In Mexico, besides cerveza we call beer the following:

  • cheve
  • chela
  • pisto (anything with alcohol)
  • bironga
  • helada
  • fría

These are used informally.

Are there any other words used to address beer in Spanish in other countries?

  • 2
    Peruvian slangs for beer: chela, chilindrina, helada, helena, rubia
    – César
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 18:42
  • 1
    @Javi: caña confused me when I went to Spain, as caña in Argentina is another alcoholic drink, Licor de caña (de azúcar)
    – Petruza
    Commented Jan 3, 2012 at 1:11

8 Answers 8


In Spain it is very widespread to call it (colloquially) "birra" (from the Italian birra, itself from the German Bier).

Necesito una birra. (I need a beer) [slang]

You can also hear "rubia" for a lager. "Cerveza rubia" is the complete name, though informally some people call it just "rubia". The context of the sentence should make it clear you are referring to a lager beer instead of a blonde woman.

¿Me puedes poner una rubia? (Can I have a lager beer?).

And "caña" if it is a beer in a glass instead of in a bottle (which is called "botellín de cerveza" if it is small, "litrona" if it's a bottle of 1 litre). Also as Peter Taylor suggests (thanks) a third of a litre is called a "tercio" and you can use it to ask for 33cl of beer.

Quiero una caña. (I want a glass of beer)

Quiero una botellín de cerveza. (I want a bottle of beer)

Quiero una litrona (de cerveza). (I want a litre bottle of beer)

Quiero un tercio (de cerveza) (I want third of a litre of beer)

As MikMik points out there are some different names for the beer depending on the size of the glass. When the size of the glass is small (about 125 or 150cl) it is called in many ways, for example:

  • Corto
  • Zurito (name typical in the Basque Country)
  • Chato de cerveza

the name "caña" is usually for a bigger glass.

As MikMik also points out "garimba" is another term used, at least in the Canary Islands.

  • 2
    Just a note: caña refers to a normal serving of keg beer. But it is quite common to ask for "half servings" (about 125 or 150 cl.) which go by the names of chato de cerveza, zurito, corto and others.
    – MikMik
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 8:54
  • 1
    And another word I've heard for beer, though not very commonly, is garimba.
    – MikMik
    Commented Dec 29, 2011 at 8:55
  • 1
    Not to mention un tercio, which while it could be a third of anything in principle, pragmatically is usually a third of a litre of beer. Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 13:53
  • 2
    In Spain, in addition to all that has been mentioned, depending on the region and the size (and shape) of the glass, you have also tubo, jarra, tanque, cañón ("a big caña"), etc
    – user13560
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 6:59
  • 2
    In parts of Spain (at least in Cataluña, I'm not sure about other regions), quinto is more common than botellín and mediana than tercio.
    – Patricio
    Commented Dec 14, 2018 at 8:33

In Chile and Mexico: Chela:

¡Vamos por unas Chelas!  →  Let's go for some beers!


In Mexico beer is colloquially called in several different ways, here is a few ways I could think of off the top of my head:

  • Chela
  • Cheve
  • Caguama
  • caguamon
  • Caguabonga
  • Milonga (because of miller lites)
  • Una fria -Una birria (because of the close sound to beer)
  • Una Muerta
  • Una Kawasaki
  • Una ballena (in areas near the coast)
  • Una amarga
  • Un carton
  • Un sixto
  • Una heladia
  • El pisto
  • el chupe
  • Unas serpientes
  • Unas cachetonas de banqueta

That is all I could think of for now.

  • quite a lot of them! Do you know why do they call it una kawasaki for exaple? Or el chupe?
    – fedorqui
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 14:06
  • 1
    Hello there, Kawasaki is derived form the word caguama because it sounds alike.
    – Paco Lopez
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:24
  • 2
    And chupe because the Mexican colloquial expression for drinking alcoholic beverages is chupar, which actually means to suck, but colloquially it means to drink alcoholic beverages, so that's where chupe comes from. Caguama on the other hand, is a big beer bottle, although any type or size of beer can be a caguama. Caguama comes from the name of the caguama turtle, which is a gigantic turtle; the equivalent to caguama in American English would be a 40, which refers to a forty ounce beer bottle.
    – Paco Lopez
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:31
  • 1
    this is specially cool. I will ask different questions so that this info shines into specific answers
    – fedorqui
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 21:22
  • I asked a question on this: ¿Por qué se llama “chupe” a la cerveza en México?
    – fedorqui
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 10:02


  • Birra
  • Birrincha
  • Pola
  • Amargas
  • ¿En cuál lugar de Colombia usan las expresiones "birra" y "birrincha"?
    – alvalongo
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 16:52
  • @alvalongo "birra" en cualquier lugar se entiende, creo yo. "Birrincha" creo que más que la región, tiene más que ver la edad de la persona y su grado de sofisticación ;)
    – Icarus
    Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 15:07
  • no respondió, en que región de Colombia usan "birra" y "birrincha"? Nunca las he oido
    – alvalongo
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 20:06

In Spain we mostly use "birra" and "caña" (besides "cerveza").

  • Birra It's used like "cerveza", but it's more casual.
  • Caña Usually it's a beer from the tap, not a can or a bottle.

In Chile, we call a big glass of beer a shop. This is attested even by serious newspapers (e.g. here). It is not uncommon to hear Chileans say "vamos por un shop".

From this word is where a "famous" drink derives, the fanshop (a mixture of Fanta and beer).

  • I wonder if this word comes from the German word "Schoppen", which is a quarter liter of beer or wine (or cider). (There is also the French "chopine".) Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 22:09

In Mexico I have additionally encountered

  • amarga - literally, 'a bitter'; used in a similar fashion to una fria, 'a cold one'
  • chevecha - dated, less commonly used

In Cuba, lagarto or láguer (generic term for a beer, unlike English lager).

In Catalonia, quinto (historically a fifth of a litre) is used to refer to any small bottle of beer (250ml usually).

In Mexico you also have caguama and ballena (940 ml bottle).

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