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Style Profile: Mexican Amber Lager

On one side of the beer fridge you have your Vienna Lager. It’s brewed with the finest Vienna and Munich malts for a dry and malty body balanced by firm hop bitterness. Developed in 1841 after Anton Dehrer outfitted his Austrian brewery with an English-style kiln, it’s the original amber lager.

Over on the other side of the fridge is the Mexican Amber Lager. This offshoot of the Vienna concoction came about later in the 19th century, when Austrian brewers who had relocated to the New World began riffing on recipes from back home.

The Mexican Amber differs from the traditional Vienna Lager in its use of caramel malts and unmalted adjuncts such as flaked maize. Often lumped in with other International Amber Lagers, the Mexican variety is a beautiful copper-colored malt machine with easy-drinking notes of toast, occasional traces of adjuncts like corn, and occasionally slightly spicy hops. Malty sweetness often takes center stage over bitterness.


Modelo Negra is a flavorful and popular example on the darker end of the color spectrum. Dos Equis Amber, Victoria, and Oskar Blues Beerito could fill the cooler for your next taco night. With these styles you’ll typically see 25 BUs or less and ABV around 4.6-6.0%. When you’re ready to build up that grain bill, we recommend starting with Gambrinus Vienna Malt.

Gambrinus Vienna Malt

Occupying the toasty territory between Pale and Munich malts, Gambrinus Vienna is a mellow-kilned malt with balanced bready character and notes of honey, toffee, and caramel baked in. With a gorgeous golden color, it’s excellent for boosting depth without sweetening the whole dang pot. Produced in Armstrong, British Columbia, Gambrinus is Canada’s original small-batch, artisanal malthouse.

Other Ingredients You’ll Need

Flaked Maize

German Select

Fermentis SafLager W-34/70

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