Mexican beer, also known as cerveza, is a popular alcoholic beverage enjoyed around the world. With brands like Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, Dos Equis, Tecate, and Sol dominating the export market, Mexican beer has gained an international reputation for easy drinkability with a touch of lime. However, with carbs ranging from 3.6g to 11g per 12oz serving, choosing a low carb option can be difficult for health and diet-conscious drinkers. This article will explore some of the most popular Mexican beer brands, their carb and calorie content, and nutritional information to determine which options are lowest in carbs.
Light vs. Regular Beer
When examining the carb content of Mexican beer, one of the first things to look at is whether it is a light or regular version. Light beer is brewed to be lower in calories, carbs, and alcohol content than regular beer. This is achieved by using fewer fermentable sugars during brewing to produce less alcohol, resulting in a lighter calorie and carb load. For example, Corona Light has 99 calories and 5g carbs compared to 148 calories and 13g carbs in regular Corona. Other Mexican beers like Tecate Light, Dos Equis Ambar Lager Light, and Modelo Especial Light also follow this same pattern of having significantly reduced carbs compared to their regular versions. So if you are strictly monitoring carb intake, choosing a light Mexican beer is a good starting point.
Low Calorie vs Low Carb
While light beers are intrinsically lower in carbs, some brands promote their low-calorie offerings as better options for watching your figure. For example, Sol claims their 99 calorie beer has the same fresh taste with fewer calories and carbs. However, at 11g of carbs, it is not actually one of the lowest carb options compared to other Mexican beers. When it comes to beer, lower calories does not always mean it is lower in carbs. So be sure to check the carb count specifically and not just the calorie amount.
Macro and Micro Brews
Another comparison is between macro and micro brews. Most Mexican beers that you find exported internationally like Corona are mass-produced macro brews made by huge conglomerates. Micro brews, also known as craft beers, are produced by small, independent breweries and known for more diversity and flavor. Since macro brews are made for mass appeal, they tend to be simpler, more watery, and lower in carbs, whereas micro brews emphasize bold flavors and often use more malts and sugars. So when looking at the lowest carb options, you will generally be looking at common exported macro brews. That being said, there are some low carb craft offerings like Cabotella which has only 2.6g carbs if you want to try some micro brews.
The Top Low Carb Contenders
Now that we’ve covered some of the key factors for low carb beers, here are some of the top Mexican beer brands that are lowest in carbs:
With only 5g net carbs and 99 calories per 12oz bottle, Corona Light is one of the most popular lower carb Mexican beers. It still has a light, crisp, refreshing taste but cuts the carbs of regular Corona nearly in half. It uses a blend of grain and corn rather than just barley malt, which contributes to its lighter body and lower carb amount. Corona Light is a great option for beach days and casual drinking.
Dos Equis Ambar Lager Light
Dos Equis offers a nice low carb option with their Ambar Lager Light, containing 95 calories and 5g net carbs. It is brewed with lighter malt that gives it a less hoppy, more balanced taste compared to their regular XX Lager. It still has some caramel notes while being crisp and refreshing. If you like the flavor of Dos Equis but want a lighter version, give Ambar Lager Light a try.
Brewed with corn and a blend of hops, Tecate Light has 99 calories and 4.2g of carbs per 12oz bottle. This pale light lager is a bit lighter in body compared to regular Tecate but still offers a touch of cereal flavor. Tecate keeps the calories low not through reduced alcohol content but by minimiziding residual sugars and using fewer hops. Definitely one of the lowest carb Mexican beers worth trying.
While not branded as a light beer, Pacifico Clara is another solid low carb choice with 100 calories and 4g net carbs per bottle. It has a crisp, easy drinking taste with hints of malt, hops, and mild sweetness. The use of flaked maize in brewing gives it a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel while keeping carbs down. Pacifico Clara emerged as a low cal offering but fits well in the low carb category too.
Modelo Especial Light
Modelo Especial is already known as a classic light-bodied Mexican lager, and their Light version takes it even further with only 99 calories and 3.6g of carbs. Brewed longer to remove sugars and carbohydrates, it has a crisp, smooth taste that is ideal for a hot day. Modelo Light is great if you want that clean, easy-drinking satisfaction without the higher carb load. Definitely one of the lowest carb options out there.
Low Carb Craft Beers
As mentioned earlier, craft beers often have more complex ingredients and higher carb amounts. But there are some Mexican micro brews that still succeed at being low carb:
Cabotella Brewery – Cabotella Light
This craft light lager from Ensenada contains only 64 calories and 2.6g net carbs. Cabotella Brewery uses a unique blend of hops and malts to create a crisp, balanced flavor that still finishes smooth and light. If you want to indulge in craft beer without the carbs, Cabotella Light is a great choice.
Cucapa Brewing – Cucapa Light
Cucapa Brewing from Baja California makes a blonde lager with 87 calories and 5g of carbs, aptly named Cucapa Light. It has hints of honey and fruit with a dry, easy finish. Cucapa Light is a flavorful micro brew option that won’t break the carb bank either.
Border X Brewing – Prickly Light
This cactus-infused light lager from Border X Brewing contains 96 calories and 2.5g net carbs. Brewed with real nopales (prickly pear cactus), it has a crisp, smooth body with a hint of sweet citrus. The cactus extract adds flavor while keeping sugars and carbs low. If you want to try unique craft flavors, Prickly Light is a great low carb offering.
Best Low Carb Mexican Beer Brands
To summarize, here are some of the best Mexican beer brands for low carb diets:
With 5g net carbs and 99 calories, this light version of the classic Mexican lager is perfect for a day on the beach or backyard cookout when you still want to watch your carb intake.
Dos Equis Ambar Lager Light
Weighing in at 95 calories and 5g carbs, this balanced light lager offers a crisp, malty taste while limiting carbs.
Brewed with corn and hops, Tecate Light rings in at just 99 calories and 4.2g carbs, ideal for a hot day.
Though not a light beer, Pacifico Clara contains 100 calories and 4g carbs thanks to its use of flaked maize in brewing.
Modelo Especial Light
True to its name, Modelo Light is one of the lowest carb options at 99 calories and 3.6g carbs. Crisp, smooth, and super drinkable.
This craft light lager keeps it low carb with 2.6g net carbs and a balanced, easy drinking flavor.
Comparing Carbs and Calories
To visualize the carb and calorie differences between some popular Mexican beer brands, here is a helpful comparison table:
|Total Carbs (g)
|Net Carbs (g)
|Dos Equis XX Lager
|Dos Equis Ambar Lager Light
|Modelo Especial Light
Based on nutrition data for carbs and calories, the Mexican beers with the lowest amount of carbs are:
Modelo Especial Light
With less than 100 calories and only 3.6g net carbs, Modelo Light reigns as one of the lowest carb Mexican beers.
At 4.2g net carbs and 99 calories, this light corn-brewed lager comes in a close second for low carb drinkability.
Although not technically a light beer, Pacifico Clara contains 4g net carbs and 100 calories, earning it a spot as a top low carb choice.
The popular beach beer carries 5g net carbs and 99 calories, making it one of the lowest carb options of the Corona family.
This craft light lager keeps it super low at 2.6g net carbs and 64 calories overall.
Tips for Drinking Low Carb Beer
Here are some helpful tips for choosing and enjoying low carb Mexican beers:
– Check the carb count, not just calories. Lower calorie beers aren’t always fewer carbs.
– Go for light versions of popular brands to cut around 50% of the carbs.
– Certain brewing methods like using corn and flaked maize result in fewer carbs.
– Stick to macro brews – they’re designed to be lower alcohol and appeal to the masses.
– Try unique craft beers like Prickly Light or Cabotella that use ingredients to reduce carbs.
– Squeeze a lime into your beer – adds flavor without carbs!
– Paloma style with grapefruit juice is another tasty low carb mixer option.
– Pair with low carb snacks like pork rinds or jerky to make a keto-friendly cocktail hour.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to Mexican beers, you can still enjoy a crisp cerveza without going overboard on carbs. Leading choices like Modelo Especial Light, Tecate Light, Pacifico Clara, Corona Light, and the craft beer Cabotella Light all come in at under 5g net carbs. So the next time the temperature rises or you hear “pasame una cerveza”, reach for one of these low carb options and stay refreshed. Salud!