Negra Modelo has long been the dark beer alternative for Mexican beer drinkers. It is a dark lager with some fascinating and complex flavors. If you’re looking for a rich beer to pair with a good meal—Mexican or otherwise—this is a fantastic choice.
What Is Negra Modelo?
Negra Modelo is technically a Munich Dunkel-style lager and has been identified as one of the few surviving examples of a Vienna-style lager. That was the style which was largely replaced by Oktoberfest, a slightly lighter but no less flavorful lager, in early 20th-century European breweries.
Dunkelbiers are known to be dark. In fact, Dunkel is the German word for dark. Even as a Mexican beer, Negra Modelo follows the style quite well. It is on the lower side of the bitterness scale which typically ranges between 20 and 30 IBUs for the style. At 19 IBUs, this is a more delicate Dunkel than you may be used to, but that also plays into its origins in Mexico.
Brewed longer than the average beer, Negra Modelo has a very rich flavor. The combination of Galena hops and caramel and black malts contributes to this profile, though you may be surprised that it remains a medium-bodied beer.
Negra Modelo launched in 1925 and was first imported into the United States in the 1980s. It has since become a popular beer and a great alternative to the country’s more popular light lagers.
Brewed alongside Corona, Modelo also produces a light pilsner-style lager, Modelo Especial. Some beer drinkers prefer this to the more popular Corona.
Drinking Negra Modelo
Negra Modelo pours with an off-white, medium head. The body is clear with a rich amber color that is almost a copper.
The aroma is sweet with hints of apple. The impression at the first sip is sweet. This gives way only a bit to some bitterness from hops which gives it a nice balance. However, the bitter is not enough to break this beer from firmly being categorized as sweet.
Negra Modelo has no real lager snap at the end, just lingering hops. This actually makes the second sip more balanced than the first. It’s as if the beer gets better with each sip.
You will find some complexity and depth here, but the flavors are very delicate. They are obliterated by the aggressive flavors of the Mexican cuisine that Modelo is often served with, making it a sweet balance to the savory and sometimes hot cuisine.
A dark lager such as this is best when served very cold. You will also find that lager from Modelo makes a fantastic base for the popular Michelada cocktail.
- Munich Dunkel-style lager brewed with galena and super galena hops, caramel and black malts, and two- and six-row barley.
- Brewed by Grupo Modelo (Corona) in Mexico City, Mexico
- Brand owned by Constellation Brands
- IBU: 19
- 5.4% ABV