Whether you’re recreating that time in Cabo or just having a relaxing day in the sun, these Mexican non-alcoholic beers will get you there without impair.
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The term “Mexican beer” is synonymous with easy-drinking, straw-colored lagers that pair well with a sunny day on the beach. As a seasoned Mexico traveler, I can attest to that. Thanks to excesses in both sun and Sol, I can also confess to a few mornings saying, ay, dios mio!
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So when I wanted to recapture that Mexican vibe without the buzz, I scoured the non-alcoholic Mexican beer landscape to find the best Mexican non-alcoholic beers on the market. Here’s what I found to be worth your time and money.
Best Overall: Athletic’s Cerveza Atletica
Athletic Brewing has perched itself atop the non-alcoholic beer landscape in North America. Their Cerveza Atletica Mexican-style lager is just another example of an NA job well done.
I’ll admit this one doesn’t mirror the typical Mexican lager, but it’s close enough for me.
Here’s the rundown:
- Look: Pours a deep copper color (hence the name, I suppose). Some might say a rich amber. Head is thick and sticks around. Good-looking pour.
- Smell: Malty and sweet with a touch of caramel. It doesn’t quite smell like a typical Mexican lager—too sweet and not as crisp.
- Taste: Malty sweetness with dark bread, maybe biscuit. True to the smell, there’s caramel flavors in there. Slightly bitter and dry on the finish. Very nice flavor and could pass for the real thing.
- Feel: Body is medium, good carbonation level. Some creaminess here. Overall, the mouthfeel is impressive for an NA beer.
Best Low-Calorie: Big Drop’s Coba Maya
For us at DrinkICD, “low-calorie” means 50 or less for non-alcoholic beers. Big Drop’s Coba Maya comes in at 37. It also packs good flavor for a non-alcoholic Mexican beer option. This is probably thanks to the hersbrucker hallertau (German noble) hops they use.
Big Drop describes it as a “lawnmower-style lager”, which does nothing for me because I pay Oswaldo to mow my lawn. (Not racist, that’s actually his name.) In any case, it’s more true to the Mexican style than Cerveza Atletica. Here’s the skinny:
- Look: The pour reveals a straw-colored lager. It’s very clear. The head is thin and doesn’t stick around long. Pretty effervescent. Looks like a Mexican lager (go figure).
- Smell: Definitely a summer lager smell. Kind of malty, but clean. There’s a little citrus on the nose, lime maybe.
- Taste: Pretty clean and crisp with some subdued maltiness. A little sweet. A bit of spice. Some floral flavors there, too. Overall, the flavor is nice and crisp.
- Feel: Carbonation is mostly small bubble. It’s a little watery, but for a 37 calorie non-alcoholic option this is a decent mouthfeel. Finish is pretty clean with a little spice.
Best You’ve Never Heard Of: Untitled Art Cerveza Sin Nombre
Untitled Art (Waunakee, WI) is known for their quirky non-alcoholic beers, which include Watermelon Gose and S’mores Dark. That lineup also includes Cerveza Sin Nombre, a Mexican-style lager made with Hallertau Blanc and Strata Hops.
For what it’s worth, this one is more “Mexican lager-y” than our favorite, Cerveza Atletica. (So was Big Drop’s Coba Maya.) In fact, it takes the title of “Most Authentic” to the style. So it turns out there’s a little slice of Mexico way up in Wisconsin.
Here are the highlights:
- Look: This one pours a pale yellow with a touch of haze. Head is full, frothy, and sticks around nicely. Hopefully this bodes well for the mouthfeel.
- Smell: I’m getting mostly corn with some citrus. Touch of floral. Very typical of a Mexican-style lager.
- Taste: A lot of corn and citrus, especially lime. There’s a touch of bitterness, but it fades quickly. Overall it’s clean and zesty. Pretty good.
- Feel: The body is light to medium, although I’d say closer to light. A little watery on the mouthfeel, but enough weight to hold up. Finish is dry and pretty clean.
Euro-Option: Estrella Galicia 0.0%
Many people outside Europe don’t realize there’s a long history of non-alcoholic beer in the Old World. Spanish outfit Estrella Galicia boasts a solid non-alcoholic light lager. It’s not technically a “non-alcoholic Mexican beer”, but close enough to the style to include here.
It’s also pretty good. Here are the notes:
- Look: Pours a crystal clear gold color with bright white foam. The head is thin to medium and doesn’t stick around long. Thin white ring sticks around.
- Smell: Nothing powerful here. Some breadiness with a little bit of earthy hops. Hints of corn and caramel.
- Taste: It’s bready and malty up front. Some sweetness. Not much bitterness, but a touch. More toasted bread on the finish. Pretty crisp and clean, overall.
- Feel: Light to medium bodied, a little watery but also a velvety touch. Moderate carbonation that’s not too prickly. Nice, lasting finish with some doughiness and sweetness. Good mouthfeel for a non-alcoholic lager.
Corona Cero (finally, a legitimate non-alcoholic Mexican beer)
AB InBev’s Grupo Modelo quickly jumped into the non-alcoholic beer space when it got hot. Unsurprisingly—and uncreatively—they tried to produce non-alcoholic replicates of Corona, a global favorite.
How close did they come to the real thing? Pretty close, actually. (There’s plenty of Corona Cero vs. Corona Extra comparisons out there, if you’re interested.)
Here are the notes:
- Look: Straw-colored pour, light gold. Medium head that holds for a bit, then leaves thin, white lacing.
- Smell: Light malt with a little sweet. Touch of citrus. Not a ton going on here, pretty clean.
- Taste: Not a ton going on here, either. There’s a sweet corn flavor with some breadiness and hints of caramel. Pretty close to the original, but lighter and cleaner. Finish is a little bitter.
- Feel: Light to medium bodied, although not excessively watery. There’s a syrupy quality here. Carbonation bubbles are small and prickly. Overall, feel is decent.
Corona Sunbrew 0.0
It seems Grupo Modelo couldn’t just replicate Corona Extra once, because they did it twice. Corona Sunbrew was launched in January 2022. Good thing for us, because we needed another genuine non-alcoholic Mexican beer on the list. (You know, one actually from Mexico.)
Compared to Corona Cero, SUNbrew has a neat twist: it’s packed with Vitamin D, just like SUNshine. (They’re clever, aren’t they?) It’s worth checking out.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Look: It’s straw-colored, like Corona Cero and Corona Extra. But maybe a touch darker. (Or maybe it’s cloudy outside.) Medium, white head.
- Smell: Those light malty notes are there. Little bit of citrus.
- Taste: Similar to Corona Cero and Corona Extra, but maybe a little hoppier.
- Feel: Light to medium bodied. Most important feel note: I feel stronger and healthier because of the Vitamin D. Winning.
Passable: Sol Cero (But maybe pass.)
If you’ve been to Mexico even once, you’ve probably had the chance to drink Sol. The Sol line is brewed by Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma. (Mexico’s “other” brewery that exists in the shadow of Grupo Modelo.)
Sol Cero is Mexico’s first non-alcoholic beer (congrats!), originally launched in 2007. To me, Sol Cero is clearly dead last on the list of best Mexican non-alcoholic beers. But since it was first and is a legitimate Mexico product, I’ve included it here.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Look: Another straw-colored Mexican lager. Medium head, a little soapy maybe. Head sticks around for a little bit, not long though.
- Smell: Definitely cornsweet with some citrusy notes. There’s more skunk in here than any of the others. Doesn’t smell great.
- Taste: Definitely corn in the flavor profile, with a good amount of skunk. Light maltiness. Maybe a little metallic. It’s not great, but get it ice cold and you can enjoy one. (ONE.)
- Feel: Light bodied and pretty thin. Feels watery in the mouth. Carbonation doesn’t really show up, just hides in the background. Maybe straight out of the bottle is better. (I poured mine.)
Not sure if you noticed, but it’s difficult building a list of the best Mexican non-alcoholic beers. First, a lot of the Mexican-style non-alcoholic beers aren’t from Mexico. So you have to open the door to non-Mexican products. Then, there are some that come close to the style, but put twists on it.
We took a broad perspective on the category, so there’s plenty to review. Athletic Brewing Company’s Cerveza Atletica definitely stood out (as do most of their non-alcoholic beers).
If you’re a fan of the style, also try Big Drop Brewing’s Coba Maya and Untitled Art Brewing’s Cerveza Sin Nombre. And when they’re back in stock you’re obligated to sip a Corona Cero, even if it’s just to compare with Corona Extra (the real thing).