Negra Modelo: Best Beer in Mexico
Rich, Malty Negra Modelo is Best Beer in Mexico
At A Glance
Beer: Negra Modelo
Pros: Rich robust malt profile
Cons: Anheuser-Busch owns a percentage of Grupo Modelo
Negra Modelo is one of the richest tasting, most robust beers in Mexico. A complex beer, redolent with caramel and chocolate flavors from the malt, the beer is perfectly balanced with a bit of spiciness or nuttiness in the hop aspects of its flavor profile. The beer is brewed by Grupo Modelo, headquartered in Mexico City, with breweries throughout the country.
Negra Modelo probably fits most comfortably in the Munich Dunkles category, although I’ve also heard arguments that it could be considered a Vienna-style amber. I feel that the beer is too black for a Vienna and that it has too much roast malt character to compare well with other Viennas, so I consider it a dunkle. (In some states of the U.S. the beer has the words “dark ale” on the label. This is only due to certain state liquor regulations. The beer is definitely a lager. In fact, Modelo makes no ales.)
I drink this beer frequently in Mexico — it is my favorite of all Mexican beers. I also buy it often in south Texas where it sells well and is always fresh. I have only sampled bottled versions.
Appearance: Very dark, almost opaque black. Probably about a 20 on the SRM color scale. Very well conditioned, but not excessively gassy. Light, tightly-formed head when poured into a glass. No appearance flaws.
Aroma: Nutty and spicy are my initial impressions, followed by a very complex malt aroma with some toasty and chocolate elements. No aroma flaws noted.
Flavor: Complex malt flavor hits me right off with lots of the biscuit-like characteristics that I associate with Munich malts. Some chocolate flavors and maybe a hint of dark currant. The malt/hops balance is right on target with a little bit of the spicy character that I associate with European noble hop varieties. The hops are assertive, but never really dominate. There may be just a hint of low diacetyl, which I suspect only because of the full rounded mouthfeel of the beer, not because of any flavor flaw. The beer tastes quite clean.
Negra Modelo is an oustandingly well-crafted beer and is probably the single best beer produced by any mega-brewery on the American continents. (It is certainly head and shoulders over anything in the U.S. or Canada). The quality of this beer can, I think, compare favorably with some of the great lagers of southern Germany. Good stuff!