Mexican Beer Brewing - dummies

By Marty Nachel, Steve Ettlinger

Mexican beer is far from glamorous; it’s never been considered much more than another thirst-quenching beverage in a hot and parched country. But a number of major and craft beer brands are available.

Major beer brands in Mexico

Only two companies have had a stranglehold on the Mexican brewing industry for decades: Grupo Modelo and Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma. Unfortunately, they produce a wide variety of brands without offering a wide variety of flavor.

Interestingly enough, about 30 years ago, the Mexican government mounted a public campaign to call beer una bebida de moderación — a beverage of moderation — in order to stem the rising incidence of public intoxication.

Still, if you want to try some authentic Mexican beer, you have a few mediocre options. The following are the top brands brewed by the Mexico City-based Grupo Modelo:

  • Corona

  • Estrella

  • Modelo Especial

  • Negra Modelo

  • Pacifico Clara

  • Victoria

The top brands brewed by the Monterrey-based Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma are

  • Bohemia

  • Carta Blanca

  • Dos Equis

  • Indio

  • Sol

  • Tecate

The Salón de la Fama del Béisbol (Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame) is housed on the grounds of the huge Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery in Monterrey. Visitors can sample beer in its breezy beer garden.

The dozen or so major brands are mostly Pale Lagers, with two notable exceptions:

  • The brewer of Corona (a minor brand in Mexico) also produces one of the country’s few dark beers: Negra Modelo.

  • The relatively malty Dos Equis is a small wonder: It’s a rare descendant of the Vienna Lagers brewed in Mexico during the mid-19th century occupation by Austrian Emperor Maximilian.

Craft beers in Mexico

For a while, it looked as though the microbrewing movement was going to pass Mexico by. With the country’s depressed economy and peasant traditions, whether artisanal beer would ever catch on there was a big question mark.

But, alas, a new generation of beer drinkers — and social networkers — finally discovered what the rest of us had been enjoying for many years: cerveza artesanal! These new indigenous craft brewers have been in existence since about 2005, but they’re finding favor among Mexico’s young urban elite. Here are a few brands and styles worth seeking out:

  • Cervecería Primus (Tlalnepantla de Baz — essentially a suburb north of Mexico City)

    Primus Brewery is helping lead the fight to introduce more artisanal Mexican beers into the marketplace, and many small local producers are banding together to share importing costs and encourage the growth of a craft beer culture in Mexico.

    • Tempus Alt (Altbier)

    • Tempus Doble Malta (Imperial Altbier)

    • Tempus Dorada (Golden Ale)

  • Cervecería Minerva (Guadalajara)

    • Minerva Colonial (Kölsch)

    • Minerva Pale Ale (English Pale Mild Ale)

    • Minerva Stout (Irish Dry Stout)

    • Minerva Viena (Vienna Lager)

  • Minerva Malverde (Pilsner)

  • Cervecería Cucapá (Mexicali)

    • Cucapá Barleywine (American Barleywine)

    • Cucapá Chupacabras (English Pale Ale)

    • Cucapá Clasica (Blonde Ale)

    • Cucapá Honey (Blonde Ale)

    • Cucapá Imperio (Belgian Strong Dark Ale)

    • Cucapá Jefe (American Pale Wheat Ale)

    • Cucapá La Migra (Imperial Stout)

    • Cucapá Light (Light Lager)

    • Cucapá Lowrider (Rye Beer)

    • Cucapá Oscura (American Brown Ale)

    • Cucapá Runaway (American India Pale Ale)

    • Cucapá Trigueña (American Blonde Ale)