Mexico is a country with a long tradition of both brewing and drinking beer, and if you visit, there are a lot of good ones to look out for.
Many of the most popular beers in Mexico are simple, mass-produced lagers, but while the craft brewing scene isn’t as well established there as north of the border, there are also some notable exceptions that will please even the most demanding connoisseurs.
This means what you’ll drink there will probably include a mix of unassuming yet satisfying brews that are perfect for quenching a thirst along with others you’ll want to sit and savor when you are fortunate enough to find them.
With this in mind, here’s a list of the 29 best Mexican beers, including many basic, unpretentious options as well as some more unusual gems you’ll have to work harder to find.
The Best Mexican Beer Brands
1. Corona Extra (Cervecería Modelo)
Arguably Mexico’s most famous beer, Corona is easy to find and unmistakable in its distinctive clear glass bottle. It has a light taste that doesn’t have any overwhelming flavors, and it’s super refreshing when served ice cold and with a wedge of lime pushed into the bottle. It might not be such a big favorite with those looking for interesting and exciting beers that are full of complex flavors to appreciate – but if you just want a classic Mexican beer you can sip outside in the sun, Corona is an ever-reliable option.
2. Cerveza Pacífico Clara (Grupo Modelo)
A venerable Mexican beer that has been brewed for over 100 years, Pacífico is so-named due to the location of the original brewery in the city of Mazatlán on the Pacific coast. It has a light golden color and enough carbonation to make it feel lively in the mouth. It smells like a regular pale lager with nothing overpowering the nose, but you should still be able to pick out aromas of hops along with something like grass. The taste is what you would expect from the nose – it has slightly more depth to its flavor profile than a Corona, making this a popular beer among those who find Corona too bland.
3. La Lupulosa (Cervecería Insurgente)
La Lupulosa is an American IPA-style beer stuffed full of delicious American hops from Tijuana-based craft brewers Insurgente. It is yellow-amber in color and pours with a slight haze along with a frothy head that doesn’t dissipate quickly. This is a well-balanced IPA, with a malty sweetness counteracting the bitterness from the hops. You may also be able to notice some citrus elements, and the aftertaste is pleasantly bitter. The ABV is 7.3%, but it doesn’t feature prominently in the flavor. An exceptional beer from one of Mexico’s top craft breweries and one to seek out if you’ve had your fill of generic pale lagers.
4. Noche Buena (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery – Heineken México)
Mexico experienced an influx of German migrants during the 19th century, and their influence is still apparent in many of the beers now brewed in the country. One of them is the Noche Buena, a traditional German-style bock, a seasonally brewed beer of 5.9% ABV. It has a brown color with a slight tinge of red and is topped by a thick and frothy head that tends to disappear quite quickly. The nose contains elements of malt and sweet caramel, and the taste is largely similar. There’s also a touch of bitterness, especially towards the end. A tasty beer of this style that’s worth a go if you see it being sold.
5. Montejo (Grupo Modelo)
This beer is a Czech-style pilsner that comes in a stylish black can. There’s plenty of carbonation, making it lively and refreshing to drink. In the glass, it has an attractive golden color and produces a light head that doesn’t stay for long. Prominent aromas in the nose include corn and malt, and these are also present in the taste. There’s a sweetness to this beer, but it is nicely counterbalanced by the right note of bitterness, making it easy to drink and ideal for moments when you feel like something simple and unpretentious.
6. Psicosis Imperial IPA (Texcoco Mystic Ales)
A big and bold imperial IPA with a potent alcoholic kick of 8.5%, this beer from craft brewers Texcoco Mystic Ales is one for those who like their beers to have plenty going on. The color is a rich gold, and it pours with a slight hint of cloudiness. You’ll find a complex combination of aromas in the nose, including pine, fruit and bread. On tasting, you’ll find the flavor profile packed with even more fruit along with some hints of spice and yeast. For such a strong beer, the alcohol isn’t prominent in the nose or the taste, making this a brew that’s extremely easy drinking – but one you should also treat with care!
7. Carta Blanca (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery – Heineken México)
Carta Blanca is a typical Mexican lager that’s inexpensive, easy to find and always hits the spot when you need something to quench your thirst. It’s nothing spectacular, so you shouldn’t compare this kind of beer with something from a craft brewery, but it still tastes surprisingly good for a brew of this sort. Perhaps not a beer to put at the top of your wish list – but at the same time, it’s not one to turn your nose up at when you just want something cold and refreshing.
8. Sol (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery – Heineken México)
Another of Mexico’s most famous beers, Sol is a light-colored brew with a delicate flavor that is similar in many ways to a Corona. If you take a trip to Mexico, this is a beer you should probably try at least once – and you probably will at some point anyway – and like Corona, it’s best enjoyed with a piece of lemon pushed into the bottle.
9. Indio (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery – Heineken México)
This is a Mexican take on the Vienna lager style that pours with a dark amber color and produces a head that tends to linger for a while before dissipating. It has relatively strong carbonation, making it lively and refreshing to drink. As you can guess from looking at it, the nose and taste both display a certain amount of malty sweetness, and although some people might call it slightly bland, it goes down very easily. At only 4.1% ABV, this is not a strong beer, so it’s one you don’t have to feel guilty about if you feel like enjoying more than just one or two.
10. Stout De Olla (Cervecería Santa Sabina)
An American-style stout with an ABV of 6.8% that’s brewed by the Cervecería Santa Sabina, this one is worth looking out for if you want to sample the delights of Mexico’s craft brewing scene. It is a deep, dark black in color and is topped by a creamy head that rapidly fades away. The nose offers notes of coffee and chocolate with a hint of something like cinnamon and vanilla in the background, and this is very much what you can expect when you taste it too. There is some sweetness to it at first, and this makes way for more bitterness towards the end. Overall, an admirable attempt at this style and a beer that most stout drinkers will enjoy.
11. Tecate (Tecate)
Tecate is another of the beers you’ll commonly come across while in Mexico, although it’s slightly less well-known internationally than something like Corona or Sol. It’s a tasty brew though, and if you want to work your way through Mexico’s more popular and common beers as well as sample some of the rarer treats, this is a brew that demands a spot on your list.
12. Perro del Mar (Cervecería Wendlandt)
The Perro del Mar is a Mexican IPA that most closely resembles the West Coast IPAs from the US. It has a respectable but not excessive ABV of 7.6% and presents citrus and hops flavors in the nose – joined in the taste by more fruits like mango and orange as well as pine, spices and some notes of yeast. If you’re a fan of American IPAs and are curious to see what is being brewed south of the border, this is a beer you need to try.
13. Negra Modelo (Grupo Modelo)
Another beer showing the German influences in Mexican beer making, the Negra Modelo is a Munich-style dunkel of 5.4% ABV, a deep brown color and a modest head. The flavors include malt, which is what you’d expect from a dunkel, combined with a mixture of caramel, bread and perhaps some toast. It then finishes with a touch of hops, helping to balance the sweetness. Like many beers in Mexico, this one might not stand up well against some fancy craft brews, but it’s still fun to drink if you can take your beer snob’s hat off for a while.
14. Brutal Imperial Stout (Border Psycho Brewery)
At a whopping 10.3% ABV, this imperial stout from Border Psycho Brewery is among the stronger beers you’ll find brewed in Mexico. The color in the glass is black, and it pours with a foamy brown head. Malt is very much in evidence in the nose, and you might also be able to pick out aromas of chocolate, vanilla and something earthy. The flavor is an intense combination of hops, malt and chocolate that starts sweet and becomes more bitter towards the finish. The alcohol is obvious but not overwhelming, making this a beer to sit and appreciate slowly.
15. Nocturna(Cervecería Insurgente)
Nocturna is another beer from Insurgente, this time a dark ale. It has an ABV of 6.5% and a complex nose that includes dark chocolate, malt, coffee and hops. The nose predicts the taste, and you will also be able to find some spices like cloves along with pine and some citrus notes, giving it a satisfying freshness. This is a beer that divides opinion. Some might say that it is too unbalanced and that it doesn’t have enough body. However, others may find it intriguing and unusual – so best to find one and try it yourself to make up your own mind.
16. Dark Lycan (Cerveza Fauna)
The Dark Lycan from craft brewers Fauna is a similar style to the Nocturna above. It is black in color with just a hint of red, and it pours with a generous thick and creamy head. It has plenty of malt in the nose, and you’ll probably find some hints of berries, pine and perhaps a dash of licorice. There’s more malt and pine in the taste, joined by just the right amount of hoppy bitterness to make it satisfying and moreish. Not available year-round but certainly worth tasting if you have chance.
17. Victoria (Grupo Modelo)
Victoria is a Vienna-style lager that, at only 4% ABV, would be a good beer to choose if you plan to consume several of them in one sitting. The color is a pale amber, and the head is wispy and short-lived. It gives off delicate aromas of malt and toasted grain, and the taste is what you expect from the nose – overall, the experience is delicate and refreshing. This is a common Mexican beer and a good one to pick when you just want something simple and easy to drink.
18. Señor Matanza (Cerveza Fauna)
This is another beer from Cerveza Fauna, this time a powerful Russian imperial stout with a huge ABV of 12%. It is red-black in color, although it is slightly opaque, and the head is thick and creamy, very much like what you’d expect on top of a pint of Guinness. The nose is full of dark fruit, which is followed by a deep and complex flavor profile that mixes more dark fruit with coffee, chocolate and many more subtle elements. Surprisingly for a beer of this strength, the taste of alcohol is understated. An excellent beer and possibly the pick of the bunch from a operation that produces some great brews.
19. Astillero (Agua Mala)
Astillero is an imperial IPA with a pale amber color in the glass. The nose is powerfully hoppy, but this is balanced by the powerful aroma of malt; you may also find notes of honey and tropical fruits in there. On your first sip, you’ll taste tropical and citrus fruits along with pine, and from there it becomes pleasantly sour with lots of earthy hops as an accompaniment. Despite the 8.5% ABV, the alcohol flavor is gentle, giving the beer a subtle extra layer rather than an overt boozy kick.
20. Bohemia (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery – Heineken México)
Bohemia is known as the oldest and most traditional of Mexico’s pilsners – and is also among the country’s most acclaimed brews. The color is an enticing gold, and it produces a thin white head that disappears quite fast. It is well balanced in both the nose and the taste, with a noticeable amount of sweet maltiness that is balanced by a good dose of hops. A refreshing beer at any time – but best enjoyed on one of Mexico’s beautiful beaches.
21. Cucapá La Migra (Cucapá Brewing Company – Grupo Modelo)
Jet black and topped by a thick and creamy off-white head that sticks around for ages, this beer is a decadent treat. The nose is complex and sophisticated, containing chocolate, vanilla, molasses, dark bread, exotic spices and a touch of toast. The flavor is similar, developing with notes of chocolate, malt, caramel and coffee and then moving towards a luxurious sweetness for the finish. At 8.5%, the amount of booze in this one is not negligible, but it’s hardly noticeable in the nose or the taste, making this another one to treat with caution.
22. Minerva Stout (Cervecería Minerva)
Minerva is an Irish-style dry stout with a brown color that is approaching black and an enticing frothy head. The nose predominantly gives aromas of malt, coffee and chocolate, but there is an unmistakable presence of hops in the background. The coffee, chocolate and malt are all present in the flavor, with the hops playing an important supporting role. This is a very respectable attempt at this style, making it another beer worth sampling.
23. Dos Equis Azul (Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery – Heineken México)
Dos Equis is one more of Mexico’s most famous beer brands – but while the original is itself a tasty drop, perhaps even better is the Azul version. You’ll be able to spot it by the blue can with two “X”s on it – azul is the Spanish word for “blue” – and it’s livened up and given its unique character by the addition of herbs and spices during the brewing process. Perhaps the purists who just want their beer to taste like beer might not approve – but for everyone else, this is an intriguing offering that you should try to find.
24. Maiz Azul (Cerveza La Brü)
The “azul” in the name of this beer refers to the ancient blue corn that has been cultivated in the Meseta Purepecha in Michoacan for around 7000 years. This corn is used in the brewing of this craft cream ale, and there is a distinctive aroma of corn in the nose, along with a touch of malt. In the taste, the corn takes over, relegating the malt and other elements to minor supporting roles, but it’s light-bodied, not too strong and eminently drinkable, making this one of Mexico’s more unusual beers to hunt down and sample.
25. Léon (Grupo Modelo)
A mass-produced Munich-style dunkel with an ABV of 4.5%, this beer is a good pick if you want something simple but with a slightly more interesting flavor profile than a Corona or a Sol. The dark malt used in its brewing gives it a smooth sweetness that combines with a light bitterness to give it some extra character. It has a light body and medium carbonation, which makes it a decent beer to drink with a meal.
26. Cosaco Roja (Cerveza Cosaco)
An Irish-style red ale from 20-year-old brewery Cerveza Cosaco, this one pours with an almost lurid red hue that isn’t far from pink. It is topped with a generous and long-lived head, the nose gives off aromas of sweet fruit, and in the mouth, you’ll probably be able to pick out something like cherry. This is a beer that’s unusual and interesting in more ways than one, making it one for the wish lists of the more adventurous fans of beer who visit Mexico.
27. Tempus Dorada (Cervecería Primus)
Dorada means “golden” in Spanish, so it will come as no surprise to discover that this beer is indeed golden in appearance, pouring with a big and fluffy white head that quickly vanishes. In the nose, you’ll probably be able to detect floral notes as well as something sweet like honey. It tastes slightly sweet too, but there is a good balance, and none of the flavors is overbearing, making this an easy-drinking beer that is tasty and enjoyable rather than being spectacular in any way.
28. Estrella Jalisco (Grupo Modelo)
If you want to try a simple pilsner that doesn’t make any fuss, the Estrella Jalisco is not a bad choice. It has an ABV of 4.5%, a golden yellow color and a crisp and refreshing mouthfeel. Like many Mexican lagers, it doesn’t have an extravagant flavor profile but is rather just a beer to drink when you aren’t in the mood for anything fancy. A typical Mexican beer that’s as good as any of the others in its category.
29. Tiniebla (Cervecería Insurgente)
The Tiniebla from Insurgente is unusual in that it’s a wheat beer. There aren’t so many locally-produced versions of these – it’s the only one on our list – so it’s worth trying just for that. But more than that, it’s a good beer in its own right. It has a hazy golden-yellow color and produces a white, foamy head, and the nose and taste feature notes of wheat, orange, citrus and spice. Insurgente is one of the best craft breweries in Mexico, and they don’t do much wrong. So if you come across this or any other of their beers, you shouldn’t hesitate to sample them.
A few rare treasures and plenty of reliably refreshing brews
As you can see from our list, there are a few rare treasures to discover in Mexico as well as a wide range of unpretentious but highly refreshing brews.
For this reason, any trip to the country can be a fun voyage of discovery for any travelers who enjoy sampling the local tipples while they’re on the road.