Is a Mexican lager a Vienna Lager?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Mexican lager is indeed related to Vienna Lager, but it has evolved over time to become its own distinct style. The origins of Mexican lager can be traced back to the late 19th century when German immigrants brought their brewing techniques to Mexico. They introduced Vienna Lager, which was a popular style in Europe at the time.

Vienna Lager is characterized by its amber color, malt-forward profile, and a slightly sweet, toasty flavor. It is a well-balanced beer with a moderate hop bitterness. However, when this style made its way to Mexico, it underwent some changes to suit the local preferences and ingredients available.

In Mexico, corn (or maize) is a staple crop, and it played a significant role in the development of Mexican lager. Brewers started adding flaked maize to the traditional Vienna Lager recipe, which had several effects on the beer. Firstly, the addition of corn slightly dries out the beer, giving it a crisper finish compared to the original Vienna Lager. This dryness makes it a refreshing choice, particularly in warm climates.

Secondly, the use of corn enhances the beer’s clarity. Corn has a low protein content, which helps to reduce haze and improve the beer’s overall appearance. This clarity is highly valued in Mexican lagers, as they are often enjoyed with a wedge of lime or lemon, and the clear, golden color showcases the vibrant citrus garnish.

It’s important to note that not all Mexican lagers contain corn, and some variations have moved away from the traditional Vienna Lager base altogether. However, many of the well-known Mexican beer brands, such as Corona, Modelo, and Dos Equis, still maintain the use of corn in their recipes.

Mexican lagers have become popular worldwide due to their light, crisp, and easy-drinking nature. They are often served ice-cold and are perfect for hot summer days or accompanying spicy Mexican cuisine. The addition of corn adds a subtle sweetness and a unique flavor profile that sets Mexican lagers apart from other styles.

While Mexican lagers have their roots in Vienna Lager, they have evolved into their own distinct style. The addition of corn, along with other modifications, has created a beer that is uniquely Mexican. Its crispness, clarity, and refreshing qualities make it a beloved choice for beer enthusiasts around the globe.