Best Beer for Tacos: Expert Pairing Recommendations

Best beer for tacos

Learn more about best beer for tacos.

Tacos and beer are a classic combination enjoyed by many around the world. While enjoying your favorite taco, you might wonder which beer would perfectly complement your dish. The truth is, there’s no single answer to this question, as the best beer for tacos can vary depending on the flavors and ingredients used in the taco and your personal taste preferences.

To find the perfect beer for your taco, consider the various elements of the dish, such as the spiciness, the type of meat or protein, and the additional toppings like salsa or guacamole. Some beers have the ability to cut through spicy flavors, while others might complement rich, savory meats better. By understanding these factors and considering a range of beer styles, you can elevate your taco-eating experience and discover new favorites.

Understanding the Best Beer Pairings for Tacos

Best beer for tacos
Boozy Cold Brown Ale Lager in a Pint Glass

When it comes to pairing beer with tacos, it is essential to consider different beer varieties, the flavors present in both the food and beer, and how they complement each other. This section will help you understand the best beer pairings for tacos, focusing on beer varieties and matching flavors.

Beer Varieties

Several beer styles can pair well with tacos, providing contrasting or complementing flavors to enhance your dining experience.

  • Pilsners: These light and crisp beers can be an excellent choice for fish tacos, either fried or grilled, as their refreshing taste cuts through the fattiness of the fish without overpowering its delicate flavors ^[1^].
  • Weissbiers: With their fruity and spicy notes, weissbiers work well with heavier meat tacos like carnitas, contrasting the richness of the dish while still standing up to the spice of the salsa ^[1^].
  • Brown Ales: These beers are known to pair well with Mexican food in general due to their balance of sweet and bitter flavors, which can complement spiced meats and charred vegetables commonly found in tacos ^[2^].

Matching Flavors

The key to a successful beer and taco pairing lies in matching or contrasting the flavors of both elements, creating a balanced and enjoyable dining experience. Here are some general principles to follow in pairing beer with tacos:

  1. Match intensity: Pair lighter beers with lighter foods and heavier beers with heavier foods, ensuring that neither element drowns out the other ^[3^].
  2. Highlight desirable flavors: A good pairing should emphasize delicious flavors in both the beer and food, or even create new flavors not originally present in the dish ^[3^].
  3. Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try different pairings to find the perfect combination for your taste buds, as personal preferences can play a significant role in the enjoyment of beer and taco pairings ^[3^].

Remember that pairing beer with tacos is an art form and may vary depending on individual preferences. But following these guidelines on beer varieties and matching flavors should give you a good starting point to find the ideal beer pairing for your favorite taco dishes.


Ales and Their Complementing Tacos

In this section, we will explore three popular types of ales – Pale Ale, IPAs, and Wheat Beers – and their best matching tacos.

Pale Ale

Pale Ales are known for their refreshing and crisp flavors, making them an ideal choice for pairing with a variety of tacos. A classic choice for many taco enthusiasts would be the Pacifico, which is both light and affordable. These beers serve as excellent complements to spicy flavors, so consider pairing them with tacos that have a bit of heat, like al pastor or chorizo.


India Pale Ales, or IPAs, often boast more hoppy and bold flavors compared to their Pale Ale counterparts. These beers may have a slight bitterness to them that can help cut through the richness of fattier meats commonly found in tacos. Fort Point Beer Company’s Villager is a great example of an IPA that pairs well with heavier, meaty tacos like carnitas or barbacoa. Keep in mind that the intensity of IPAs may overpower the flavors of milder tacos, so stick with bolder flavors when choosing this type of ale.

Wheat Beers

Wheat beers, such as Weissbiers or Hefeweizens, offer a smooth and often fruity, citrusy flavor profile. These beers are a versatile option for pairing tacos and can handle a variety of ingredients. According to a cicerone on Serious Eats, a Weissbier would be the preferred choice over a Pilsner for heavier meat tacos. However, they also work well with lighter, seafood-based tacos, like fish or shrimp.

Remember to enjoy your tacos and beer responsibly and feel free to experiment with various pairings to discover your personal favorites.

Mexican Beer Favorites

When it comes to pairing beers with tacos, there are several Mexican beer favorites that enhance your eating experience. In this section, we will discuss the top choices: Corona Extra, Estrella Jalisco, Carta Blanca, Bohemia, and Negra Modelo.

Corona Extra

Corona Extra is a popular Mexican beer that is well-known for its clear, golden color and light, crisp taste. It pairs well with a variety of tacos, particularly those with citrusy flavors or lighter meats like grilled fish or chicken. Corona Extra’s refreshing taste balances out the spiciness found in some taco dishes, making it an ideal choice for many.

Estrella Jalisco

Estrella Jalisco is a refreshing pilsner-style beer with a smooth and approachable taste profile. This Mexican beer is a fantastic accompaniment to tacos, especially those with fresh vegetables, light protein, or seafood. The beer’s light, crisp flavors complement the spice and savoriness in tacos, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Carta Blanca

Carta Blanca is a light lager-style beer that has a balanced and crisp taste. Its smooth, easy-drinking character makes it a great option for pairing with many taco varieties. Whether you enjoy beef, chicken, or seafood tacos, Carta Blanca stands up well to robust flavors without overpowering the dish.


Bohemia is a Mexican beer available in several varieties, including a Pilsner, a full-bodied Dark Lager, and a unique Chocolate Stout. Each type of Bohemia offers a different flavor profile, making them versatile options for pairing with different taco dishes. For instance, the Pilsner is an excellent choice for lighter tacos, while the Dark Lager or Chocolate Stout can hold up to heartier options like barbacoa or carnitas.

Negra Modelo

Negra Modelo stands out with its combination of caramel, black malts, and Galena hops, offering a 5.4% ABV. This dark lager manages to be light and drinkable, making it a perfect accompaniment to a variety of taco dishes. Its rich maltiness complements the flavor of hearty meats, while its smooth finish complements any spice level.

In conclusion, the above mentioned Mexican beers are excellent choices to pair with taco dishes due to their versatility and compatibility with the variety of flavors found in tacos. So, for your next taco night, consider trying out these Mexican beer favorites.

Alternative Drinks for Taco Pairings

Alternative drinks for taco pairings
Delicious margarita on the rocks with salt on rim

In addition to beer, there are several other beverages that pair exceptionally well with tacos. In this section, we will explore some popular options, including Margaritas, Tequila, and Michelada.


Margaritas are a classic choice when it comes to taco pairings. The tangy and refreshing flavors of this cocktail, which typically consist of tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice, complement the various flavors found in tacos. A well-made margarita can help strike a balance between the spicy and acidic components of a taco, enhancing the overall dining experience. Depending on your personal preference, you can enjoy a margarita on the rocks, blended, or flavored with various fruits.


Tequila, the main component of a margarita, can also be enjoyed on its own with tacos. This distilled spirit is derived from the blue agave plant and can enhance the unique flavors of taco ingredients like carnitas, steak, and even fish. Opt for a quality tequila, served neat or with a side of lime and salt, to sip between bites. An añejo or reposado tequila is recommended due to their smoother flavors and aged profiles, which can stand up to the bold flavors of tacos.


A Michelada offers a compelling alternative to a traditional beer for pairing with tacos. This popular Mexican drink is essentially a beer cocktail, combining beer with various ingredients such as tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce, and spices. The resulting beverage is a complex and refreshing concoction that complements the flavors of tacos without overpowering them. The spice level of a Michelada can be adjusted to your preference, making it easy to customize to your desired heat level while enjoying your tacos.

Enhancing Flavors with Seasonings


Spices play a crucial role in elevating taco flavors and complementing the beer you choose. Some popular spices to consider include cumin, paprika, and chili powder. You can also use cayenne powder or red pepper flakes to add heat to your taco seasoning mix. Adjust the level of spiciness to your preference, keeping in mind that certain beer styles, like Mexican lagers and amber ales, can balance the heat and flavors of the spices.


Garlic is an essential ingredient in many taco recipes, providing depth and a savory dimension to the dish. To enhance the flavor of your tacos, use fresh minced garlic or garlic powder. When paired with the right beer, garlic can create a harmonious balance of flavors. For instance, lighter beers like pilsners may pair better with garlic-heavy tacos, as their crisp flavors can cut through the intense garlic notes.


Coriander, also known as cilantro, is another key ingredient in taco seasoning. Its bright, citrusy flavor can bring a refreshing touch to heavier, meaty tacos. Coriander pairs well with wheat beers and weissbiers, as their fruity and spicy notes can enhance the herb’s flavor. If you’re using coriander in your taco seasoning, consider a beer with similar flavor profiles to create a complementary pairing.


Lime juice can provide a zesty, tangy element to your tacos. Not only does it brighten up the dish, but it also helps to bring out the other flavors in the seasoning. Lime is especially common in fish tacos, where its acidity can help cut through the richness of the fish. When pairing a beer with lime-infused tacos, consider a citrusy beer like an IPA or a light and refreshing Mexican lager such as Pacifico. These beers can enhance the lime’s acidity and complement the overall flavor profile of the dish.

Taco Fillings and Beer Pairings


Seafood tacos, such as fish or shrimp, often benefit from a lighter beer that can complement the delicate flavors of the seafood. A good option for pairing with seafood tacos is a Pilsner, which can stand up to the spice of the salsa while not overpowering the seafood taste. For example, fish tacos would pair well with a Pilsner.

Carne Asada

Carne asada tacos consist of flavorful grilled beef, and a suitable beer pairing should complement and not overpower the meat’s savory taste. A Chile beer or an amber lager can provide a good contrast to carne asada’s spiciness, while still refreshing your palate. Sierra Blanca Brewing Company’s Rio Grande Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza would be an excellent option for a Chile beer to pair with carne asada tacos.


Carnitas, or slow-cooked pork, tacos have a rich flavor profile and fatty texture that calls for a beer that can cut through the richness. A Weissbier would be a great choice, as it can work well with heavier meat fillings like carnitas, providing a balance to their fattiness as mentioned by Serious Eats.


Shrimp tacos, similar to other seafood tacos, are best paired with lighter beers that complement their delicate flavors. A Mexican Lager would be an ideal choice, as its light citrus acidity can contrast beautifully with creamy sauces often accompanying shrimp tacos, while also resonating with the fresh lime flavor often found in shrimp taco dishes.

Choosing the Right Beer for Your Taco Party

When hosting a taco party, selecting the right beer to pair with your delicious tacos is essential for enhancing the overall dining experience. Consider the flavors of various beers and how they complement each type of taco you’re serving. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the right choice for your tacos.

Light and Refreshing Beers

To match the vibrant flavors of tacos, opt for light and refreshing beers. An excellent option is Corona, which pairs well with a variety of spices commonly found in tacos. Another good choice is Dos Equis, a Mexican beer that complements the freshness of ingredients like cilantro, lime, and avocado.

Weissbier and Pilsner

If you’re serving heavier meat tacos, such as carnitas or barbacoa, weissbier and pilsner beers are better suited. Weissbier can cut through the fattiness of the meat, while pilsner provides a balance to the spices. For fish tacos, grilled or fried, a pilsner is the ideal choice.

Chile Beer

For those who enjoy a kick with their tacos, pairing them with a Chile beer can elevate the spicy flavors. Chile beer is typically a light beer, such as a wheat, pale ale, or lager, infused with chili peppers. Consider Sierra Blanca Brewing Company’s Rio Grande Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza for a refreshing and spicy pairing.

To make your taco party a memorable culinary experience, consider offering a variety of beers for your guests to mix and match with their favorite tacos. This way, everyone can find a combination that suits their taste buds and enjoy the perfect balance of flavors at your taco party.

Additional Considerations in Beer Selection


Carbonation plays a significant role in beer and taco pairings. A beer with high carbonation can help cleanse the palate between bites, enhancing the taste of each taco. Additionally, the effervescence of carbonated beers can counterbalance the richness and spiciness of tacos. For example, a dry and effervescent pilsner might be a better choice for fish tacos, as it cuts through the fattiness and stands up to the salsa.

Dark Beer

Dark beers, such as stouts and porters, can complement the flavor profile of certain tacos. For instance, a chocolate-flavored dark beer like Bohemia pairs well with mole sauce and other savory dishes. However, it’s essential to avoid overpowering light foods like fish or vegetable tacos with intensely flavored dark beers. Aim for a balance in both the intensity and the specific flavors of the beer and taco.

Gose Beer

Gose beer, known for its slightly sour and salty taste, can be an interesting choice for pairing with tacos. The tartness and acidity of a Gose beer can work well with tacos that have a kick of lime or citrus flavors. The combination of refreshing sourness and zing of lime can enhance the overall taco eating experience. However, be cautious with exceedingly spicy tacos, as the acidity might amplify the heat.


Pilsners are an excellent choice for pairing with various taco types due to their versatility. They possess a crisp and clean flavor that complements the ingredients in a taco without overwhelming the dish. For example, pilsners can work well with carnitas tacos, cutting through the fattiness while still maintaining a refreshing taste.

Serving Suggestions

Serving suggestions
Tortilla chips, cheddar cheese dip, and tomato hot dip with a glass of beer in the background

Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips are a classic accompaniment to tacos, and certain beers pair exceptionally well with them. Pilsners, for example, can provide a perfect balance to the salty and crunchy nature of tortilla chips, as well as a contrast to the richness of meat-heavy tacos. Weissbier, with its fruity and refreshing flavors, can also be a great match. Both weissbier and pilsner can work well with carnitas and fish tacos alike, though pilsners might be a better choice for fish tacos, whether fried or grilled.

Another excellent option is a chile beer, which can complement spicy tacos and enhance the taste buds while still providing mouth-refreshing qualities. A popular chile beer for pairing with tacos is Sierra Blanca Brewing Company’s Rio Grande Pancho Verde Chile Cerveza.


When it comes to incorporating salsa into your taco feast, beer can also help elevate the flavors. To complement the spicy nature of the salsa, stick to beers with a crisp and clean profile. A well-crafted gin and tonic can also be an excellent choice to tame the heat and enhance the zesty flavors of a tangy salsa or a chicken tinga taco. Opt for high-quality gins like Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire to create the perfect flavor balance.

For a more comprehensive approach to salsa-based dishes, consider pairing with lighter beers like pale ales or lagers. These beers can work well with sweet and fruity Asian salsas, as well as citrus-flavored salsa dressings and various dishes.

Remember that matching the intensity and flavor profile of the beer with the spiciness and complexity of the salsa can make a great difference in bringing out the best in both the food and the beverages. When done right, these pairings will enhance and elevate your taco dining experience.