Mexican Lager style

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by officerbill, May 22, 2022.

  1. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (968) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    I know adding is a style is always debated, but how about Mexican Lager?
    There are many Mexican imports that simply call themselves “lagers” and today I added a 50 Miles To Mexico which War Horse calls a Dark Mexican Lager, they also refer to their register regular 50 Miles as a Mexican Lager.

    I realize that most Mexican beers for into the AAL category, but have we reached the point where we need a Mexican Lager category?
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    If there were drastically different from American brewed versions maybe but I have personally yet to experience that.

    It continually surprises me that consumers in the US will pay so much for Mexican brewed beers (e.g., Modelo Especial) and how frequently US craft breweries will brand their beers as "Mexican Lager". Just crazy IMO.

  3. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,803) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    "if it costs more then it must be better" is the triumph of marketing sense over good sense.
  4. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (2,085) Jul 2, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    IMO most beers brewed in Mexico are of a German style and has to do with immigrants from Germany and Europe into Mexico getting work as brewers. I'm talking modelo, pacifico and such. One will notice that a lot of Mexican style lagers in America usually have citrus in it. Flying dog numero uno has agave and lime. Great lakes has lime. It goes on. Maybe the water composition has a part in why Mexican imports taste the way they do @JackHorzempa here we go again. Butbe prepared to see more of the American craft brewers pump out this "style" since it's about to be summer

    But to be on topic of thread I'm unsure if there is that much drastic difference to warrant its own style and may as well just be a sub category of AAL or another German type style.

    It's a strange thing. Craft brewers assumingly want to compete with aal. But maybe don't want to label a beer as such. So calling it Mexican style lager is a way to do that
    #4 Urk1127, May 22, 2022
    Last edited: May 22, 2022
  5. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    Mexican Lager or Cervaza are available at some breweries here in Southwest Florida as apposed to very rare in New England.
    I am speaking to brewery fresh, not imports or AALs.

    This thread has piqued my curiosity so I am going to try and buy some at one of my favorite local breweries and report my findings later this evening. Cheers.
  6. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    This is Simplexity buy Ankrolab Brewing of scenic Naples Florida.
    Billed as an Mexican Style Cerveza at 5%ABV.

    According to Untapped this Mexican lager is brewed with Pilsner and Vienna Lager malts, Mexican Lager yeast, flaked corn and Northern Brewer Hops with lime oil and pink Himalayan salt.

    According to the beer tender at Ankrolab this beer is brewed as an Ale, which makes sense because it has an Ale-like finish although it sure looks like a Lager.

    Is this a hybrid? It beats the crap out of Corona w/ lime. I'll take a groweler of this home for further analysis. Cheers.
  7. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,631) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    When an American craft brewer is making a "Mexican Lager" I never know what I'm getting. Is it an adjunct lager, something with fruits/citrus added for flavoring, or is it more along the lines of a Vienna Lager? The last is what I always thought of what Mexican Lagers "should be" but maybe I have just read Under The Volcano to many times :slight_smile: Often when I ask, the bartenders don't really know either, they just put a lime in it.

    Considering, I have never been able to get a clear definition of what it is, and many people argue over what it is, seems like it really shouldn't be considered a different style until those defining characteristics are more universally agreed on. But thats just my opinion.
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Below is a video about "Brewing Mexican Lagers".

    The beer from Barebottle is an AAL beer IMO.


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  9. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (968) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    I tend to agree with that, but the problem is that there are many breweries now selling a “Mexican style” beer with little more information available.
    If we're supposed to enter beers under the style the brewer uses ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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  10. keithmurray

    keithmurray Poo-Bah (1,804) Oct 7, 2009 Connecticut

    Can someone articulate the real differences between a "Mexican" style lager and an AAL? I struggle to be able to decipher a real difference between the two.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    OK, here is the 'thing'. There are some folks who will claim that if a brewery states that brand X is beer style A then that is what it is. I am not one of those folks since I know that there is a bunch of marketing BS involved here.

    Entirely up to you what you want to follow/believe here.

  12. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (3,727) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    Since Mexican lagers use a Mexican lager yeast, and since yeast is supposed to contribute some taste characteristic to beer, there must be something different. But I don't notice any difference from AALs. Maybe I need to drink more of them to train my taste buds, but I'll take an easy pass on doing that.
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  13. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Poo-Bah (1,678) Jul 27, 2013 Texas
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    To me, they are very distinct. I think it’s worthy to add as a style designation.

    We already have “Lager - European Pale”….

    And I hate scope creep as much as the next guy, but as far as we are down the road we might as well embrace it
  14. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,817) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I'm not saying I disagree with you, but if you want this and you hate scope creep, then how far are you willing to go? Modelo makes a pale lager, red lager, amber lager, dark lager, light lager, wheat beer, and a bunch of flavored beers. Would just one "Lager - Mexican" style on this site cover it or do you need 7 different ones? And then what would you do with a lager from Nicaragua? Claim it's a "Mexican lager?"
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  15. defunksta

    defunksta Poo-Bah (2,150) Jan 18, 2019 North Dakota
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    It's true. I don't think there's a consistent style definition and difference from American lagers. What would be the criteria, brewed in Mexico? Caution, because we all know cheap adjunct Mexican lagers (Corona) that are indistinguishable from AAL.
    Or can an American brewery make a "Mexican Lager" and what does that mean? Does it have more spice? Toasty bread malts like a Vienna? How is it different than German/Euro lager?

    On the other hand, we have different subtypes for IPA, so why not pale lagers?
    Ultimately, I think there's not enough of a style definition. Sure we could include only Mexican breweries, but that's a geographic rather than a style classification. Who's to tell an American brewery they can't make a Mexican lager and exactly how is it different than their American lager? That's the question I get stuck on.
    #15 defunksta, May 24, 2022
    Last edited: May 24, 2022
  16. KT3418

    KT3418 Poo-Bah (1,722) Mar 18, 2021 Colorado

    Mexican lagers for the most part seem to just be a product of colonization from Europe and then adding lime and possibly salt, from what I've observed anyways. I like hyper organization for things im actually into so I'd totally be down for a new category but lager-adjunct made sense to me too
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  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Almost on the same level as the Frank Costanza conundrum?

    “Let me understand, you got the hen, the chicken and the rooster. The rooster goes with the chicken. So, who's having sex with the hen?”

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  18. Rug

    Rug Poo-Bah (2,230) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
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    I'm just hoping it's not you, Jack
  19. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Defender (654) Apr 9, 2015 California

    Just here to say im happy that theres a big scene brewing in Mexico and hopefully all these asshats like modelo ( who stole a shitload of water from folks in mexico to brew their garbage) and corona take a hit .
  20. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,194) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    So would anyone who believes there is a value in this style designation care to throw out some guidelines for the style?

    I struggle to understand what the style designation would actually refer to
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  21. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    This is a style from the other BA

    Australasian, Latin American or Tropical-Style Light Lager
    Color: Straw to gold Clarity: Chill haze should not be present
    Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Malt sweetness is absent Perceived
    Hop Aroma & Flavor: Not present to very low
    Perceived bitterness: Very low
    Fermentation Characteristics: Sugar adjuncts are often used to lighten the body and flavor, sometimes contributing to very low to low fruity esters such as apple or pear. DMS, diacetyl, and acetaldehyde should not be present.
    Body: Low
    Additional notes: Sugar, corn, rice, and other cereal grains or carbohydrates sources are used as adjuncts.
    Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038-1.046 (9.5-11.4 °Plato) • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato) • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.2%-4.0% (4.1%-5.1%) • Hop Bitterness (IBU) 9-18 • Color SRM (EBC) 2-5 (4-10 EBC)

    This a match to the "Mexican Cerveza" I tried on Sunday, except that the body was medium low (possible from flaked corn) and the hop flavor and bitterness (added salt) was mild.

    If "Light" was removed from the title and the body was raised to Low-Medium as well as the Hop Aroma and Perceived Bitterness this might work well for Pale Mexican Lagers.

    Additional Note could have " tropical flavorings" such as lime, salt, pineapple, coconut, cilantro, added in.
  22. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    Red/Amber Lagers, Dark Lagers and Wheat Beers already fit into their respective categories, regardless of where they are brewed. I think that a new style for "Mexican Lager would be for Pale Lagers that are not Light Lagers or AAL.

    The "Mexican Cerveza" called Simplexity that I enjoyed on Sunday was unique enough to be in a different category other than AAL, in my happy little world. Beers made in Nicaragua would fit into the Latin America part on the style I suggested in my previous post. Flavored Pale Lagers would fit in as well. Cheers.
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  23. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,819) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    The whole thing feels like it sprung out of the history of lagers in Mexico, but not the reality of what's actually being brewed right now. With American takes, I never know what to expect. Some are just adjunct lagers with corn, some are amber lagers, some are dark lagers with corn, and some are light lagers spiked with lime and (sometimes) salt.
    It's a mess, and it's why I dislike naming beer styles after a place. Unless a place has a strong and clearly defined history with a beer style, stop trying to attach beers to them.
    As far as Modelo goes, to me it's basically just a better (to me at least) spin on a premium adjunct lager. Whether it's worth the import price is up for debate, but I like the taste more.
  24. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,817) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    For the top portion of the quote above, the pragmatist in me would expect this approach to be the result on this site, but the idealist in me would ask: "Is the difference between Modelo Especial and PBR bigger than the difference between Modelo Negra and Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel?"

    For the bottom portion of the quote above, the notion of having a "Mexican lager" BA style that is intended for American adjunct lagers brewed with margarita ingredients and NOT intended for typical Mexican adjunct lagers would be completely confusing for users and culturally inauthentic. If I am misreading your intention, and you think typical Mexican adjunct lagers should be included, then the inclusion of Simplexity with such beers would still generate the response of "unique enough to be in a different category" amongst such beers. The culture on BA simply underutilizes the fruit beer category for better and for worse.

    BTW, Simplexity was spelled incorrectly for its BA listing, so I submitted an update for it.
  25. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    I haven't yet decided on whether or not I think that Mexican Lager should be its own style and if it was I would say that it should not contain Adjunct Lagers.
    Thanks for the fix, it was added as Vienna Lager (nope) so I had it changed to American Lager.
  26. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Meyvn (1,311) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    AAL with a lime wedge is a style now? Cripes, I quit.
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  27. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Defender (654) Apr 9, 2015 California

    You just crawl out from under a rock?

    At yard house they served my friend a lagunitas ipa with an orange wedge in it.
    American IPA a la blue moon
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  28. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (625) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    AAL = American Adjunct Lager. "American" basically describes something from the Americas, which includes North, South, and Caribbean Americas. The mainstream beers from Mexico and the US (as well as Canada and most of the other new world countries) have very similar characteristics that are described well by the AAL definition (see No need to have another category where, after reading the definition of AAL, there are no identifiable differences. Maybe change the name to World Adjunct Lager to include beers from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia?
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  29. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    As you probably remember, long before "AAL" became a common abbreviation, lots of (some?) folks referred to such beers, adjunct or even (eventually) all-malt beers like Heineken, as an "ILL" - International Light Lagers*. It also had an amusing acronym thing going.:grin:

    *It was also back when "light lager" was a common labeling terminology for US beers and understood to be a different style of beer than the reduced-calorie "light beers".
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  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,543) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Sooo... kinda exactly like the pre-micro-era US lager breweries? :grin:

    According a Grupo Modelo Annual Report:
    Except Adolph Schmedtje was not "German" by birth, he was born in St. Louis, MO and, pre-Prohibition, had been a brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch. Oh, and his mother was Johanna Busch, sister of Adolphus Busch.
    Well... it would be listed right after "American Adjunct Lager"and for the guidelines, the source would just write: "DITTO".
  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,685) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    *Now* you quit? I quit AALs over 30 years ago. :grin:
  32. 57md

    57md Poo-Bah (3,479) Aug 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    12oz of a well crafted lager + 4 oz of water = A pint of Mexican Lager.

    I'm not sure that recipe deserves a style category of its own.
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  33. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (625) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    Not quite right. The alcohol would be a bit too low. The magic is in making a taste-deficient beer with 4.5% alcohol.
    Actually, your formula agrees well with Joe Ortlieb's formula for "Ortlieb's Light" (he didn't package a light beer at the time). Add water to regular Ortlieb's (per his T V commercial).
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  34. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,803) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    I suggest what we call "taste deficient" they call "market acceptable".
  35. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (968) Feb 9, 2019 New York
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    Sure there's a lot of marketing BS and there is no “official” Mexican style but a growing number of breweries are using that descriptor, with not much else to go on, with the idea that the beer is being bought with certain expectations.

    I'm curious how would you have entered this into the DB.
    This is all of the available info on the website:
    (flavor description is reasonably close to being accurate)

    Here's the label
    It's about the color of double strength iced tea
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  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,824) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I will be happy to share my thoughts here.

    The verbiage of "dark Mexican lager" brings to my mind beers such as Negra Modelo (categorized as a Munich Dunkel on BA) and Dos Equis Amber (categorized as a Vienna Lager on BA).

    If the Warhouse beer is more like amber in color I would suggest that Vienna Lager would be an appropriate category. If the beer is darker than amber I would suggest Munich Dunkel for the appropriate category.

    Needless to say I am not a BeerAdvocate 'employee' so...

  37. Providence

    Providence Champion (829) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    I'm seeing a lot of "Mexican style lagers" on tap handles and shelves brewed by American craft brewers these days. Given what I've seen and tasted, I think the style guidelines should be as follows:

    "An American Adjunct Lager brewed by someone in America (typically a white dude) who probably doesn't know or give two shits about Mexico, Mexicans, or the Chicana/o population. Abv ranges from 4.5% - 6%."
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  38. moodenba

    moodenba Defender (625) Feb 2, 2015 New York

    Why would you need to be a BA employee to make the decision? Your analysis seems solid. Isn't the classifier (at least the first one) the person who adds the beer to the site? I had to make an iffy decision about a beer that didn't really fit an existing style too well.
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  39. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,685) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Funny to this observation -- a new, local favorite nano brews a Mexican style lager. I've watched troups of Hispanic workers line up to purchase 4-packs to take away a couple different times. Says something.

    OTOH -- I haven't tried the beer yet, so I can't comment, but I'm not a big fan of Mexican beer, so...
  40. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    That's a tricky one, if the ice tea color appears red at all then American Amber/Red might work. If you think it has too many adjuncts then it might have to be dumped into AAL. Cheers.
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