Modelo Especial is Mexico’s most popular canned beer. That should be all you need to know. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of that little fact until too late. You have no excuse. Don’t waste your money on this swill.
I enjoyed their Modelo Negra, so I was almost looking forward to trying this version. The Especial is some sort of lager. I’m not sure exactly what kind -- they don’t seem to worry much about holding to specific brewing categories south of the border. Beer is beer, si?
It makes sense that Mexicans would want their beers to be refreshing thirst quenchers suitable for warm weather. That’s exactly what the Especial is trying to be. I suppose if I was crawling through a desert, I wouldn’t say no to having one. But it’ll be easy enough to pass up when I’m just perusing the beer aisle.
It comes in the same squat bottle as the Negra, but it’s clear glass. A bad start. Chances are high you’ll get one that’s at least slightly skunky. It’s a golden beer, maybe a tinge darker than most, but still fairly light in color. There is absolutely no head to speak of, even if you splash it into a glass.
Once you get past the inevitable skunk, there is some sweet
malt right up front. That’s kind of surprising. I was expecting
it to be almost all hops and taste about like any macro.
The malt sets it slightly apart. It’s not necessarily a good
point, just an unusual surprise. At any rate, the hops do
kick in at the back and the sweetness is soon lost. It’s
a watery beer, and what little bit of flavor that fights
through is gone in an instant. Just as well, really.
I can see them pushing this stuff at Mexican restaurants. It might cut some of the heat of the peppers -- at least as well as a glass of water. If you’re eating something mind-blowingly hot, you aren’t going to be able to enjoy any quality beer anyway. You might as well just drink this stuff. That’s about the only time I could recommend it.
Modelo Especial is the most popular canned beer in Mexico because it’s cheap there, not because it‘s good. It’s only slightly less expensive than most other imports here. Why anyone would knowingly choose it is beyond me. It tastes like a weak, cheap, bog-standard beer. If you want something with as little flavor as possible, opt for the cheaper macros. If you want a decent import, pick up almost anything else on the rack. If you find yourself in a habenero-eating contest and need something to wash them down -- this is the beer.