The 8 Best Mexican Beers, Tasted and Ranked

For almost a decade, Mexican beer has outsold all other foreign imports combined in the United States. We have the popularity of Corona, and more recently Modelo Especial, to thank for that, as well as the mass appeal of a style of Mexican beer in particular: Mexican lager.

Light and crisp, Mexican lager is a category made up of dependable supporting actors. Whether punctuating bites of spicy tacos or providing poolside refreshment, the style adds shine to any occasion, and never seeks to steal the limelight.

But how do these beers fare when tasted on their own? Does Sol still seem so bright when not sipped under the sun? And is Modelo quite so special when there’s no big game on or bulging burrito in hand?

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We put eight of the most popular Mexican lagers to the taste test to find out.

8. Victoria

victoria is one of the worst mexican lagers.

Enjoyable though the limited edition Dia de Los Muertos label was on this Victoria, that’s where the good times ended with this beer. Pouring a richer shade than its counterparts, hopes that this would translate to depth of flavor were quashed by low-alcohol, flavorless sips, which finished with a metallic twang.

7. Dos Equis

dos equis is one of the worst mexican lagers.

The Most Interesting Man in the World must have liked his lager on the sweeter side, for Dos Equis serves a saccharine kiss on nose, palate, and finish. This isn’t too noticeable when sipped ice cold, but as the beer warms slightly, it soon falls out of balance.

6. Corona

Corona is one of the best mexican lagers, when served cold.

Sampled for this ranking without lime, the absence of zesty citrus made Corona feel incomplete. Its lack of body and, to a lesser extent, flavor, became more apparent, spurring us to suggest that this is another that needs to be served ice cold — and with its go-to garnish, of course.

5. Sol

sol is one of the best mexican lagers.

Full on refreshment is the name of the game with this beer. Its profile, though similarly neutral to Corona, arrives with a little more balance, and delivers a pleasing crisp finish.

4. Estrella Jalisco

estrella is one of the best mexican lagers.

While Jalisco is better known among drinkers for its agave distillates, this historic Guadalajara-born brand is a great ambassador of the region’s brewing credentials. An enjoyable malty nose, with sweet hints of corn, leads to clean, thirst-quenching sips.

3. Tecate

tecate is one of the best mexican lagers.

Of all of the lagers in this lineup Tecate delivers the most flavor and complexity, with noticeable malt character and a hint of hops running throughout. This beer could well occupy any of the top three places on this ranking, but for some, its profile may be too much of a departure from the thought-free refreshment we crave from the category.

2. Modelo Especial

modelo is one of the best mexican lagers.

Not just the category leader in terms of sales, Modelo Especial is an icon in its own right, with its wide bottle and signature gold foil. Bright lager aromas lead to an easy-sipping, attractive palate, where body and balance impress in equal proportions. Each refreshing sip will have you coming back for more in an instant.

1. Pacifico

pacifico is the best mexican lager.

Straight out the bottle, Pacifico looks great, pouring a striking gold hue with a robust, bleached white head. Full flavor matches a relatively weighty texture. And Pacifico ultimately tops the ranking for delivering all the balance and refreshment of Modelo Especial, while dialing up the complexity with a subtle, attractive bitterness on the finish.


What Is Mexican Lager?

For all intents and purposes, Mexican lager is a slightly lighter take on Vienna-style lager. Before Mexican beer — or tequila or mezcal — there was pulque, an opaque, fermented beverage made from the sap of the agave plant. By the mid-1800s, an influx of Germanic immigrants brought traditional brewing practices to Mexico. In the 1860s, the nation spent four years under the rule of Austro-German Emperor Maximilian, and he set up the first brewery in Mexico. In light of that, the first lagers brewed in Mexico were Vienna-style lagers, and that influence is still prevalent in the Mexican beers of today, such as Modelo Negra and Dos Equis Amber. However, many Mexican lagers since have taken on a slightly brighter, sessionable profile than their Viennese counterparts.

What’s the Best-Selling Beer in Mexico?

In 2023, Corona was the best-selling beer in Mexico with a brand value over $7 billion. In the U.S., Modelo Especial is not only the best-selling Mexican beer, but the best-selling beer overall. It outpaced Bud Light in May of 2023, and its sales have continued to rise as of April 2024.

Are Mexican Lagers Gluten-Free?

Sadly, Mexican lagers aren’t generally gluten free. Traditionally, Mexican lagers are brewed with barley, which contains gluten.

What Are the Different Types of Mexican Beer?

Sure, most Mexican beers are lagers, but there are plenty of Mexican pilsners as well. This makes sense, considering the Germanic influence that helped shape the nation’s beer-making in the first place. For example, Pacifico is technically a pilsner. But in recent years, a handful of Mexican IPAs, stouts, and other beer styles have also entered the scene. There’s Guadalajara’s Cerveza Minerva that makes a range of beer styles, and San José del Cabo’s Baja Brewing Company — founded by American-born brewers who set up shop in Mexico — offers a wide portfolio of brews that includes IPAs, an oatmeal stout, a raspberry ale, and an amber ale.

What’s the Best Mexican Beer for Micheladas?

In the relatively small world of beer cocktails, the Michelada is one of the best. The Bloody Mary-adjacent blend of lager, salt, lime, and hot sauce is a perfect refresher to go with brunch, a hot day, and just about any Mexican cuisine. For Micheladas, we recommend sticking to a lighter style of Mexican beer, like Corona, Dos Equis, or Pacifico. Steer clear of anything too heavy or dark, like Modelo Negra or Corona Familiar, as their malt-forward profile can drown out the brighter flavors imparted by the salt and lime.

*Image retrieved from Fabián Montaño via