Mexican beer is much more than just the internationally popular brands of Corona and Tecate. The country’s beer culture is diverse, spanning from crisp lagers and bitter ales to rich stouts and IPAs (India Pale Ale). The past decade has seen a significant resurgence in Mexico’s craft beer scene, often referred to as ‘cerveza artesanal,’ which offers an exciting variety of choices for beer lovers.
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Are you thinking: Which beer is most popular in Mexico?
If yes, without further delay, let’s explore the 18 best beers in Mexico you must try in 2023:
1) Corona Extra
Since its inception in 1925, Corona Extra has been a favorite beachside drink, often associated with relaxation and enjoyment. This is one of the top mexican beers as it is a pale lager, a style characterized by its pale straw color and light, refreshing taste. The grainy malt flavor suggests the use of barley malt, which gives beer its fundamental taste, while the sweet corn note is often due to the use of corn adjuncts. Corona Extra’s low hop bitterness places emphasis on its malt character, creating a well-rounded flavor. Serving Corona Extra with a lime is a common practice; the citrus adds a zest that complements the beer’s lightness.
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2) Negra Modelo
Known as a Munich-style Dunkel, Negra Modelo is a dark lager that draws its roots from Bavaria, Germany. The dark amber color is a result of using toasted malts, which also contribute to the beer’s rich, malty flavor. The notes of sweet caramel and dark fruits come from the malt, while the mild hop aroma provides a contrast to the beer’s sweetness. This beer offers a balanced taste where the sweetness of the malt is offset by a slight bitterness, creating a smooth drinking experience.
3) Modelo Especial
Modelo Especial, one of the flagship products of Grupo Modelo, is a pilsner-style lager, hailing from Mexico but enjoyed worldwide. The pilsner-style classification implies that this beer belongs to a category that originated in the Czech city of Plzeň in the 19th century. Pilsners are known for their golden color, high clarity, and refreshing, balanced taste, making them highly popular among beer lovers.
This beer style is one of the best Mexican beers to drink as it is known for its balance and light, refreshing taste. The beer’s golden color is indicative of the types of malt used, and the orange blossom honey aroma could be the result of specific yeast strains or honey adjuncts during brewing. The herb note often comes from the hops used, contributing to the beer’s overall complexity.
4) Pacifico Clara
Pacifico Clara, also known as Cerveza Pacifico, is a popular Mexican lager known for its light, refreshing taste and smooth finish. Originating from the Pacific coastal city of Mazatlán in the Mexican state of Sinaloa in the early 1900s, Pacifico Clara has become a staple beer not only in Mexico but globally.
The beer’s light golden color, similar to many lagers, is achieved through the use of lightly kilned malted barley. Kilning is the process by which malted barley is dried and toasted in a kiln. This process determines the malt’s color and flavor contribution to the beer. Light kilning results in a malt that gives a pale or light golden color to the beer, as well as a delicate, grain-like flavor. This lighter malt allows for the creation of a beer that is visually appealing and not overly heavy on the palate.
Tecate, named after the city of Tecate in Baja California, Mexico, where it was first produced, is a renowned Mexican beer, particularly known for its balanced and easy-to-drink character. It’s a golden lager, a term referring to both its color and style of brewing. The ‘golden’ descriptor comes from the beer’s light gold color, achieved through the use of lightly kilned malted grains. The term ‘lager’ refers to a brewing style where yeast ferments at cooler temperatures and then the beer is stored (or ‘lagered’) at low temperatures for several weeks, resulting in a clear, crisp, and clean-tasting beer.
The balance of malt and hops in Tecate is key to its taste and popularity. Malt, derived from barley grains, contributes sweetness to the beer, as well as to the body and alcohol content. Different malting processes can also introduce a wide range of flavors, from biscuity and bread-like to caramel and toasty. In Tecate, the malt character is evident but not overpowering, providing just the right amount of body and sweetness.
6) Dos Equis Ambar
An amber Vienna-style lager, Dos Equis Ambar provides a rich amber color due to the use of roasted malt. The full-bodied taste comes from the malts that provide a broad palette of flavors, including sweet, nutty, and a hint of fruitiness. The low hop bitterness ensures that the malt flavors remain the highlight.
7) Cerveza Indio
Cerveza Indio, produced by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, is a well-regarded dark lager hailing from Mexico. The lager’s rich, copper color and nuanced flavor profile set it apart from the country’s more typical light, golden lagers, offering a unique tasting experience for beer enthusiasts.
The copper color of Cerveza Indio is achieved by the use of toasted malt in its brewing process. Malt, which is barley that has been soaked, sprouted, and then dried, is a key ingredient in beer and is responsible for providing both color and flavor. The process of toasting the malt can vary in duration and intensity, and this variance directly impacts the color and flavor profile of the beer. In the case of Cerveza Indio, the malt is toasted to a point where it takes on a rich, copper hue.
8) Bohemia Clásica
Bohemia Clásica, produced by the well-known Mexican brewery Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, is a classic German-style pilsner that has earned recognition and appreciation from beer enthusiasts worldwide. This beer embodies the key characteristics of a traditional pilsner while incorporating its unique elements.
The pilsner style originated in the city of Plzen in the Czech Republic, and German pilsners, like Bohemia Clásica, continue this tradition, known for their bright golden color, crisp taste, and refined balance of bitterness and maltiness. The bright golden color of Bohemia Clásica is a result of the types of malt used in its brewing process, typically lighter kilned malt, which lends the beer its inviting hue and subtle grainy sweetness.
Bohemia Clásica’s crisp taste is largely due to its balanced bitterness. This balance is achieved by carefully managing the ratio of hops to malt in the brewing process. Hops, the flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant, add bitterness to beer, which helps balance the sweetness of the malt and adds complexity to the flavor profile. The German-style pilsner is known for a more pronounced hop character compared to its Czech counterpart, and Bohemia Clásica exhibits this characteristic beautifully with its well-balanced bitterness.
9) Minerva Stout
Minerva Stout is a rich and flavorful offering from Cervecería Minerva, one of Mexico’s premier craft breweries. Embodying the hallmarks of a classic stout, this beer is known for its deep, dark color, and a complex array of flavors ranging from roasted malt to coffee and chocolate, with a hint of vanilla.
The dark color of a stout, including Minerva Stout, is a result of using darker, heavily roasted malt during the brewing process. Malt, which is sprouted and then dried barley, provides the sugar needed for fermentation. Depending on the degree of roasting, malt can contribute a range of colors to the finished beer, from the pale hues of lagers to the deep, almost black tones found in stouts. The choice of malt also significantly affects the flavor of the beer.
10) Insurgente La Lupulosa
This IPA from Tijuana’s Insurgente brewery is characterized by a strong hop flavor and aroma, making it a treat for hop lovers. The citrusy aroma and grapefruit and pine notes are typical characteristics of many hop varieties used in IPA brewing.
11) Tempus Reserva Especial
This is a double malt, English-style beer with a deep amber color and a dense, creamy foam. The flavors of caramel and toffee are typical of certain types of malt, providing a rich and fulfilling experience for ale lovers.
12) Calavera Mexican Imperial Stout
This craft beer, an Imperial Stout, is known for its potent mix of chocolate, caramel, and coffee flavors, a common profile in high-alcohol, malt-forward beers like stouts. The strong roasted malt character gives this beer its backbone, making it a complex and full-bodied brew.
13) Cucapá Honey
This amber ale has a unique flavor profile combining malt and honey, resulting in a sweet yet balanced beer. The light body makes it easy to drink, and the hint of bitterness provides a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness, resulting in a well-rounded brew.
14) Ramuri Lágrimas Negras
This creamy stout delivers strong notes of coffee and bitter chocolate, typical characteristics of the stout style. Its full body, dark color, and intense flavors are a result of the high percentage of roasted malt used in the brewing process.
15) Day of the Dead Beer Hefeweizen
This is a traditional unfiltered German-style wheat beer known for its cloudy appearance and rich, foamy head. The flavors of banana and clove are typical characteristics of the yeast used in brewing Hefeweizen, a unique feature of this beer style.
16) Tijuana Morena
A brown ale known for its nutty flavor, Tijuana Morena is a well-balanced beer with a rich malty sweetness. Its medium body and subtle hint of bitterness, complemented by notes of toffee and toasted grains, make this beer a favorite among those who enjoy complex flavors.
What is the strongest beer in Mexico?
There is no direct answer to mention the strongest beer as this is something that depends on your taste. But based on the recommendations of this blog, you can explore these top selections and choose your favourite one!
From traditional lagers to innovative craft beers, Mexican brewers are providing a wealth of options for beer enthusiasts. Whether you prefer the smooth, light finish of a pilsner or the rich complexity of a stout, there’s a Mexican beer out there for you. As 2023 unfolds, make sure to sample these fantastic offerings from our southern neighbor – your taste buds will thank you!
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