We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (2024)

A traditional Mexican lager is made from malted barley and flaked maize with major influence from Vienna-style brewing. The result is a crisp, clean beer with impeccable balance. It’s also refreshing as hell — the kind of brew you may want to reach for on a warm day in the sun, after a tough day in the office, or those times when you simply want to drink something unfussy and delicious while hanging out with your friends. And given the recent dramatic rise in popularity within the Mexican beer category, grabbing a cold Mexican lager for any occasion is now a pro move.

The category is also the source of inspiration. A growing number of domestic brewers are crafting their own Mexican-style lagers that aim to honor tradition and deliver on flavor. This has produced an abundance of options to consider, which can be simultaneously exciting and daunting, especially if you’re just beginning to explore the style. To help with the decision-making process, we tapped 11 brewers to ask them which Mexican-style lager they reach for what the moment strikes — whatever that moment happens to be.

The best Mexican-style lager, according to brewers:

  • Pacifico
  • Modelo Negra
  • Wooden Robot’s Robotico
  • Victoria
  • Modelito
  • Corona
  • Varietal Beer Company’s Casita
  • Dos Equis Amber
  • Modelo Especial

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (1)

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“A few years back, at a fellow brewer’s destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, a group of us got a house together. On day one, we hit up a local grocery store and bought a 12-pack of every Mexican lager they had available — for research, of course! A few days later, when it was time to restock the fridge, everyone in our motley crew of brewers reached for Pacifico. To this day, Pacifico is still my go-to for a refreshing Mexican lager.” —Ivan Dedek, director of brewing operations, Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, Cazenovia, N.Y.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (2)

“Nothing will have my heart like Modelo Negra. It’s great. Plus, I have an emotional attachment to that beer. The year was 2019 and I was fresh off of the boat in NYC, waiting to visit a Craigslist apartment in Brooklyn. … I was at a neighborhood bar and the bartender asked me if I’ve ever had a Modelo Negra and I said no, because they didn’t export to my country. He gave me a Modelo Negra then, on the house. I told him I was nervous because I really wanted to rent this room I was about to see, from Craigslist. He said ‘you will get it.’ And the rest is history.” —Maria Shirts, head brewer, Tin Roof Brewing Co., Baton Rouge, La.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (3)

“My go-to Mexican-style Lager is Wooden Robot’s Robotico. I love that it’s made with local, regional ingredients and it’s a super-crusher! It offers a delightful balance of light malt flavors and subtle hops, characteristic of Wooden Robot’s other crisp, clean lagers. Its smooth finish and approachable flavor is everything I want to drink on sunny days with food and good friends. It’s a must-have when you’re in the Charlotte area.” —Erin Jordan, head brewer, Resident Culture Brewing Company, Charlotte, N.C.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (4)

“I am a firm believer in pairing delicious food and beer. With that in mind, my go-to cerveza is Victoria, a Vienna-style lager that is smooth and slightly malt-forward, which makes it great for balancing spicy flavors. Victoria is 4 percent ABV with a medium-light body, amber color, and clean finish, making it an excellent beer to pair with Mexican dishes. Be on the lookout for their Día de los Muertos special release, made with marigolds.” —Isaac Patient Sr., head brewer, Sixpoint Brewery, Brooklyn

“My pick has to be Negra Modelo. It’s a refreshing lager that has the toasty flavor of Munich malt. Alone or in a Michelada, no other hits quite the same — especially if you like to put Maggi [seasoning sauce] in your mix.” —Daniel Gadala-Maria, head brewer, Finback Brewery, Glendale, N.Y.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (5)

“My personal favorite is a Modelito with a lil’ bit of salt & a lime. Obviously Modelos are fantastic, but there’s something about the 7-ounce mini bottles that hits differently. You’re never more than a sip away from a freshie if it starts to warm up on you, you can double-fist without catching side-eyes if the wait at the bar is too long, and on top of all that they’re just so gosh darn cute.” —Murphy Johnson, co-founder and director of creative & product development, BlackStack Brewing, St. Paul, Minn.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (6)

“I have to go with Corona. For me, it’s not always about the beer I’m drinking, but it’s the memories it has created for me as a beer drinker. I will never forget those hot New York summer nights listening to Bachata music and hip-hop acts like Mobb Deep with my cousins, drinking Coronas, and debating on whether we should switch over to 40-ounces or head to Fulton Street for some Dominican sandwiches.” —Hector Borja, lead brewer, Second Line Brewing, New Orleans

“I’m a big fan of Mexican lager. It’s typically what my friends and I drink when we have beers together, and you will likely find a few Pacificos in my refrigerator at any given time.” —Jake Genova, brewer, Radiant Beer Co., Anaheim, Calif.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (7)

“My go-to Mexican-style lager is Casita brewed by Varietal Beer Company in Sunnyside, Wash. This is their house lager and is endlessly drinkable. There are no adjuncts, just Washington-grown malt from LINC Malt and Cold Stream Malt & Grain Co. a couple of hours away, and Palisade hops that are literally grown in their backyard in the heart of hop country. My favorite way to enjoy it is at the source — sitting under the hop bines at the brewery — or floating down the Yakima River while casting to rising trout.” —Colin Lenfesty, founder and director of brewing and blending, Holy Mountain Brewing Company, Seattle

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (8)

“Nostalgia can often make a beer great, and that is definitely the case here. Dos Equis Amber always reminds me of spending time with my buddy Garrett Crowell, owner/brewer of Yokefellow, many years ago. There’s a certain aspect of his aura that embodies the classic imagery of chilling on a beach which is often associated with these beers. Every time I grab a can and add my lime on top I get a little bit of that joy, and for that I am grateful.” —Blake Tyres, senior director of curiosity, Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Athens, Ga.

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (9)

“When it comes to a Mexican lager, it doesn’t get more classic than Modelo Especial. It’s a crushable, easy-drinking go-to for almost any occasion. Add a lime wedge to it, and it’s really hard to have just one. And if you love Micheladas as much as I do, this beer is a perfect match. In the heat of the summer, this beer is about as refreshing as it gets; it’s an air conditioner in a can. I’m getting thirsty.” —Benny Farber, co-founder, Benny Boy Brewing, Los Angeles

*Image retrieved from CrunchyBeans via stock.adobe.com

Published: April 30, 2024

We Asked 11 Brewers: What’s Your Go-To Mexican-Style Lager? (2024)
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