This weekend is Cinco de Mayo, during which many a Texan will enjoy a Modelo or Tecate or seven. But this is Texas, which shares a border with Mexico and which used to, in fact, be Mexico. Around here, we've got a big love of Mexican-style beer — and a ton of locally produced homages to the style.
To better understand what to look for, beer lovers must first understand what makes a Mexican-style beer. Toward the end of the 19th century, German and Austrian immigrant brewers began to settle in upper parts of Mexico and what is Texas today, where they brewed their homeland favorite Vienna-style lagers. This style has now become the prominent Mexican style we see filling store shelves today, and American drinkers are ravenous for these crisp, refreshing beers.
This style provides a copper hue with roasted malt flavor and a crisp, refreshing finish that is perfect for sweltering Texas and Mexican summer days. Although there is a huge following of Mexican favorites, there is also a great selection that has been on the rise in recent years in Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are some locally produced, Mexican beer-inspired brews to reach for when in need of something cool and crisp on a hot Texas day.
Legal Draft Beer Company’s You’ve Been Cerveza’d
Mexican-style lager, 5% ABV
500 E. Division St., Arlington
Legal Draft’s first Mexican-style brew comes with a nice amber color, providing toasted malt notes. Each sip features hints of roasted grains and cereal-like characteristics with a nice hop bite toward the end. It finishes crisp, paving the way for another indulging gulp.
BrainDead Brewing Company’s Cerveza Oscura
Mexican dark lager, 4.7% ABV
2625 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
This brew is available only at the BrainDead Brewery taproom and sits on the darker side of things, with a dark amber color and a medium-light body that gives off roasted notes and a subtle brown sugar character. Each sip presents flavors of toasted bread and light brown sugar with a touch of caramel that is overall balanced between sweet and toasted, pairing perfectly with some beef tacos.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Neato Bandito
Mexican-style lager, 6% ABV
2823 Saint Louis St. (Deep Ellum)
Just down the street from BrainDead, Deep Ellum Brewing is serving up a beer with a stout ABV level compared with its counterparts. The beer has an amber hue and a medium-light body that emits aromas of lightly toasted bread with a slight citrus quality. This beer presents lightly toasted attributes with a subtle sweetness and mild tartness that finishes off dry and clean, pairing well with some chicken nachos.
903 Brewers’ Cerveza Por Favor
Mexican-style lager, 4% ABV
1718 S. Elm St., Sherman
This one scales down on both the ABV and color, with a straw appearance providing whiffs of citrus notes, lightly toasted bread and lime peel. It's got plenty of citrus and light malt flavors that are balanced and light while finishing off dry and refreshing. Pair this light beauty with some fish tacos and rice and beans.
Lakewood Brewing Company’s Muy Importante
Margarita Mexican-style lager, 4.7% ABV
2302 Executive Drive, Garland
This new release — a part of Lakewood’s small-batch release series — has a golden hue and medium-light body with a complex array of aromas including citrus notes, agave, hints of lime and sea salt with a bit of orange peel. It's a smooth session brew that presents notes of fresh bread and sweet agave with a touch of salt and a tart-like attribute that finishes off clean and refreshing. Don’t be afraid to venture out in pairing options with this lager, as you could go with some spicy queso to contrast or some Mexican candies to enhance.
Hop Fusion Ale Works’ Tejano Lager
Mexican style-lager, 5.6%
200 E. Broadway Ave., Fort Worth
This golden-colored beauty is a medium-light bodied brew that smells like fresh whole grains, citrus hops and lime peel. Initial sip provides light toasted notes with a touch of lime that finishes off clean and crisp with a subtle bitterness at the end. Available at the brewery taproom and surrounding pubs and pairs well with some lime drench grilled chicken fajitas.
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Four Corners Brewing Company’s El Grito Lager
Tex-Mexican lager, 4.4% ABV
1311 S. Ervay St. (The Cedars)
Four Corners sought to blend traditions with their El Grito Tex-Mex lager, which has a light golden hue that emits aromas reminiscent of corn flakes accompanied by earthy characteristics, sweet melons and citrus tang. Flavors of light toasted malts, lemon and lime are followed by a subtle sweetness that finishes off balanced and refreshing. This Tex-Mex lager would pair well with brisket tacos and a bit of lime.
Rahr and Sons Brewing Company’s Adios Pantalones
Session lager, 4.5% ABV
701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth
Unlike the typical Mexican-style lager, this brew presents plenty of citrus flavor and aromas that is light and refreshing, perfect for the warmer Cinco de Mayo Day celebration. This brew provides a thin white head and a slightly hazy, golden hue that gives off citrus notes with a touch of spicy white bread characteristics that finishes off dry and clean, and pairs great with some lemon-peppered chicken wrapped up in corn tortillas.