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The Coolest Things Happening in San Diego Beer Right Now

Crack open a cold one and get hoppy! We’re diving into the new, notable, and lesser-known in our city’s beer scene, from brewers stocking rare pours and women’s stakes in the industry to critic’s picks and the rise of sours and beer cocktails.

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Mexican lagers are hip again.

If you’ve ever downed a Corona, you’ve tasted Mexican lager. You probably haven’t had one like local craft brewers are turning out lately, though, since many only recently fell for this super-quaffable style. “I always felt like lagers got a bad rap because the big boys make lagers,” says 3 Punk Ales’ Ivan Maldonado. “A lot of us were like, why can’t we make them the way we know how?”

Derived from Vienna lagers, at some point the Mexican variant morphed into the inexpensive yellow suds that pair so impeccably with tortilla chips and lime. There’s no strict definition of what makes a Mexican lager; slightly hoppy with a dry finish, they’re faintly sweet with no trace of fruity esters. Macrobreweries may brew them with corn syrup to impart the lager’s characteristic hint of toasted maize, but craft brewers stick to adding flaked corn into the mash.

Local varieties include 3 Punks Ales’ La Flama Blanca Pale Mexican Lager, AleSmith’s Sublime Mexican Lager, and SouthNorte’s Sea Señor Mexican-Style Lager.

“In San Diego, we went through the whole awkward adolescent phase of big, bold, in-your-face beers,” says Bar Sin Nombre’s Tony Raso. “We’re finally coming out of the funk of trying to make the craziest beers.”

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