Do you ever think about traveling “south of the border” to find out what the Best Mexican Beers are?
When it comes to powerhouses in the beer brewing industry, countries like the United States, Germany and Belgium often come to mind. But when you think of alcohol from Mexico, most people think about Tequila and Margaritas.
Sometimes the going below the radar, Mexico also has a thriving beer brewing community, and their beer has been brewed and enjoyed by many for centuries.
I’ve been a fan of the different beer styles from around the world and also have a special spot in my heart for Mexican beers, so I wanted to do a review on what I think are the top 10 Mexican beers.
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The History Of Mexican Beer
It didn’t take the Europeans to introduce beer brewing to Mexico, as native indigenous people enjoyed beer made from corn for centuries before the Spaniards came ashore. However, Spaniards brought over wheat and barley and European-style beer was brewed.
By the late 1890s, German immigrants homesick for Bavarian and Austrian styles started brewing their own, which is why some of these Mexican beers may seem similar to German or Austrian lagers and pilsners.
Shortly after 1900 there were 36 different brewers throughout the country. Starting in 1920, because of the recently passed prohibition laws in the United States, all Mexican alcohol, including beer, thrived as thirsty Americans would cross the border more frequently to imbibe.
In the prohibition era these smaller beer brewing companies were absorbed into two large companies: Grupo Modelo and Cerveceria Cuautehmoc-Moctezuma. By the turn of the 21st century these two companies controlled over 90% of the beer market in Mexico. Grupo Modelo is best known for making and selling Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo, and Pacifico brands, among others.
Within the past decade, Mexican beers had accounted for roughly 67% of imported beer sales during the past year, and that number continues to rise. and growing. At the end of 2018, five of the top ten imported beers in the United States came from Mexico.
Top Mexican Beers That You Should Try
So what is the best beer from Mexico?
Aficionados of craft beer know that taste is always subjective, but there are a few that keep popping up on everyone’s list. In addition, we gave points for accessibility as a rare microbrew that is nearly impossible to find in the U.S. shouldn’t be counted.
After trying a wide variety of Mexican beers, here are what we think are the Mexican beer brands that you should try the next time you reach for another beer.
Indio - 4.1% ABV
Indio is a sweet from the caramel malt, and surprisingly light. A deep copper hue leads to a sweet take on a Vienna-style lager. It is not outrageous or extreme, but a solid balance of bitterness and malt.
You will taste the malt, not the sugar. Indio has been available in the U.S. for less than a decade but is growing in popularity.
Sol - 4.5% ABV
Sol cerveza is a smooth refreshing beer with very low bitterness and comes from one of Mexico’s oldest breweries that opened way back in 1899.
“Sol” is Spanish for “sun” and this bright, light lager is perfect for sunny day drinking. It pours a light golden color with a hint of corn flavor which pairs perfectly with your favorite beach-side tacos.
Dos Equis Lager - 4.2% ABV
Also from the same brewer as Sol, this Dos Equis lager has a golden amber color and is slightly hoppy but goes down smooth. It is richer and more full-bodied than many other beers on this list. While it may not be as lively as the “most interesting man in the world” Dos Equis commercials, this beer is more than enjoyable, and a lime adds to the experience.
Whether it is because of the commercial campaign or the beer itself, Dos Equis is one of the fastest growing beers in the United States.
Modelo Especial- 4.4% ABV
Modelo Especial is a rich, full-flavored Pilsner-style Lager is rich, crisp, and refreshing. The taste is well balanced and lightly hoppy with an aroma of orange blossom honey. The citrus element to this beer, which is even more enhanced with a lemon.
This was first bottled in 1925 and is currently the #2 highest sold Mexican beer by case in the U.S., trailing behind, of course…
Yes, THAT Corona. The Corona you’ve seen at every summer party since college. In fact, Corona is the most popular beer in multiple states, including the not surprising beach party states of California and Florida but also Georgia, Colorado, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and North Dakota!
Corona is what most people think about when in comes to Mexican beer. Corona Extra has a place on this list partly because it is so popular and can be purchased almost anywhere in the world.
And the best way to drink a Corona is with a slice of lime (or lemon). Corona Extra is welcome at any party and you could drink a lot worse, and you probably have.
Tecate Original - 4.5% ABV
The original Tecate beer is a light and refreshing, well balanced bright golden lager beer with a malt crisp flavor. It has low to medium bitterness and finishes clean. It is named after the city in Baja Mexico on the California border, near Tijuana. It was first brewed in 1944.
If you like Tecate, you can also get Tecate Light which is lower in alcohol and calories.
Bohemia - 4.7% ABV
A truly European-inspired beer, in case the Czech name doesn’t tip you off. It pours easy and has a subtle fruit aroma with hints of a cocoa-like bitterness and vanilla. Pale in color, it has a pleasant balance between bitter hops and sweet grains.
Another of the older Mexican brands, this Mexican Pale Lager was first brewed in 1905.
Pacifico Beer - 4.5% ABV
Mexico’s Pacifico beer was first brewed in 1900 by three German expats who opened a brewery in Mazatlan. Mazatlan is a port city on the Pacific Ocean, hence the name. It is similar to Corona but even more crisp, floral, and refreshing.
And like Corona, can be enjoyed with a lime. Slightly watery in texture but it packs a robust malt presence.
This is very drinkable beer. If you are at an outdoor party and you are starting to sweat, you want a cold Pacifico beer in your hand.
Modelo Nega - 5.4% ABV
Also known as “The Cream Of The Beer”, this original Model is a Munich Dunkel style dark lager and a has a balanced flavor and an aroma of dark malt, caramel and hops. It has a rich and smooth taste.
It pairs wonderfully with a heavier Mexican meal. Negra Modelo was first introduced in 1925, it is now one of the top selling dark beers from Mexico.
Victoria - 4.0% ABV
This Victoria cerveza frequently shows up as a winner among Mexican beer drinkers. It is medium-bodied, malty and slightly toasty with a clean finish. It is bright, dry and refreshing with no grain notes to weigh it down.
This beer is popular with Mexicans and Mexican ex-pats in the U.S.A. as it reminds them of home.
The Various Styles of Mexican Beer
Most of the popular Mexican beers that are sold currently fall into the following categories, and they are usually meant to be served cold.
- Mexican Lager
- Vienna-style light beer
- Vienna-style dark beer
- Munich-style dark beers
In addition to their favorite beer, many locals prefer their beer in cocktail form, also known as a Michelada. This tasty concoction is a beer that is mixed with lime juice and a variety of spicy sauces like Worcester, Tabasco, soy sauce, Clamato, or other similar ingredients.
Mexican Microbrews From "South Of The Border"
Independent micro-breweries are not all that common in Mexico, especially when you compare it to the thousands of micro-brewaries throughout America and Europe.
However, they are growing in numbers and the following Indies are gaining popularity throughout the Mexican beer industry:
- Cerveceria Santa Fe Beer Factory (Mexico City)
- Cerveceria San Angel (Mexico City)
- Pepe and Joe’s (Mazatlan)
- Baja Brewing (Los Cabos)
- Beer Lounge (Guadalajara)
- Cerveza Minerva (Jalisco)
- AquaMala (Ensenada)
- Cerveza Urbana (Mexicali)
- Cerveza Rrëy (Monterrey)
- Cervecería de Colima (Chihuahua)
- Cervecería Insurgente (Tijuana)
Where To Find These Mexican Beer Brands Without Going To Mexico
If you are in Mexico, you shouldn’t have any problem coming across these Mexican beer brands. But if you are not fortunate enough to travel to Mexico, you are still able to get your hands on most these Mexican beers.
If you are having trouble finding these some of these specialty Mexican beers at your favorite hangout or your local liquor store. You can find many of these beers online from Drizly.com, and have them delivered to you or shipped to your front door if they are not available locally.
For a wider selection of craft beers from all over the U.S. and around the world, you should take a look at one of the 5 beer club subscriptions. These clubs are great for trying new styles of craft beer, including many great Mexican beers without leaving your house.
Final Say On The Best Mexican beer
Not only are there are many great beers being brewed all over the U.S., there are also many great beers being brewed in Mexico too. In fact, there are way too many international beers on the market for you to keep drinking the same beer day after day.
These great Mexican beers don’t just have to be enjoyed at your favorite Mexican restaurant, they are perfect for your next bbq, family gathering, or your own Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Go ahead and try something different next time you go to the liquor store or local pub , and try one or more of these Mexican beers and see what your favorite Mexican cerveza is.