Ready for a Mexican Beer? I’ve rounded up a list of the best Mexican Beers that encompass many of the dark and light varieties found today all over Mexico.
The majority of Latin American countries don’t have outstanding beer but Mexico is the exception. With lots of choices including darker and light beers you won’t have any trouble finding something you like.
Mexico’s love affair with beer goes back thousands of years and the early inhabitants of Mexico would ferment agave cactus and corn to make an early version of Mexican beer.
The majority of the credit, though, goes to the European immigrants, German and Austrian who arrived to Mexico and established companies in the 1800s. And thank goodness they did!
Mexico even has a growing microbrewery and mexican craft beer scene, although you may have to go to the larger cities to find these or order them in specialty restaurants!
There are two main companies that produce the majority of the beer in Mexico: Grupo Modelo and Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma Brewery. They have a consistent high standard and even the so-so ones are a lot better than many beers in the United States. I’ve always been impressed with the quality and variety of Mexican beer brands.
So without further adieu, here is my list of the best and sometimes not so best Mexican beer brands.
1. “Obscura” or Dark Mexican Beers
Noche Buena—Available only at Christmas time every year, this copper colored dark beer is higher in alcohol. It’s full of strong robust malt flavours and not a very strong hops taste.
Bohemia Obscura—This is another dark beer with a bit more alcohol at 5.3%. I personally love this beer for its nutty and deep flavors. It was originally developed by German immigrants and is full of flavor and depth. Bohemia is a bit higher priced but only by a few pesos and is definitely worth the money, if only for the flavor rush.
Negra Modelo—This is another higher alcohol content Mexican beer at 5.3%. You can find Negra Modelo being served at Mexican restaurants and is a pretty popular version on the mexican beers list. This beer is smoky, dark with a hint of sweetness and goes well with all types of Mexican food. If you head down to Mexico to an all-inclusive resort this is probably the beer you’re going to get when you order your first cold one sitting by the pool.
2. Amber Mexican Beers
The Mexican beer list below features beer brands with darker ambers. Most have a lower alcohol content (around 4.5%).
Indio – The flavor of this beer has gotten better and better over the years and isn’t a bland beer. This beer is marketed very aggressively with it being the sponsor of corporate events, concerts etc. This is an easy beer to find and tastes better on tap than purchasing in cans. It used to be very cheap but price has risen and now is competitive with Tecate and Pacifico prices.
Victoria – this is almost a “light” beer with only 4% alcohol, this is a flavorful and popular choice for many people who want to keep a clear head but still have a few beers.
Leon—At first glance this beer looks much deeper and malty, however, it’s not really the case. It’s very similar to Negro Modelo but is often the cheapest in cans in the market.
Dos XX Ambar—This is a more intense flavor and is more of a “lager”. This beer is distributed widely because it has a more intense flavor and works well with heavier Mexican food. It also has a little bit higher alcohol rate.
3. Lighter Mexican Beers with Less Alcohol content
Corona—This is the most popular and top selling Mexican beer all over the world but it doesn’t seem to have the same flavor in Canada as it does in Mexico. Transit time and the fact that the beer is in see through bottles may be the reason in the slight difference in taste This is a lighter beer, one usually served with lime that is better off drinking while sitting on a beach eating beach food.
Montejo—An inoffensive light beer named after the conquering of the Yucatan and the bloody battle it entailed. The sister beer to this brand is called Superior which is almost the same flavor.
Modelo – this beer is in the same family as Negra Modelo but is supposed to be the “premium” brand with a little fancier packaging. It is not quite like the Corona with a little more flavor and body and is a bit heavier on the palate.
Dos XX Lager— not my favorite by far, has a slightly sweet flavor but and is light in a green bottle. May appeal to some and is available in cans.
Bohemia Lager—this is a quality lager. It has far more complexity than the other light colored beers and a bit more alcohol content as well. It has a wheat version as well which may be of interest.
Carta Blanca – a basic inoffensive beer that used to be much more popular. It seems to be dwindling so is cheaper than other beers but at 4% alcohol its not winning any sales wars.
Sol – you’ll see signs for Sol beer everywhere in Mexico, on billboards, restaurants and menus. Sol is not a standout beer but is still highly marketed in Mexico. Similar to Corona with a little more flavor, Sol is a simple light beeer.
.Pacifico—with a little more weight than the very light beers like Corona, Pacifico is very popular in the western coast of Mexico, having originated in Mazatlan in the early part of the century. It has a slight bit of bitterness but overall is one of my favorite beers. It’s still brewerd in Mazatlan and is very popular there.
Tecate—this is the kind of beer you’ll buy in bulk for a day at the beach but is nothing amazing although not inoffensive. If you enjoy vacationing in modest or budget all-inclusive resorts, the chances are you will be served this beer. The higher alcohol content (depending on what you think is high alcohol) is called Tecate Titanium and clocks in at 5%. It basically tastes exactly like regular Tecate with a little more “buzz”.
Corona Especial—This is a cheap beer that only shares the name of Corona in common. Not high quality and suitable for getting a buzz on fast and that’s about it. I personally do not like it but obviously there is a market for it.
4. Light Mexican Beers
Mexico doesn’t do light beers very well. The main examples of these are Tecate Light, Modelo Light and Corona Light. They are all under 4% alcohol except Modelo Light. They are also all watered down versions of the originals and pretty horrible in my opinion. Honestly if you decide to have a beer, give the light beers a “hard pass”. Just sayin’.
5. Mexico Craft Beers
Just like the rest of the world, Mexico is exploring craft beers and making a lot of progress.
One of the largest and most popular player of Mexican craft ale is Tempus, based out of Queretaro. Try the Tempus Dorada with flavors of honey or the dark Tempus Doble Malta. If you’re new to Mexican craft ale or don’t know where to start, this is probably the best brand to start with.
Based out of Jalisco, next on the Mexican beer list is Cerveza Minerva. This brewery now has about 30% of the market for craft beer. They started with two beers and have now reached up to 7 including Citra IPA and ITA.
ITA is aged in barrels formerly used to age tequila. The good news is these unique Mexican beers are now imported so you may be able to find them in your part of the US or Canada.
So there you have it! The Mexican beer list. And if you want to be a bit more creative with your Mexican beers, you can make a michelada drink and add your Mexican beers to some tomato juice, lime, worcestershire sauce and tabasco. Or maybe you want to try making your own version of Mexican craft beer. Whatever you drink, or however you drink it, Mexican beer won’t disappoint!
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