Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo wouldn’t be complete without a cerveza to wash things down, and if you want to keep things authentic you’re going to need to venture south of the border. But there’s more to Mexico’s beer scene than shoving a lime wedge into the neck of your Corona. From big-name lagers doing it right to noteworthy microbreweries off the beaten path (and a few American breweries paying homage to their southern brethren), the quality and diversity of craft brewing happening across Mexico deserves deeper investigation, and we’ve rounded up eleven of our favorites for you to track down and try. Some of them are available in the U.S., while others require a passport, but these bottles are well worth the trip to add to your craft beer collection.
Baja Brewing: Por Favor Mexican IPA
Most people consider the flavors of the Baja peninsula to be limited to fish tacos and cheap lager, but Baja Brewing is changing that with this hop bomb of an IPA. Clocking in at 7% with five different hop varietals, this aggressive brew will leave your taste buds begging for mercy, por favor.
Tecate Cerveza Original
Just because it’s got an ad campaign doesn’t mean it isn’t great beer. Tecate is another Baja original, first brewed for local miners in desperate need of refreshment after a hard day’s hammering. Crisp and crushable, this is a classic Mexican lager that deserves cooler-space on any beach day. For something a little different, check out Tecate’s canned Micheladas.
This Mexican Witbier was designed with seafood in mind, with classic notes of orange peel and coriander spicing up the malty profile. Insurgente is a socially conscious brewery with a taproom located right in the heart of Tijuana. Hop-heads will want to check out their Lupulosa IPA, too.
Hailing from the heart of tequila country in Jalisco, Minerva is a brewery on a mission to redefine Mexican beer, and this one is about as far from traditional expectations as you can get. This robust stout is rich and redolent of coffee and cocoa. Order it with a steak or drink it on its own for dessert, this is not your burrito beer.
Rrëy is all about the details. They mineralized the water in this Kölsch-style beer to match the water of the Rhine in Germany, where the style originated. If that doesn’t put Monterrey (get it? “rrey”?) on the beer map, nothing will.
Maria Bonita Blonde Ale
Maria Bonita was started by a couple in the small state of Santa Ana Ixtlahuaca, just west of Mexico city, who wanted to brew great beer but also provide jobs to the young people in their community. Owner and head brewer José Manuel Baños traveled to Europe to hone his craft in 2012, then returned home and began brewing, eventually opening Maria Bonita in 2014. Their Blonde Ale is perfectly balanced and approachable.
Made for tacos and guac, this medium-bodied ale is gold all the way through, with honey notes on the palate and clear copper in the glass. They even made the label to match.
21st Amendment El Sully
They say imitation is the finest form of flattery, and with plenty of Mexican beers copping other styles on this list, it seems fitting to include an American brewery aspiring to make a great Mexican Lager. We think the folks at 21st Amendment hit the mark with El Sully, a beach beer if ever there was one.
Chela Libre Capitalist Pig IPA
The rascals at cartoon-luchador-themed Chela Libre are clearly having fun making their beers, and the Capitalist Pig is no exception. A heaping helping of Mosaic hops stars in this tropical, fruity American IPA.
Jabalí means “wild pig,” and at 8.1% ABV, this beer might make you wild. With a bittersweet backbone and a slightly spicy finish, this beer is a perfect pairing for your favorite spicy Mexican dishes.
Calavera Tripel de Abadía
Calavera has been on the cutting edge of malty Mexican cool for a while now, with big beers that bring even bigger flavors. This Belgian-style Tripel is a sweet, malty powerhouse that isn’t for the faint of heart.
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