When looking for a light, enjoyable, and refreshing beer, I often reach for something in the lager category. Lagers come in a range of styles, but Mexican lagers remain some of the most drinkable beers on the market.
Corona tends to be a typical choice and what people imagine when you use the term Mexican lager. If you're looking for something that fares well against Corona but also offers something a little different, you have several alternatives to Corona beer to choose from.
What type of beer is Corona?
Corona beer is a Mexican lager produced by the Mexican brewery Cerveceria Modelo. Corona is refreshing and smooth, with a balance between European imports and lighter domestic beer. It is low in ABV and maintains notes of fruit, honey, and malt.
Whether you're looking for a substitute beer when Corona isn’t available or want to find a beer that is similar but more your style, there are alternatives to fit almost any palate. Since the Mexican-style lager category has so much variation, your preferred option will depend on your tastebuds.
What's special about Mexican-style lagers?
The term Mexican Lager can come with confusion as the origins of the brew involve many countries. Before the Spanish conquest, people in the region we know as Mexico made fermented beverages using corn, agave, honey, and other local ingredients.
As time went on and more immigrants and conquerors found their way to the Mexico region, Vienna lagers became popular and introduced more people in the area to European brewing styles.
There are many similarities to Mexican-style lagers and Vienna lagers, but European pale lagers also found influence in the region. Mexican lagers now encompass a wide range of flavors and tastes.
One reason for the popularity of the Mexican lager style is its palate-pleasing, light, and fizzy qualities. Mexican lagers are generally flavorful, crisp, smooth, and sessionable, making for a wide range of flavor results on the lighter side of beer.
The best Corona alternatives
You can find a Corona alternative for most flavor palates, but it becomes a lot easier to make a selection once you understand why you do or do not like Corona.
It can also help to think about other beers you do or do not like. For example, if you find you like a particular type of hops or style, choosing an alternative that fits that category will improve your chances of enjoying the beer.
Now, let's take a look at my top alternatives to Corona.
1. Lager Especial by Dos Equis
A golden pilsner-style beer made from pure sprint water, a blend of malts, spices, and earth tones. Flavorful yet light and balanced with a clean finish. Dos Equis is the product of Mexican ingredients and German-style and, at one point, was the fastest-growing import to the U.S.
2. The Most Interesting Lager in the World from Ex Novo Brewing
The Most Interesting Lager is modeled after Dos Equis and named in honor of the most interesting man in the world (their spokesperson). This beer is a Mexican-style lager that uses Saaz hops, Vienna and Pilsner malts, and a hint of flaked corn to provide a crisp and refreshing taste. If you like Corona and Dos Equis, this beer is an incredibly drinkable alternative.
3. Sol by Heineken
Sol is a brand of Mexican Lager that has a smooth taste, crisp finish, and bright and refreshing qualities. The name Sol is to give honor to its Mexican origin and also to reflect its bright flavors.
4. Pacifico Clara by Crown Imports
Pacifico is a pilsner-style lager that is known for its grass-citrus and ocean mist. Ingredients include two- and six-row barley, a variety of hops, and special malts in a unique roasting process.
5. Presidente by Cerceceria Nacional Dominicana (CND)
Presidente is a pilsner-style lager-adjunct beer produced out of the Dominican Republic. Fun fact: this was originally a dark beer and then reimagined in the 1960s. They use malted barley, corn, and unmalted cereals, along with sugar and hops.
6. Tona Cerveza by Industrial Cercecera S.A.
Tona is a Nicaraguan-American-Style premium lager beer. This beer is known for its silky taste from its blend of malts and hops. It is mellow and soothing to many who drink it.
7. Especial by Modelo
Modelo Especial is a rich, full-flavored Pilsner-style lager that claims a crisp and refreshing taste. Unique to the beers on this list, Especial has an orange blossom honey aroma with a hint of herb.
8. Victoria by Grupo Modelo
Victoria is a Pilsner-Vienna-style beer, known as the most traditional beer out of the Modelo brand. The bitter and robust flavor is surprisingly light and pleasant.
9. Sesión Cerveza by Full Sail Brewing
Sesión Cerveza is a Mexican Style Lager that is light, refreshing, and drinkable. The beer is light-bodied and brewed with Celeia and Northern Brewer hops, flaked corn, and Pilsner malt. Subtle hints of lemon and spice compliment a crisp malt body.
A full-bodied lager brewed in Baja California, Mexico, Tecate was designed to be a thirst quencher for the locals and ended up spreading to other regions. Refreshingly crisp malt flavor and a pleasant aftertaste are the critical points in the Tecate brand.
11. Uncle Tito Mexican Lager by Rip Van Winkle Brewing Co
Winner of the International Lager category at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) 2021, Uncle Tito by Rip Van Winkle Brewing deserves mention. This light Mexican-style lager is brewed with premium malts and corn. A crisp body leads to a soft and smooth finish.
12. Tomamos by Blind Owl Brewery
Tomamos is the third-place winner of the International Lager category at the GABF 2021. While it may not be available everywhere, try this beer with maize flavor and crisp finish if you get a chance to.
Final thoughts on Corona alternatives
There are hundreds of different beer styles, and new classifications and sub-styles get invented all the time. Whether pairing different beers with food or a kicking back with cold one after a hard day’s work, different beers have different flavors for a reason.
Mexican-style lagers in particular are known for flavor profiles that are light, refreshing, and incredibly easy to drink. With that said, these 12 different beers are just a few of the many you should try if you can find them. Next time you're about to get a Corona, consider one of the above beers instead.
I hope you enjoy trying out these beers, and find a new Mexican-style lager you love!