In recent times, I’ve embarked on a journey through Mexican lagers crafted by American craft breweries. It’s an interesting space where some brewers opt for a Vienna lager approach, while others tread the path of a pale lager. The common denominator? Flaked maize inspired by Mexican macros like Negra Modelo and Modelo Especial, and the occasional addition of salt and lime to mimic the Corona Extra experience. Belching Beaver Brewery, not content with releasing just one Mexican lager this year, introduced Buenos Tiempos, a commendable pale lager. Then came Dia De Los Deftones, essentially following the same recipe but adding dehydrated lime juice to the mix. Dia De Los Deftones, part of a collaboration series with the band The Deftones, had some big shoes to fill, with predecessors like the Digital Bath hazy IPA and Phantom Bride IPA setting a high standard.


Pouring Dia De Los Deftones into a glass reveals a crystal clear straw-colored liquid, crowned with a substantial, bright white foam. The head lingers for about a minute, leaving behind a protective, thin layer. The can label deserves a shout-out for its striking, Frida Kahlo-inspired artwork, although it somewhat boldly keeps all vital beer information relegated to the back label.


The aroma experience kicks off with an explosion of intense lime zest that grabs your senses immediately. Even with a bit of age on it, the citrus oils burst forth with raw and unapologetic vigor. However, beneath this lime extravaganza lies a relatively unexciting base beer. Rich malt nuances seem to be lost in the shadow of this one-trick pony.


Taking a sip, you’ll be met with a hefty dose of lime zest right off the bat, overshadowing the somewhat lackluster base beer. Any complex malt flavors seem to be playing a disappearing act here. The beer finishes dry but not without a touch of roughness around the edges. The bitterness, possibly accentuated by the lime, has a certain sharpness to it. The end result? A beer that starts off fun but eventually spirals into a gimmicky, one-dimensional experience. It maintains its refreshing quality, though, without veering into the realm of medicinal or acrid lime overload.


The mouthfeel is relatively straightforward. It’s not a heavyweight in terms of body, and the carbonation is moderate, providing a decent balance. The lime presence adds an interesting twist, but it doesn’t significantly alter the texture.


Dia De Los Deftones undeniably achieves what it sets out to do, delivering a potent lime punch both in aroma and flavor. However, when compared to its non-lime counterpart, Buenos Tiempos, my preference leans toward the latter. Buenos Tiempos manages to avoid the gimmicky trap, allowing you to savor the flaked maize flavors beneath the surface. Yet, it’s worth noting that the lime-infused flavor is likely what the general public expects when ordering a “Mexican lager.” Handing someone a pale lager brewed with corn and rice, while authentic in its own right, may not be attention-grabbing enough for the masses.

In conclusion, my sentiments are mixed. While the salt/lime combo does align with the American perception of a Mexican beer experience (think Corona with lime), I find myself favoring the recipes that emulate Negra Modelo and Modelo Especial for their authenticity. However, authenticity may not always translate into commercial success, and this is where Dia De Los Deftones finds itself at a crossroads.

Similar Beers

If you’re on the hunt for similar brews, Epic’s Los Locos Lager and Stone’s Buenaveza Lager could be worth exploring. For those seeking a refreshing lime-infused beer, Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench Ale remains a top pick, while Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez Lime & Agave also deserves a mention. Do keep in mind that the latter two have noticeable acidity, as they belong to the gose style rather than the pale lager category.