pacifico, and Modelo. Modelo Especial recently became the best selling beer in the United States.
Each of these beers is very similar in style and flavor profile. They each can be described as International pale lagers, a subset of pilsner beers with a cracker-like malt flavor from pilsner malt.
Besides light beer, dark beers can be found in Mexico, from Vienna style lager to bocks and even Imperial stouts.
The popularity of these beer types is nothing new. Pale lager is the most popular type of beer worldwide. The styles go perfectly with the beach vibes many tourists look for when visiting Mexico. That bright, crisp beer experience has spread away from the shore and is a favored beverage to watch sporting events or hang out at a BBQ. There is no need to be in Mexico to enjoy Mexican lagers or ales.
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