The Best Mexican Beers (Tasting Notes, ABV, and Where To Find Them!)

Our neighbors to the south are well known and respected for the spicy dishes they create, but they also deserve the same acclaim for the beer. What are the best Mexican beers?

Mexico has a long history of brewing beer. Evidence shows that early Mesoamerican cultures brewed a fermented drink made of corn and agave. Fast forward to today and with the help of both Spanish and German influence, Mexico has become one of the biggest beer producers in the world with Sol, Tecate, and Pacifico being among the best.

Read on to find a list of the best Mexican beers, including tasting notes to go along with the beer’s ABV of the top Mexican beers available for you to choose. 

What is Mexican Beer?

Mexico has a long history of brewing dating back centuries ago and over the years, being influenced by Spanish and German immigrants who improved brewing practices and taste. Now, Mexican beers are some of the more popular beers served around the world.  

For what it’s worth, to be known for having a sense of style is quite nice. But where it becomes unfair is if that is all that is thought for it to be. This is evident when regarding the rapport of Mexican beer.

When you think of a Mexican beer, your first thought is probably a lime wedge and a palm tree or being enjoyed by the “most interesting man,” no thought regarding the taste or that they are one of the top beer-producing countries globally. When you think of a Mexican beer, it’s not a style it’s the real thing. 

Brewing has always been a big part of Mexican culture. Long before the Spanish Conquest, where the European style of brewing (adding hops) was introduced, early Mesoamerican culture made fermented drinks from corn and agave.

When Germans immigrants came to Mexico in the late 1800s, they brought with them an expanded knowledge and experience that brought a style (pilsners and pale ales) that improved the selection and increased production of Mexican beer. The vast majority of beers found in Mexico are pilsners, lagers, and Vienna-style light and dark beers.

Brewing is one of the most prevalent industries in the country that and up until recently was controlled by two prominent brewers, Grupo Modelo and Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma Brewery. These two conglomerates had total control of production and distribution making it impossible for any other brewers to succeed.

Microbreweries are making an impact by bringing an artisanal beer selection that is representative of a particular region. With over 600 microbreweries in operation, the two big brewers have noticed and incorporate their artisanal beer style. 

Why is Mexican beer so good?

Mexico is one of the more successful countries when it comes to brewing beer. Mexican beers are very popular in Mexico and around the globe, with some countries having a Mexican beer (Corona) as its highest-selling non-domestic beer.

When it comes to Central and South American beers, they are not known to have the tastiest of beers. A few names may dominate a market in a region, but most other beers are just bad.

Mexican beers will typically have a lighter body and a very mild taste. This is not the case for Mexican beer, where most of its beers are pretty good and thoroughly enjoyed worldwide and honestly very easy to drink. Mexican beer is not over-hopped, using a recipe that includes corn, barley, and plants, all part of the reason why it packs such a light and refreshing taste—making it a great option when figuring out what to bring to the party. 

Mexican beer perfectly complements another big part of Mexican culture: the food. Mexican beers pair well with a spicy Mexican dish without adding any more complex flavors. Plus, being low in ABV makes it perfect for enjoying on a hot and humid day without feeling the effects found in beers with a higher ABV.

What is the most popular Mexican beer?

Corona is the most popular non-domestic beer in the US, UK, and Australia.

Corona is the most popular Mexican beer, ranking in the top five in the world. It consistently ranks as the biggest non-domestic beer in the US, UK, and Australian markets.

Dos Equis, Pacifico, and Modelo are also trendy options. Microbreweries are making more of an impact due to their region representation and are mostly available in Mexico.

What beer do Mexicans actually drink?

If marketing were to give you the answer, Mexican locals prefer drinking Sol beer, which is evident by Sol’s heavy marketing when traveling throughout the country. 

One thing that is for sure, as popular as Corona is outside Mexico, it is not a preference for Mexican locals. Mexican locals tend to prefer Sol or Tecate or lesser-known names like Leon and Montejo Bohemia. Pacifico is the top choice for locals located in the north-eastern part of Mexico.

Micro beers like Minerva Stout Imperial (Jalisco) and Primus Tempus Dorada (Oaxaca de Juarez) are slowly climbing the ranks as favorites.

The increasing number of microbreweries is also allowing brewers to put a local taste to their beer.

What is the best Mexican beer to cook with?

Carta Blanca is the best beer to use when cooking, especially for chicken tacos and other protein dishes.

The best beer to cook with is one you can savor while you cook. Carta Blanca is a full-bodied lager that also pairs nicely with spicy Mexican dishes.

Carta Blanca is an excellent option to add to your chicken, especially when used in tacos, while Pacifico works well when cooking fish and other seafood. Modello Especial is great to use for dishes that require batter and use Negra Modello for a great addition to a braised steak. Tecate is also a great option to use for soups and stews. 

What is the smoothest Mexican beer?

Pacifico is the smoothest Mexican beer, and it is a light and crisp beer that has the right amount of sweetness that goes down smooth.

A few Mexican beers are considered smooth, but Pacifico lays claim to Mexico’s smoothest beer. Pacifico is a pilsner-style beer that is both light and crisp to the mouth. Also, evident is a touch of grass to go along with a bit of ocean mist, taking you back to the beach.

What is the best beer for micheladas?

Tecate is the best beer to use for micheladas. Tecate is the popular choice to be used as the main beer or base for micheladas in restaurants and bars in Mexico, 

When ordering a michelada in Mexico, you will find the bartender using a Tecate as the base for the drink. This is because Tecate has a crispy and light flavor that also brings a malty flavor, although very subtle to it, making it the perfect option for a starter for your michelada.

The best Mexican beers to try

With such a large selection of beers to choose from, it can be pretty daunting to find a beer that fits your style. We all know that it is always subjective when it comes to taste, but here is a list of the best Mexican beers to try.

The best Mexican beers are:

  • Cerveza Minerva Imperial Stout
  • Tempus Dorada
  • Modelo Especial
  • Victoria
  • Pacifico
  • Estrella Jalisco
  • Corona
  • Dos Equis Special Lager
  • Cerveza Sol
  • Tecate

Cerveza Minerva Imperial Stout

ABV: 6%
Rating: A

As microbreweries grow in popularity, you are sure to come across a craft beer that makes you leave your macro beer behind. Minerva is an artisanal beer that features a reddish hue to go along with a coffee and chocolate flavor and aroma leaving behind a slightly smoky taste.

Tempus Dorada

ABV: 4.3%
Rating: A

This is another up-and-coming craft beer. Tempus Dorada features a golden hue topped off with a white foam head. The sweet aroma of flowers and caramel hits your nose as you take a sip. Once in, the mouth feels a bit dry with very little carbonation, which brings a very mild taste with an even much softer aftertaste. 

Modelo Especial

ABV: 4.5%
Rating: A

The sister beer to Negra Modelo is a premium pilsner style lager wrapped in foil. Features a crystal clear orange hue with a white foamy head that dissipates quickly. The scent of corn mixed with faint hops and pale malt aromas and a light-bodied taste followed by an aftertaste that is not overpowering. 

Victoria

ABV: 4%
Rating: B

Medium amber color with a light body and low carbonation and has a hint of malt and a slight caramel smell. It packs a medium bitter taste with some hops coming through, giving you a tart taste that is not offensive and soft in your mouth.

Cerveza Pacifico

ABV: 4.5%
Rating: B

Pacifico is a little more hefty and bitter than Corona or Sol and is one of the better light lagers, especially in the western part of the country. It pours a golden yellow and forms a white and full head. It has an aroma of grain and salt along with corn and fresh malts. It presents a sweet taste, a blend of sweet malt mixed with corn chased from the back by some mild bitterness.

Estrella Jalisco

ABV: 4.5%
Rating: B

A premium light-bodied and crisp pilsner features a bright golden yellow hue with a neat white head. Accompanying it is a faint aroma of sweet grains along with a slight skunky smell. The taste for this one follows the nose with a moderate amount of carbonation present.

Corona Extra

ABV: 4.6%
Rating: B-

The “self-proclaimed” king, since the word Corona, means crown when translated. This is your typical day drinking beer, helping to make Corona one of the best-selling beers in the world. Corona is a medium and low body lager that pours a golden yellow and presents a short-lived head. The sweet aroma of corn and malts hits the nose, with the taste following the nose with a light fluid touch with an extremely clean finish. 

Dos Equis Special Lager

ABV: 4.2%
Rating: B-

The most interesting gentleman may not drink the most exciting beer. Dos Equis Special Lager is a pilsner lager that pours a light straw-colored hue. Its aroma is a bit bready with a touch of corn and sweet hay and has a refreshing and crisp beer with hardly a trace of bitterness. 

Sol Cerveza

ABV: 4.5%
Rating: C

First produced in 1899, Sol, formerly El Sol, is one of Mexico’s oldest brewed beers. Sol is a light-bodied pale lager that pours a light straw color (a little darker than Corona). Its aroma is mild, made up of cereal grains and a floral scent. With it comes a watery taste with a mix of corn and spice followed by some bitterness at the backend.

Tecate

ABV: 4.5%
Rating: C

Tecate is a pale lager that pours a medium gold body with a medium white head. The aroma is of faint corn, which presents a dry, musky corn taste up front, and over time, the aftertaste becomes more bitter.

Michelada

A michelada is an alcoholic beverage made famous in Mexico.

It is essentially a dressed-up beer made with a light beer (Tecate), tomato juice, lime juice, assorted sauces, and spices. A michelada is served best in a chilled, salted rimmed glass.

You just can’t use any beer to make a michelada because some beers don’t mix well with the additional ingredients. It is best to use a light and refreshing beer.

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