When we think of alcoholic Mexican drinks, we often think of Tequila or Margaritas. However, Mexico has some of the best beers in the world. In fact, one of the county’s biggest exports is beer.
Although Mexican beers are made with corn or agave, a lot of beers sold in Mexico are actually lagers and Vienna-style beers. They’re usually light in color, and refreshingly zesty – making them the perfect accompaniment for a warm day at the beach, or a family barbecue!
Mexico’s beer industry is currently thriving, so here’s what we think are ten of the best Mexican beers you can find on the market today!
Sol is one of the more well-known Mexican beers. It’s a smooth, refreshing beer which comes from one of Mexico’s oldest breweries, and was first brewed in 1899.
“Sol” is Spanish, and translates to “sun”, making it the perfect drink for a sunny day. It’s not very bitter, and it has a subtle corn flavour which makes it a perfect pairing for your favourite Mexican dishes.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you should also try Sol Chelada. With this drink, Sol takes their iconic beer, and pre-mixes it with tomato, lime and spices – so you can try the Mexican way of drinking beer without the hassle. Sol also sells Sol Chelada Limón y Sal – the same great beer just pre-mixed with salt and lime!
This is a pretty European-inspired beer, and was first brewed by some German immigrants. If you’re a fan of a slightly bitter beer then Bohemia is definitely for you. The slightly fruity flavour is balanced out with hints of bitter cocoa. There’s also a subtle vanilla taste for a little bit of sweetness.
This is another one of the older Mexican brands, and was first brewed in 1905.
Drinking Pacifico feels like a sunny afternoon on a warm beach. Another German expat beer, Pacifico gets its name from Cerveceria del Pacifico – where it was first brewed in 1900.
It’s sweet, but not too sweet, making it a refreshing choice which also pairs well with a bit of lime. It’s slightly watery in texture, but don’t let that put you off! Pacifico boasts a strong malt presence.
This is one of the oldest beer brands, and was first brewed back in 1865. When it comes to the best Mexican beers, this is definitely one of the best.
It’s flavor and aroma is pretty reminiscent of Austrian pilsner-style drinks. Made from yeast, corn and black malt, Victoria has a beautiful golden amber color. It has a slightly toasty taste, but is medium-bodied for a clean finish.
A bright and refreshing drink that’s popular amongst Mexicans and Mexican expats as it reminds them of home.
This beer was first brewed in 1944, and is named after the in Baja, Mexico on the California border. It’s association with Mexican sports teams and events makes this a pretty popular drink south of the border.
This is a bright, golden lager which has a crisp taste thanks to the malt. It’s pretty low on the bitterness scale, and has a clean finish. Tecate Original pairs well with a bit of salt and lime.
If you’re after something a little lighter, try Tecate Light – it has a lower alcohol content of 3.9%, and has fewer calories.
Dos Equis Lager
From the same brewer as Sol, Dos Equis is the invention of German expat Wilhem Hasse and is just how you’d imagine a German beer would taste.
You’ve got two options when it comes to Don Equis; Ambar (amber) and Clara (green). The Ambar Especial is a classic vienna-style lager which is slightly hoppy, but goes down surprisingly smooth. Unlike most beers on this list, Dos Equis is pretty rich, and full-bodied.
The Clara, or Lager Especial is a golden pilsner-style beer, made using spring water and hops. It’s full of flavor thanks to the perfect blend of malts and spices, but is light-tasting and finishes off smooth.
Dos Equis is one of the fastest growing beers in the United States.
First brewed in 1925, Modelo Especial is the second most famous Mexican beer in the United States.
This golden lager is a rich Pilsner-style drink. Despite the richness, it’s also crisp and refreshing, thanks to the orange blossom honey. The citrus in this drink can be taken to another level with a bit of lemon, and is the perfect accompaniment for a sunny afternoon.
Also named “The Cream Of The Beer”, the original Modelo is a dark lager made from dark malt, caramel and hops. The Munich Dunkel style beverage has a rich and smooth taste, and pairs perfectly with heavier meals.
First introduced in 1925, Modelo Nega is one of Mexico’s top selling dark beers.
One of lower alcohol level drinks on this list, Indio is a Vienna-style lager. As it uses caramel malt, there’s a sweetness which gives the drink a surprisingly light finish. The sweetness is also balanced out by the bitterness of the malt, which is just the right balance between sweet and bitter.
This copper lager has only been available in the United States for a short amount of time, but it’s quickly becoming popular.
Corona is probably the first Mexican beer that comes to mind, and rightly so as it’s by far the most popular Mexican beer and can be purchased pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s the most popular beer in beach states California and Florida, and surprisingly Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Georgia and North Dakota.
Lighter than most traditional beers, Corona is crisp and full of flavor. The fruity-honey taste is balanced with a touch of malt. Like Modelo Especial, Corona is best served with a slice of lime (or lemon)!
Styles of Mexican Beer
Due to its long history and rich culture, Mexican beers are famous all over the world, and they’re one of Mexico’s largest exports. Most popular Mexican beers sold today fall into the following categories:
- Munich-style dark beer
- Vienna-style dark beer
- Vienna-style light beer
How to Drink Mexican Beer
Usually, beers in Mexico are served with lime juice. As a lot of Mexican beers have slight citrusy notes, a squeeze of lime really enhances that flavor. As well as lime juice, a lot of beers come served with fresh lemon and lime wedges, but there are also some creative ways they serve beer…
Chelada takes adding lime juice to the next level. What you’ll need is a light lager, juice from a large lime, a lime wedge and some coarse salt (or Tajin).
Firstly, you’ll want to rub lime juice on the rim of a large, tall glass and then salt the rim – or use Tajin. Afterwards, add some ice and pour the lime juice over before topping up the glass with beer.
Finally garnish with a wedge lime and you’re good to go!
Michelada is a popular beer mixed drink, based on the classic chelada. Even though it’s a step up, it’s still a relatively simple recipe which requires very little effort.
You’ll need a bottle of Mexican beer, lime juice, a slice of lime, ground black pepper, and 3 dashes of hot, soy and Worcestershire sauce.
Firstly, grab a chilled glass and fill it halfway with ice. Add the lime juice, sauces and a pinch of pepper. Stir until mixed and finish off with the beer and a lime wedge for garnish. You can also rim the glass with salt and cayenne pepper for an extra bit of kick. It’s also pretty common to add a splash of tomato juice to give it that red beer feel.
No matter how you drink it, always serve Mexican beer cold!
History of Mexican Beer
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of beers on this list were first brewed by German or Austrian expats. That’s because European migrants quickly introduced beer brewing to Mexico around the mid 19th Century. Mexico was under the rule of Austro-German Rule Maximilian for four years, and he loved beer so much he opened his own brewery.
Around the late 1890s, German immigrants grew homesick for Bavarian and Austrian-style beer, so began brewing their own. Around 1900, the Mexican beer industry had grown significantly and there were 36 different breweries across the country.
Following the introduction of prohibition in the U.S. in 1920, Mexican breweries thrived off of Americans who would frequently cross the border to drink. During the prohibition, the smaller breweries were absorbed by two main companies: Grupo Modelo and Cerveceria Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma.
By the end of the 20th century, these two breweries controlled over 90% of Mexico’s beer market. Grupo Modelo most notably makes Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo and Pacifico, whereas Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma is most known for Sol and Tecate.
In the last decade, Mexican beers have accounted for 67% of imported beer sales in the United States, and five of the top ten imported beers come from Mexico.
Microbreweries in Mexico
Microbreweries are still a relatively new trend in Mexico’s beer-brewing industry. However, you can find a fair few microbreweries in the northern part of the country, as more and more companies are stepping into the world of craft beer.
Here are some of the most popular Mexican microbreweries and where they’re based:
- Cerveceria San Angel, Mexico City
- Cerveceria Santa Fe Beer Factory, Mexico City
- Cru Cru Brewery, Mexico City
- Baja Brewing, Los Cabos
- Cerveza Minerva, Jalisco,
- Cerveza Urbana, Mexicali
- Cerveza Rrëy, Monterrey
- Cervecería de Colima, Chihuahua
- Cervecería Insurgente, Tijuana
- Pepe and Joe’s, Mazatlan
- Beer Lounge, Guadalajara
- AquaMala, Ensenada
- La Fortuna Cervecería, Jalisco
How to Find Mexican Beers in the United States
If you live in Mexico, you should have no problem getting hold of any of these beers, but if you’re stateside it can be a little tricky. As two very popular beers, you shouldn’t have any trouble trying to find Sol or Corona in your local shop.
Firstly check out your local liquor store, they usually have a pretty wide choice of products. Another suggestion is to check out some bars and restaurants – a Mexican restaurant will most likely have a wide selection of Mexican beers on offer.
If you can’t seem to find them in these stores, try Amazon. As one of the biggest online markets in the world, most of the beers noted on this list can be bought through the site.
Alternatively, if you want to expand your craft beer tasting even further, you could sign up to a beer club subscription. Once a month you’ll be sent a package with around five craft beers to try from all over the world!
Just to Finish…
There might be some excellent beers brewed all over the United States, but Mexican beers are definitely a popular choice of drink for a lot of Americans. What’s great about Mexican beers is that they’re perfectly refreshing, which is just what you need for a long day out in the sun.
So, if you’re planning a family barbecue, hitting the beach during the warm weather, or you’re just looking to party, pick up some Mexican beers.
Why not try all ten, and decide for yourself which of these Mexican beers is your favourite!