In this Convert Beers column, I introduce gateway styles of beer that might help convert drinkers to craft beer. So without further ado, I give you the Mexican-style lager.
Think Corona, Dos Equis, and Pacifico—blonde or amber in color, light-bodied, and very light on the hops. Mexican-style lagers are clean, crisp, and thirst-quenching. They practically scream for a slice of lime. In recent years, American brewers have wanted in on the Mexican-style lager fun and have begun brewing their own versions of this style. These Mexican-style lagers are bound to satisfy the industrial lager lovers in your life and could even convince them to go craft.
Ska Brewing Mexican Logger
Ska is one of the, and quite possibly the, first American craft brewery to brew a Mexican-style lager. The brewers at Ska first created Mexican Logger in 2001 to replicate the Pacificos that they couldn’t admit to drinking all summer. “We wanted to brew a similar beer, but with crazy attributes like ‘taste’ and ‘flavor,’” jokes Ska Cofounder Dave Thibodeau. “It’s 5 percent ABV and brewed with a lager yeast strain from Mexico City. Without giving away all of its secrets, I’ll tell you that the malt bill has 2-Row, Carapils, and Vienna malts, and it’s hopped with all noble hops varieties.”
Big Wood Brewery Amigo Grande
(White Bear Lake, Minnesota)
Amigo Grande is another Mexican-style lager in a can, and a 16-ounce one to boot. Brewed at Big Wood Brewery, it’s a 5 percent ABV beer with a simple recipe that includes Galena hops. “Inspired by ‘that one time in Mexico,’ Amigo Grande embodies a certain south-of-the-border style.”
Wolverine State Brewing Co. Verano Mexican Lager
(Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Wolverine State Brewing, “the proud home of the Lager Revolution,” makes Verano Mexican-Style Amber Lager, their signature summer beer, from June to August. Suggested serving of this 4.5 percent ABV amber lager: enjoy with a fresh lime.
21st Amendment Brewery El Sully
(San Francisco, California)
21st Amendment’s Mexican-style lager is brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malts, flaked maize, and Magnum and Northern Brewer hops. It scored a 94 in our blind tasting, with the judges noting that it was “enjoyable, light, and refreshing, with a nice smoothness and crisp finish. The medium Pilsner and honey sweetness with the light hops came together effectively.”
EPIC Brewing Los Locos
(Salt Lake City, Utah)
Los Locos is a sessionable Mexican-style lager brewed with lime and sea salt with a hint of corn sweetness. It pairs perfectly with spicy Mexican dishes. Our review panel declared it a “refreshing, citrusy lager, very much like a light margarita.”
Flying Dog Brewery Numero Uno Summer Cerveza
Originally released as Agave Cerveza in the summer of 2014 as part of Flying Dog’s Brewhouse Rarities program, at 4.9 percent ABV, Numero Uno is an easy-drinking version of the south-of-the-border slammers. Says their website, “Flaked maize makes up one third of the malt bill and highlights the distinctive corn and cracker flavor traditionally found in Mexican lagers. Agave is added at the end of the boil, and lime peel is added post-fermentation to impart a distinct, zesty character and a crisp, clean finish.”
What’s your favorite American-made Mexican-style lager?