A six-pack of Phoenix craft breweries serving Mexican lagers

Pedal Haus Brewery stays true to tradition, drawing inspiration from Mexico's original lager, Victoria, for its Mexican Amber Lager.
Pedal Haus Brewery stays true to tradition, drawing inspiration from Mexico's original lager, Victoria, for its Mexican Amber Lager. Pedal Haus Brewery
This Cinco de Mayo, skip cheap margaritas in favor of a Mexican-style lager crafted by one of the Valley's excellent local breweries. Some mirror the historic style influenced by German brewers, while others are influenced by the feeling of a trip to Baja. Here are six locally made lagers to try.

click to enlarge
El Capitan, Flying Basset Brewing's Mexican-style lager, has received several awards, including a gold medal from the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild for lagers.
Joshua Archuleta

El Capitan

Flying Basset Brewing
720 West Ray Road, Gilbert
This Mexican-style lager took home the gold medal for Best Lager in the Arizona Craft Beer Awards, a competition hosted by the Arizona Craft Brewer’s Guild last fall. The judges liked the cerveza so much, they also awarded it a bronze medal for Best in Show, recognizing it among all of the different styles submitted in the competition.

The lager is brewed with flaked corn to give it a tortilla flavor, light body, and a crisp finish, according to head brewer Joshua “Archy” Archuleta.

Mexican Amber Lager

Pedal Haus Brewery
Multiple locations
Drinkers who prefer Victoria or Modelo Negra will find a crafty kinship with Pedal Haus Brewing’s Vienna-style lager. The amber beer gets its color from Vienna malt and offers notes of caramel while remaining light and crisp. It's made in homage to Victoria, which was first brewed in 1865 and is said to be Mexico’s first lager-style beer.

click to enlarge
Rio Salado is a Mexican-style lager brewed by Huss Brewing Co., that pays homage to the former Rio Salado Brewing Co.
Huss Brewing Co.

Rio Salado Mexican Lager

Huss Brewing Co.
Multiple locations
There’s a story behind every beer, and this one pays homage to Tempe’s shuttered Rio Salado Brewing Co., which was located where Huss now resides.

The Mexican-style lager, which is akin to a Modelo Especial, uses Vienna malt and flaked corn. It's a nod to Rio Salado and Huss' German-brewing style and the German influences on Mexican beers.

click to enlarge
SanTan Brewing Co. has introduced a new seasonal strong lager inspired by surf trips to the Baja Peninsula.
SanTan Brewing Co.

BajaJack Salted Lime Lager

SanTan Brewing Co.
Multiple locations
SanTan’s “surfveza” leans into the beach vibes that many associate with this style of beer, thanks to Corona, Pacifico, and others.

“We don’t have an ocean," says Alejandro Fontes, head of sales for SanTan, "so let’s give them a beer that transports them to Baja, Mexico."

Joining SanTan’s JuicyJack family, the seasonal is a stronger beer – clocking in at 6.5 percent ABV – and is flavored with lime juice for an acidic bite.

click to enlarge
Tio Oso's is Uncle Bear's Brewing's best-selling beer.
Sara Crocker

Tio Oso’s Mexican Lager

Uncle Bear’s Brewery
Multiple locations
Tio Oso’s is made with pilsner and Munich malts, flaked corn, and Saaz hops which create a crisp taste and sweet tortilla flavor reminiscent of traditional Mexican lagers. It is also Uncle Bear's best-selling beer.

The lager gets kicked up a notch in a special version that uses New Mexican Hatch chiles. After adding the roasted chiles, which infuse a vegetal bite without any heat, head brewer Drew Ortega tests each batch from the Gilbert brewhouse until it’s to his taste.

La Clara Pale Mexican Lager

Wren House Brewing Co.
2125 North 24th Street
Wren House may be best known for its IPAs like Spellbinder, an award-winning, juicy New England IPA with an eye-catching and eye-crossing label. But the brewery's lager game has been consistently strong, from the popular American-style Valley Beer to its Czech lager Prašná Brána. For La Clara, the brewery’s take on a pale Mexican lager, brewers use noble hops early in the process, along with pilsner and Vienna malts and flaked corn.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sara Crocker is a food writer for Phoenix New Times. She has called Phoenix home since 2020, getting to know the Valley through every restaurant, brewery and bar she can. Her work has also appeared in Phoenix Magazine, Phoenix Home & Garden and The Denver Post.
Contact: Sara Crocker

Latest Stories