When you think of Mexican beers, you probably think immediately of Corona. For years this has been the most common Mexican beer available in the United States. Whether you like the flavor, feel like it needs a lime squeezed down the barrel of the slender bottleneck, or you'd rather drink just about any other Mexican beer out there, you can't deny the marketing is fantastic and the beer has impacted imported beer popularity. However, there's so much more to the world of Mexican beers than what you find in a clear glass of Corona.
If you're interested in a Mexican beer that has more flavor or offers you a fresh take on other beer styles you enjoy, there's plenty to discover in Mexican beer. The Mexican beer industry is where the U.S. beer industry lingered during the 1980s. At that time, only a handful of microbreweries existed, with locations like Sam Adams and Anchor serving beer and introducing the United States to new beer styles. Mexican beer is doing the same now, and it's worth checking out because this is a sector in the beer market that is quickly developing and will more than likely develop rapidly in the coming years.
Mexican Beer | Salud!
Mexican beer has a rather interesting history. While the country had some variations of beer due to the influx of Europeans in the 1700s (mostly from Spain), it wasn't until the 1860s when the Second Mexican Empire was founded that the development of beer was further influenced. At this time, Europe wanted to keep a closer eye on the United States, which was growing in power, so it created its own government in Mexico and installed Emperor Maximillian.
Maximillian brought to Mexico his own brewer from Germany, which helped kick the brewing industry into high gear. The Second Mexican Empire only lasted a few years before being toppled, but it made a lasting impact on Mexican beer.
Eventually, more and more immigrants from Europe flooded Mexico and brought with them their brewing insights. That is why most traditional Mexican beers are of the German lager and Czech pilsner variety. Corona and Modelo (both owned by the same company of Grupo Modelo) popped up in 1925. However, the more traditional beers have been around since before the turn of the 20th century. That is why most of the beers on this list pre-date Corona and are much more flavorful.
Mexican Beer | Salud!
If you are a beer drinker and have been sifting through microbrews or imports from Belgium and Germany you likely look down on Mexican beers. The light beer in the crystal clear glass bottles may not do much for you in terms of taste, outside sipping a beverage on a hot day. There are excellent Mexican beers out there. The problem is that many of the more popular beers are the somewhat less desirable beers from the country.
In fact, there are several new microbreweries popping up in Mexico, but these locations are not exporting to the United States. So if you're drinking beer in the U.S. you're forced to choose from the beers that are available. If you're ever around the border, stop by a Mexican brewery or just go into a convenience store and pick up some beers you've never had before. You'll be surprised as to the quality.
The border town of Tijuana is the unofficial leader in Mexican beer, thanks to its proximity to Southern California and the influence of California breweries. In order to select the top Mexican beers though, it's necessary to go over the beers you can purchase in the United States. This way, you'll know what to look for and what to sample, whether you're stopping off for some Mexican food or you just want to try something different from the normal Mexican beer.
What Are The Top 9 Mexican Beers?
When you're ready to try out different Mexican beers, here are nine of the top Mexican beers. You can find eight of them in the United States, and it is worth bringing up the ninth, as you can potentially find it in some border towns. It will likely show up in greater import numbers over the coming years, and it will show you what is available beyond the traditional imports.
This is a dark bottle that comes with a tin foil top. No, it has nothing to do with Modelo. In fact, when it comes to flavorful Mexican beers your best bet is to always go with a dark glass bottle. Light and beer do not mix, so while a crystal clear bottle shows off the beer color, it doesn't do the flavor any favors, and in most cases is detrimental to it.
Bohemia is named after the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. It's a darker lager, but don't worry if you're not a big fan of darker beers. It doesn't have the traditional dark beer flavor of the heartier dark lagers you're used to. One sip of this beer and you'll be completely blown away by what Mexican beers can offer you.
Here's a Mexican beer you've likely heard of. It doesn't receive the same attention as Corona, yet it's been around for longer. The "XX" on the logo is named for the turn of the 20th century, as the "XX" means twenty in Roman Numerals.
Dos Equis Amber
While talking about Dos Equis we might as well look at Dos Equis Amber. The Amber beer, when you taste it, may have a hint of plum to it. For an outsider, this hint of plum may seem a bit unusual, but for anyone who has spent time in Mexico, they will find this to be right at home. There are several glass liners you can use to add flavor to drinks in Mexico (similar to the salt-rimmed margarita using lime juice). Plum is a popular flavor to add. As you drink more Mexican beer, especially historical Mexican beer, you'll begin to notice patterns and similarities you didn't realize existed.
This is one of the older beers in Mexico, as it first popped up around 1890, 35 years before Corona. It comes with a paper label on a brown bottle which is both simple and yet tells you everything you need to know about the beer. This beer is less expensive than many of the other beers on the list, yet it offers a far superior taste to the Modelo Especial and Corona options.
This is the beer you might be able to find in border towns around the United States. So if you're in San Diego, Tucson, El Paso, or find yourself in Mexico during the winter months, grab a Noche Buena. This is a holiday beer from the team at Bohemia (which is why there's a great chance of this beer making it to the United States with Bohemia slowly exporting more and more beers).
The beer has a poinsettia on the label. It calls itself a dark bock beer although when compared to German bocks it is far lighter. In fact, if you're tired of the darker, heavier holiday beers in the United States and imported from Europe, this is a fine option to grab.
This is probably the easiest of all the beers on this list (outside of Dos Equis) to pick up. It's worth mentioning because it shows you don't need to only get a lighter Mexican beer at local restaurants. Modelo Negra (or Negra Modelo, depending on the bottle you pick up as the company switched its word order just a few years ago) is a Vienna lager and a great option when you want more flavor.
This is a bottle with a green label and an Indian warrior on the front. It's a fantastic beer that is almost a cross between a Dos Equis Amber and a Modelo Negra. It isn't as widely available but you can still find it in the United States.
If you want an old beer, this is the one to go with. It dates all the way back to 1865. One thing you'll notice about Mexican beers is the painted-on labeling. If you're a fan of beer bottles with hand-painted labels, this is worth checking out.
Pacifico is similar to what you'll find in a Corona, so if you enjoy that lighter taste, consider checking this beer out. However, Pacifico gets the flavor nod because it uses a dark bottle, which helps prevent skunking (you can also grab the popular Tecate as well).
Mexican beer is so much more than Corona. If the only exposure to Mexican beer you've had is in the form of Corona or Modelo Especial, you're missing out. There are so many other fantastic beers to choose from, and you need somewhere to start. Each of these beers gives you an insight into Mexico's historical beer brewing past. So if you're ready to go on a Mexican beer drinking adventure, these are nine of the top Mexican beers readily available for you to sample. Of course, if you ever visit Mexico, look out for local beers available in different parts of the country.