American craft brewers are always searching for, and experimenting with, the next craze in beer styles. Among the recent favorites are Mexican-style lagers – crisp, crushable brews that are plenty refreshing with a hint of sweetness and citrus. They’re popping up at larger operations like Oskar Blues to super-small projects like Lo-Fi Brewing in Charleston, S.C. One thing I really like about these lagers, is that they won’t blow your palate off. They’re not hop bombs or decadent barrel-aged stouts, which is further proof that good beers can also be light and simple.
These American variations surely owe a debt to the big market Mexican brands that dominate store shelves and Tex-Mex restaurants. Still, U.S. brewers have given the Mexican Lager its own character. A six pack of any of these beers is sure to cure an ache for warmer, sunnier days and stir up some summer nostalgia along the way.
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21st Amendment El Sully
El Sully is a crisp 4.8% ABV lager that uses a Mexican-lager strain of yeast along with Vienna and pilsner hops and flake maize. It made the rounds in 21st Amendment's fall mixed case and can also be found in standalone six packs.
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Deep Ellem Neato Bandito
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that goes for Deep Ellem's Neato Bandito (from Dallas) as well. Dubbed an imperial Mexican-style lager, its 6% ABV body is a bit stronger than some other beers of this style. It's got a pilsner base and plenty of corn in the mix as well, creating a clean and simple finish.
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Epic Brewing Los Locos
Los Locos Mexican-style lager is brewed with lime and sea salt along with a bit of the expected corn sweetness. Epic brewers say they were inspired by chef Troy Guard's Mexican cooking in Denver and wanted something tasty that could hold up to the creative cuisine. The beer comes in 12 packs of cans and pairs well with spicy dishes, and is a nice sessionable 4.8%.
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Flying Dog Numero Uno Summer Cerveza
Flying Dog's 4.9% ABV summer ale uses flaked maize to get the slightly sweet corn flavor that is distinctive in Mexican lagers. The brew gets a hit of agave toward the end of the boiling followed by lime peel. Look for it in six packs when summer rolls around.
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Oskar Blues Beerito
Oskar Blues may be most known for its flagship Dale's pale ale, but don't sleep on its new Mexican lager. Introduced this past April, it's lighter than its competitors at an easy 4% ABV, and packs refreshing bready and nutty notes with a bit of sweetness. A six-pack is a worthy companion to burritos everywhere (especially in Colorado).
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Ska Brewing Mexican Logger
Ska Brewing's summer seasonal Mexican Logger (5.2% ABV) was first released in 2001, making it one of the relative veterans of the style. The recipe uses Saaz hops and was originally created to be a better tasting alternative to the guilty pleasure that is drinking a can of a cheap Mexican beer on hot afternoon.