5 Mexican Beers You Should Drink Instead of Corona (For Cinco de Mayo or Any Other Day)
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, local grocery stores are wheeling out pallets of Mexican beer into prominent displays. However, before you grab that box of Corona, there are other options. I have a saying of, “if you need to add fruit to make a beer drinkable, the beer isn’t drinkable.” Corona and Modelo (both owned, and have always been owned, by Grupo Modelo) are prime examples of this. These are the most popular Mexican beers and what you see at local “Mexican” grills around the country. There are plenty of other options though, each with more flavor. In fact, here are five other widely available beers you should drink, instead of Corona and Modelo.
Unlike most Americans, my first foray into Mexico didn’t occur by way of Cancun or a playa (beach) getaway. Juarez accepted my first steps into the country. During the initial lunch, I talked Dodger baseball and played some kind of strange “Mexican poker” with a dude sporting tattoos up to his chin and inked tears dripping down his cheeks. Nice guy. Offered to introduce me to some lady friends. I declined. But I did snag in Indio for the first time.
I hadn’t heard of Indio before, but for the most part, I shoved my head under rock and sand when it came to Mexican beers over the years. This one, however, proved more than enjoyable. It showed me I didn’t need wedges of fruit to drink a mass produced beer from the country.
Dos Equis has been around for a while. In fact, it’s been around since 1897. After all, the “XX” does stand for the 20th century. However, I prefer the Dos Equis Amber over the traditional beer. I think this Vienna amber has a bit more flavor.
One thing you’ll notice on this list: no clear bottles. Sure, I love the painted on label of Corona. I think it’s one of the best-looking bottles out there. But that clear glass welcomes skunking. Even the green glass of regular Dos Equis doesn’t do that good of a job. So it’s brown glass all the way.
Bohemia is probably the best tasting mass-produced Mexican beer available. There are a handful of other solid Bohemia beers made by the company, but most of these never make it north of the Rio Grande, which is unfortunate (Noche Buena is a great holiday beer, but with the flooding of U.S. seasonals at the time there’s just no room for it in the inn).
I’m not a light beer drinker. The alcohol content is lower, so if you’re drinking for a buzz you end up drinking more, which causes you to indulge in more calories. In other words, light beer is counterproductive. However, I wanted to include a light beer offering.
In my opinion, Tecate light is the best tasting Mexican light beer. Light-years better than Corona Light or the new Corona Premier. Plus, again, brown bottle.
Here’s a beer that’s been around since before nearly every other major American brewery. First whipped up in 1865, Victoria has all the features of a Mexican beer you could possibly want. Painted on logo, dark brown bottle, a classic recipe dating back to the time of the Second Mexican Empire (now there’s an interesting bit of Mexican history they didn’t teach in high school).
Bonus: Corona Familiar
I’m tossing in this as a bonus. Perhaps you’ve seen the new 12 oz (although I believe it’s actually 11.2) bottles in brown boxes around town. You may even think it’s a new Corona. Well, it ain’t. It’s just different packaging. Corona Familiar is just regular Corona in a brown bottle. Until recently, you could only buy it in a large, 32 oz jug name “Familiar,” because of its family sharing size. However, people noticed the improved flavor (there’s that brown glass bottle again), and so now Corona has rolled out the Corona Familiar 12 oz bottles.
So, you’re ordering a beer named after a larger bottle but now uses the same sized bottle. In reality, they probably should name it Corona Café, although that might confuse people into thinking it’s Corona with coffee mixed in. Whatever you want to call it, if you’re hell-bent on ordering a Corona, at least go with one that nixes the clear glass.
There are a number of mass-produced Mexican imports available wherever you buy your booze. And the thing is, probably 100% of these taste better than Corona and Modelo. Sure, some of the beers are a bit more expensive than the alternative. But the limes you no longer need will more than make up for it.