Whether homemade or bought at a nearby Mexican restaurant, tacos and beer is a favorite Mexican spicy food combo amongst foodies, casual diners, and connoisseurs alike. But with over 40 different taco recipes available and an ever-expanding list of craft beers to boot, how do you choose the best beer with tacos?
Well, this blogpost highlights the best taco pairings with a pilsner or a pale ale, classic Mexican beer, American IPA, brown ale beer, and numerous other brews. We offer you invaluable tips in choosing the best beers to pair with an array of Mexican cuisine from shrimp tacos, nachos, carnitas, chicken fajitas, grilled fish, and more.
In the end, you can’t go wrong when pairing the best Mexican fried foods with caramelized, citrusy, or your favorite refreshing beer on your next taco Tuesday. Without a doubt this year, you’re going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a classic pairing guaranteed to get your taste buds tingling.
Top Beer Styles To Pair With Tacos
One of the first things to consider when you need a beer that’s a good match with a chicken or beef enchilada covered in spicy mole, tangy cilantro, or cheese and creamy sauce, is the brew’s IBU(international bitterness unit).
A product of carbonation and caramel malt, the notable bitterness and slightly sweeter taste of darker beers like Negra Modelo is why this beer is the perfect pairing partner with Mexican dishes.
While other Mexican-style beers like Tecates, Pacifico, and Corona have lower bitterness, these brews feature a lot of carbonation that cleanses your palate by cutting through the mouth-coating of fats present in meaty dishes, thereby adding a richer taste and flavor to fried foods.
With this in mind, we present some of the best brews for an exceptional food and beer match when enjoying delicious and spicy tacos with family and friends.
Mexican lagers are an excellent match for tacos, with their crisp, refreshing taste and impressive palate-cleansing capabilities. The light-bodied beers boast a subtle sweetness that washes down the spices in the tasty Mexican dish.
Aside from their low bitterness, Mexican lagers are clean, with a high level of clarity that makes them easy to drink. Countless types of these beers are available, so it should be easy to find one, depending on your preferred brand and taste.
For instance, Taco Works’ distinctly flavorful Tortilla Chip Lager, which is among the best Mexican-style lagers according to Vinepair, is perfect if you fancy natural spices with a lime scent.
Scottish Brewing History
- Rich, complex flavor profile with notes of caramel and toffee.
- Medium-bodied ale with a smooth, creamy finish.
- Perfect for sipping on a cold evening or pairing with hearty dishes like stews and roasts.
Scotch ale, popularly known as Wee Heavy, is another fantastic option to pair with tacos. With its rich sweet, and malty flavor, this dark beer can stand up to the bold tang of the Mexican treat and even bring out the fillings’ unique tastes.
Scotch ale’s alcohol content is higher, typically between 6% and 10%. This enables it to conveniently cut through the richness of fried foods like battered fish tacos, extunguishing the spicy heat from the sauces and garnishes without subduing their flavors.
Unique Flavor Profile!
You can also enjoy amber ales with different types of tacos. They boast a well-balanced blend of malt and hop profiles, delivering much-needed caramel notes to complement taco fillings’ smoky, savory qualities.
Adding to amber ale’s versatility is its ability to neutralize the richness associated with tacos while enabling it to retain its delicate flavor. Some of these drinks are even specifically suited pair with the dish, such as Eureka Brewing Company’s Tacos + Beer, with a 5.6% alcohol content.
Rich and Complex Flavor
- Rich, full-bodied stout with complex notes of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts.
- Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with a moderate level of carbonation.
- Perfect for fans of bold, flavorful beers that pair well with hearty meals and cold weather.
IPAs, or India pale ales, are another popular beer style you can have with tacos. Their bitter notes have a cooling effect. Combined with their hoppiness, the drinks balance the spicy taco flavor to refresh your palate.
11 Below Brewing’s Big Mistake is a good example of a perfect IPA for taco lovers. It offers a complex malt-forward profile that transcends the fattiness of taco meats like pork.
Pilsners and tacos are a winning pair, and for good reason. These floral, herbal beers are light-bodied, and refreshing, explaining why they go so well with different taco flavors.
We recommend the Cerveceria Colorado’s Que Buena Mexican-Style Lime Lager, a classic pilsner featuring bright citrus notes that superbly complement even the hottest tacos.
Tips for Finding the Perfect Beer for Tacos
What’s the criteria for selecting the right beer for your next taco night? Let’s find out.
Consider the Spice Level
The dish’s spice level is the first thing to factor in when choosing the best beer for your tacos. Too much heat can overpower the flavor of certain types of beer, leaving you with an unpleasant taste.
Pick an IPA or a slightly sweeter American ale for spicier tacos like chipotle beef or chicken tinga to complement the rich, hot flavor.
If you’re enjoying milder fish tacos or veggie options, a light Mexican lager like Tecate or Modelo can be an excellent choice because it’s refreshing.
Match the Meat
When pairing beer with tacos, the type of meat in the dish also plays a significant role. For example, lighter meats like fish and chicken go well with Mexican lagers or pilsners because they have a crisp, refreshing taste to match the meat’s delicate flavors.
On the other hand, fattier meats like steak and pork require full-bodied beers such as amber ales or Scotch ales that contrast well with their rich, juicy tastes.
Conversely, spicy meats like chorizo call for hop-forward beers like IPAs becasue they can quell the heat without repressing their bold flavor profiles.
Complement the Toppings and Ingredients
You should also consider your tacos’ toppings and ingredients when pairing beer with the dish. If yours has too many spices, it deserves a drink with a hoppy flavor, like a crisp Mexican lager or an American pale ale.
Opt for light beers like pilsners or slightly sweet amber ales for fish tacos since they won’t suppress the taste of the mild-flavored meat. Belgian beers are ideal for vegetarian taco options with creamy sauces or cheese-filled toppings.
Savour Tacos with a Beer
Undoubtedly, pairing the right beer with tacos can elevate your dining experience. From Mexican lagers to hoppy IPAs, you have many options to try out until you find your perfect match.
Of course, you must consider variables such as the meal’s spice level, meat type, and toppings. Your preferences will also come into play here, but feel free to discover new pairings—they might surprise you!
FAQs on The Best Beer With Tacos
What type of beer pairs best with tacos?
Light lagers or pilsners usually go well with tacos because they complement the dish’s spicy flavor.
Can I pair any beer with any type of tacos?
There are various guidelines for pairing beers with tacos. But ultimately, it’s up to personal preference. While some people like a hoppy IPA with spicy carne asada, others savor crisp wheat beer with fish tacos.
Is it mandatory to combine Mexican beer with tacos?
Pairing a Mexican beer with your favorite tacos is okay, especially now that craft breweries offer so many options. But you can have each separately if you don’t particularly like the combo.
Should I choose a cold or room-temperature beer with my tacos?
Most beers are served chilled, usually between 38° F and 55° F, and still pair well with tacos. But if you’re looking for something unique, try matching your treat with an unfiltered yeast-based brew served slightly warmer than traditional lagers (around 50-55°F). It’ll accentuate the tacos’ complex flavors and aromas without overwhelming your palate.