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Happy Michelada Day – What Are Some of the Best Michelada Beers?

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Happy Michelada Day – Some of the Best Michelada Beers

Micheladas are a staple at my house. If you’re anything like me, and you love spicy stuff, here are some of the best michelada beers you can find in Houston.

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Michi, michelada, chelada, chela, there are almost as many variations on the name of the drink as there are different ways to make it!

If you’re not sure what a michelada is, it’s basically like the beery cousin of a Bloody Mary. The vodka gets swapped for a crisp, refreshing beer, and the way it’s dressed can be as simple as a Tajin rim or as wild as the Bloody Mary monstrosities you see at posh brunch spots full of shrimp, bacon, tortilla chips, celery stalks, and a freaking shish-kebab. But they’re red, spicy, and refreshinggg.

More specifically, the mix is what makes it. When you make it on your own, it’s a spicy blend of hot sauce, lime juice, and sometimes even a splash of tomato juice (Clamato or nothing – fight me). I’ve become used to making my own mix in advance, and just keeping it stashed away in the back of the fridge, but so many better options have appeared lately! Here’s an old review of No Label’s Don Jalapeno that has a recipe of my personal mix.

Micheladas seem to be growing in popularity, and that’s good news for me! A few breweries around town have begun canning theirs. Poolside, beach, camping, etc., all of these things might involve a cooler full of beer among other things. As much as I like to make my own micheladas from scratch, there’s just no way I’m bringing all that stuff along. The canned options, like Ingenious’ Gringolada (a label that I had the pleasure of working on) and Southern Yankee’s Que Pablo are great for convenience.

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While thr pre-canned options are good, you get what you get. It still leaves me longing for a bit of creative control. Enter a pre-made michelada mix like Mambo Chelada mix

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Mambo Chelada Mix + Some of the Best Michelada Beers = Happy afternoon

One of the things I appreciate most about the pre-made mix is convenience. Unlike the pre-canned ones, I get to pick my beer and my spice level. I’ve had a few different pre-made mixes, and Mambo really hits the spot. It tastes a lot like my own personal recipe, just without the tomato juice, and with a little more zing.

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Spicy, but not too spicy. Thick enough to add some body to my michelada without making it syrupy. And most importantly of all, it’s refreshing! I also appreciate that it doesn’t completely wipe out the flavor of the beer I mix it with.

As I explained on porch.com’s article about recipe creation and home brewing, balancing a michelada mix with the right beer is similar to the balancing act a brewer has to take when choosing the right ingredients for their beer. I tried it out with at least two dozen beers, and here are a few that topped the list for the best michelada beers. 

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Saint Arnold Summer Pils

Saint Arnold Summer Pils = Summer time. Micheladas = summer time. The pairing was a no brainer. Every time I begin seeing these rainbow cans on shelves, I know it’s time to start making micheladas. I enjoyed one while I grilled up some tacos, and life was good. 

This summer time pilsner is light, crisp, clean, and refreshing. Pair it with some spice, and all of the above are amplified. Beware, though. You may drink a little quicker than usual!

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Ingenious Chico Crujiente Mexican Lager is one of the Best Michelada Beers

This Mexican Lager is actually the base beer for their Gringolada beer. I got to sample it one afternoon when the team and I interviewed their head brewer, James Carlyle, but you’ll have to wait another time to read that article. As good as their pre-made one is (still saving my last can of it and awaiting a restock), the base beer is my jam. I drink it both with and without michelada mix all the time. 

The super crisp finish and pronounced graininess balance really well in a Michelada. It’s no surprise that this was their choice to mix with the Gringolada recipe.

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Klaus One Helles of a Lager makes one Hell of a Michelada

Klaus makes some of the best Lagers outside of the loop (or inside of it for that matter), and nothing makes for a good chelada like a crisp, clean lager. The clean, brightness of this beer, paired with the perfect carbonation make for a terrific base beer to add some spice and zing to.

Klaus recently put some of their beer in the hands of distributors, so you might be able to grab a six pack of One Helles of a Lager for your own at-home concoctions with some Mambo Chelada mix or your own recipe. Word on the street is Klaus might even be getting new labels? We’ll see…

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Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Slaps

This is the first Kölsch on the list. A Kolsch is technically an ale, while all the other beers so far have been lagers. However, it’s the closest an ale can get to a lager, so it makes sense that it pairs so well. 

Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower is a go to in my fridge, and it has been for years. Nothing says yard cutting beer quite like a beer that literally says lawnmower on it. You gotta know that it’s light, clean, and refreshing enough to make for a good michi without being too thin or light to be overpowered. Balance is key. So are straight stripes in the lawn.

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Karbach Love Street is one of the Best Michelada Beers

While Karbach rebranded their billboard Kölsch as a blonde, it was really more about mass appeal. More people know what a blonde beer is than a Kölsch, so I get it. Look, call it whatever you want, it’s a crispy boi, and when you pair it with some good mix, it’s a spicy-meat-a-boll… or a tall drink of spicy refreshingness!

This was one of the first 20-30 beers that were ever written about on our site, and its staying power remains despite the big changes at the brewery.

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8th Wonder Instant Classic was a Classic Since Day 1

As far as Helles beers are concerned, it’s well known that this is what beer’s supposed to taste like. Beer flavored beer, amiright? Heck, Dylan from Fass proclaimed this style as his absolute favorite when we interviewed them.

“Helles. That’s what beer is. Nobody’s gonna drink a Helles and say this is the best beer I’ve ever had, but that last sip of the third liter, in the middle of the convo, you’re like yeah – this is it. This is the one.”

This beer is one that really lives up to its name with or without a michelada mix.

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Quite Possibly THE Best of The Best Michelada Beers, 11 Below Lil Snack Pilsner

I try as hard as I can to write objectively about beer. Once I meet the people that make it, that becomes a little harder. The team at 11 Below is the embodiment of my paradox. They could brew a shoe leather lager, and I’d probably love it. Heck, I do love me some shoes afterall… But the moral of the story here is Lil Snack is freaking delicious whether or not I loved these guys or I hated them.

I’m really glad to hear that this beer’s going from a seasonal release to something we can find on shelves year round because my micheladas are crying out for it! It’s as light, crisp, and clean as a summer day is long. 

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The Wild Card of the Best Michelada Beers – Martin House Sour Pickle Beer

This beer has created a lot of hype. It’s not the first pickle beer, and I haven’t had enough pickle beers to say it’s the best. However, it’s the most accessible, and it may just be the most well known regionally.

Regardless of any of the above, it makes a dang good michelada! I’ve never finished one of these without michelada mix. With it, though? Shoot, gimme 2, and call me a happy camper. I’ll finish bofum. BOFUM. IYKYK.

Something about the tangy dilly flavor of the base beer tangos so perfectly with the flavors of a michelada – both my own mix and the Mambo Chelada mix! (I tried it a few times. All in the name of science, though.) Martin House makes a spicy version of the pickle beer, and it’s delicious, but the OG pickle made a better michelada. I haven’t tried their Bloody Mary version of it yet, but I expect that it’d be pretty good too.

The Conclusion About the Best Michelada Beers

What makes a good michelada beer? Uhh… just being a beer is good enough. Heck, Josh and Chris did it with BA Stouts a while back. What makes the best michelada beer, though? Bright, clean, crisp, refreshing, beers with a dry finish and enough flavor to stand up to the heat without being too full of any other extra stuff.

So… beer flavored beer. What makes a good michelada mix, though? Not too thick. Not too thin. Spicy, but not burn your booty spicy. And the ability to take it on the road sure doesn’t hurt! 

The irony here is my love for Mexican Lagers that has been waxed poetic on this site for years and years, and if you haven’t read them already, each article has my good friend Jacob at the core of it all. Jacob has yet to get all aboard on the michelada train, but that just means more michelada mix for me! Hah! Something tells me, he’d like a few of these beers on this list if he did a blind taste test!

What’s your favorite michelada beer? Let me know in the comments below!

Beers to you, Houston. 🍻

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Anthony Gorrity
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Anthony's a Houston native, a graphic designer, and a UH Coog that loves good beer almost as much as he does his city. He's an ex-oilfield guy that spends his days doing graphic design and marketing projects for one of Houston's fastest growing companies as well as some of the coolest breweries in town. Fueled by sessionable IPAs and gangster rap, he's ticked his way through H-Town, rocking the most unusual Nikes he can find. When he's not writing for us, he's with his family or rooting for the Rockets.

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  • Saint Arnold Summer Pils - We Love Houston Beer - Beer Chronicle
    Posted at 13:16h, 27 July

    […] It’s just a beer flavored beer at the end of the day, and that’s what I appreciate most about it! It’s also killer with some Mambo’s Michelada mix. In fact, it’s one of the best michelada beers on Houston shelves! […]

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