What Kind of Beer is Modelo Especial? Full Guide

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Modelo Especial is an American Lager. The style has roots in the pilsner style lager beers from Germany or the Czech Republic but utilizes adjunct grains to lighten the body and flavor for a refreshing taste.

What Makes Modelo Especial an American Lager?

Wait a minute. How is Modelo Especial an American lager when it is brewed in Mexico? Isn’t this beer a Mexican beer? 

European brewing has influenced both the United States and Mexico. German and Austrian immigrants brought their knowledge of brewing when they settled all over North America, including places like Mexico City and Saint Louis, Missouri. 

Brewers in these new lands found that ingredients, like barley malt, were slightly different or challenging to come by but improvised with North America’s abundance of corn and rice to craft beers with a crisp taste.

Thus, Mexican and American lagers are similar in style but distinct from all-malt European style beers like a rich full flavored pilsner. Another style possibility could fit in International Pale Lagers, but Modelo Especial lacks the hop character to fit this category.

Modelo Especial Flavor?

Reviewer Andy Sparhawk didn’t mind Modelo Especial at all

This flagship Modelo beer exhibits well balanced taste due to a lightly toasted malty flavor and light hop character.

The medium light body accentuates the highly carbonated beer with a short, crisp finish. While subtle, a low level of hops with just a hint of herb comes through in the taste, and a slight corny sweetness complements a fruity, orange blossom honey aroma. 

Modelo Especial Brewing Process and Ingredients?

Especial is brewed in Nava, Mexico, by Grupo Modelo. Anheuser Busch Inbev owns Modelo beers worldwide except in the United States, where Constellation takes control and distributes through Crown Imports. The beer is brewed as a lager with the “highest quality” ingredients and extended aging. 

How Many Calories in Modelo Especial?

Especial lists 143 calories per serving and 4.4 percent alcohol by volume. Alcohol significantly affects how many carbs a beer has, which in this case is 13.6. See here more for Modelo Especial calories and nutritional information.

Best Way To Drink Modelo Especial?

Most lager beers taste the best when stored properly and served cold. Modelo is known for its unique, clear bottle with gold tin. Drinking the beer directly from the bottle is appropriate, perhaps with a lime wedge as a garnish. 

he light, clean finish and low bitterness make Modelo a strong candidate for beer cocktails, and the spicy Modelo chelada has become a very popular way to enjoy this beer. 

What To Eat With Modelo Especial

green and white dish on black ceramic tray
Photo by Anthony Espinosa on Unsplash

Modelo will work great as a partner to authentic Mexican dishes, quelling heat and cleansing the palate. I also like this beer with seafood, particularly shellfish, and it would be great with steamed clams, grilled oysters, or a Maryland-style crabcake. 

What Do Other People Think?

Despite its popularity, Modelo is not highly regarded by beer geeks. 

ReviewerModelo Especial 
Untappd3.12 out of 5
Rate Beer2.05 out of 5
Influenster4.51 out of 5
Beer Advocate67 (poor)

Other Beers that are like Modelo Especial

Final Thoughts on Modelo Especial

Model is the best selling imported beer in the United States. It is a light beer that appeals to the masses, so it makes sense that it has taken over this spot from Bud Light. It is a good beer but lacks character and flavor. It will work when you need a cold one on a hot day.  

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Andy Sparhawk is an avid beer lover and the former editor-in-chief for CraftBeer.com. Andy is the lead writer for The Beer Babe and lives in Westminster, Colorado, with his family. As beer enthusiast and experienced beer judge, he loves sharing his experiences with The Beer Babe's dedicated audience of beer enthusiasts.