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Mexican-Style Lagers

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There's a reason Mexican cerveza is associated with summer. Those lightly hopped, lightly carbonated, low alcohol lagers are the perfect quaff when things heat up. With apologies to our south-of-the-border friends, American craft breweries—having taken the style to heart—are producing some admirable results. Here are three worthy examples, all under 5 percent alcohol by volume.

Epic Brewing Los Locos Mexican-Style Lager, $1.70-$2

This cloudy, straw-colored brew throws a decent egg-white head that collapses quickly. Smells like Lemonhead candy tastes, but with a bit of cracker, salt and lime (not surprising, since they add lime juice and salt to the brew). Creamed corn flavors come through on the palate, punctuated by that lime and salt. Break out the tacos.

Pelican Brewing Pelicano Extra! Cerveza, $4.50-$5.80

A pale golden pour with a thin head that leaves little lacing. The yeasty, fresh bread aromas are backed by just a hint of hops. There's a definite sweetness to the palate, but more like fresh fruit than sugar, and it's nicely balanced by a citrusy tartness on the finish. Light carbonation makes for an easy drinking, completely refreshing, hot summer day bomber.

21st Amendment El Sully Cerveza, $1.60-$1.90

A rich head tops this very pale, slightly hazy, lemonade colored lager. The nose is a combo of biscuit, grain and corn flake with a bit of herb-laced spice. In the mouth, it opens with a hit of malt sweetness that's backed by toast, buttered popcorn; spicy apple fruit; and a hint of hops. Stylistically, more like a pils than a Mexican lager.