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Apr 15, 2007 11:35 AM

Mexican beer

Why can't we get a good selection of Mexican beer in Toronto?

Whenever I look for it, whether in a restaurant or in a beer store, it is always the same dreary selection. Dos Equis Dark (never the light, which is made by a different brewery), Sol (which I don't think is very good) and Corona (not bad, but I think it is a bit light and flat - certainly not deserving of the reputation it seems to have).

Now, Mexico makes a vast selection of beers, some excellent. Whenever I am there, I try to get Pacifico, made in Mazatlan. This is a wonderful beer - crisp, refeshing and full of flavour. There are others, of course; Estrella and Carta Blanca to name just two.

Pacifico is made by Modelo, a huge company that could, I am sure, spare a few bottles for export here. The whole thing sounds like some stupid corporate decision - "We won't import it, because we have decided that you don't want it". Just try me.

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  1. The LCBO might be a better option than the Beer Store, as they seem more adventurous in their offerings. On the web site you can search by specific product names to see which stores carry them, and roughly how many bottles they have in stock.

    Searching on "modelo" I can see that 6 packs of a Mexican beer called Negra Modelo is in stock at many LCBOs across the city. No luck on Pacifico, Estrella or Carta Blanca, though.

    This is a shame... I've never tried many Mexican beers and I'd like to see what is on offer beyond Corona (which I agree is a watery, boring beer).

    9 Replies
    1. re: Gary

      Thanks for the suggestion, but my search of the LCBO website for all of Ontario gave me just the three beers I mentioned (plenty of Corona, Corona Lite, Corona 6-pack, etc.) plus Negro Modelo, as the name suggests, a dark beer.

      Another Mexican beer worth a mention is Tecate, which seems to be available just about anywhere in the U.S. (I last had it with a Mexican meal in a place called Livingston, Texas). That's the one traditionally served with a slice of lime, supposedly to disinfect the top of the can. Why can't we at least get this?

      1. re: ekammin

        Pacifico is also fairly widley available in the US.

        Have you tried ordering through the LCBO? They will do custom orders.

        1. re: dgrayca

          Not a bad idea, although, at the price I imagine I will end up paying, I might as well just buy some Dom Perignon.

          1. re: ekammin

            Suprisingly its not too bad.

            From the LCBO website:
            What is the cost and mark-up for Privately Ordered products?
            Typically the final cost per bottle of the product will be approximately three to four times higher than the retail price in the country of origin after application of exchange rates, LCBO mark up, freight, taxes and duty.

            1. re: dgrayca

              Of course that's only if the brewer will deal with the LCBO. Some won't if the private order is under a certain size like a skid, while some just won't period. For example don't bother trying to order Australian beers. I was in New Zealand two months ago and as usual heard lots of bile concerning the LCBO from various wine producers. People hate dealing with them and if they feel they don't have to, they won't.

              Good luck getting Estrella. Modelo wouldn't even ship it to me in California five years ago. Good news is that in the past, Pacifico has been available at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo if you are willing to drive. Call first.

              Here's their website. Click on Beer List on the left side of the screen:


              1. re: mikeb

                Is this all a discussion about the abolition of the LCBO?. I can't decide about this (as if anyone asked me).

                On one hand, I recall the dismal wine selection at some of the private liquor stores in Rochester, NY (California or nothing). On the other hand, it would be nice to have a place in Toronto that sells 741 types of beer (as Premier states they have).

                Onn something of a tangent, it is interesting to note that the LCBO now sells some wine from Moldova. However, the only Russian wine I ever tasted (it wasn't too bad) I found at a liquor store in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

                1. re: ekammin

                  This probably isn’t the right forum to discuss why I would get rid of the LCBO and the Beer Store. I just wanted to let you know that using the LCBO to private ordering small batches of beer will likely lead to a No. For wine or spirits it can be more useful.

                  If a brewer doesn’t bring the beer here already, doesn’t have representation here or one of the full-time small importers aren’t already trying to get the beer in the country then you will likely get a no from the LCBO private ordering. After confirming Premier Gourmet or similar places in Detroit has what you want, you are better going there because you know that you will get it and you will very likely pay less even after duties than you would through LCBO’s private ordering.

        2. re: ekammin

          I always laugh at the notion of silly notion of serving Mexican beer with a slice of lime. The reason that Mexicans put a slice of slime in the bottle mouth isn't to have lime with the beer - it's a method for keeping bugs from getting into the bottle when they put it down. Youprobably won't have too many flying bug problems at most places in Toronto. Of course, these was the day at Young Thaland when fruit flies fro a neighboring potted plant swarmed by basic chicken.

          1. re: wordsworth

            Really? I was in Mexico last week and some places offered lime and others didn't. And those who did brought the lime (small wedges of key lime actually) in a separate bowl. I was at a beach side bar mostly full of Mexicans and many of them put lime in their beer and a few wedges at that. As for Pacifico, I'd really like to see it available up here.

      2. IMO Mexican beers are for the most part bland and unexciting. Negra Modelo stands out above the crowd. Noche Buena is also better than average, and only available around Christmas. The Casta beers are by far the best, but I've had trouble finding them when in Mexico.

        Beer geeks rate Mexican beers from best to worst here

        1. Pacifico has been an on-again off-again listing with the LCBO for almost a decade.If it's a matter of a beer not stocked but listed, special pleading with individual managers can produce results. My local Board scored a case of hard-to-find Dogfish Head ale for me recently and held it till I showed up--surprise! Nice. No complaints from me about the LCBO.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kagemusha

            Dogfish Head is the best! Their 120 minute pale ale is awesome. Where is your local board?