Saturday, December 5, 2009

Modelo Especial (2009 original review)

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - MAR 28, 2010
When most Americans think of Mexican beer their mind almost immediately goes to Corona – a hip and trendy lager that is always served with a lime wedge in the neck of the bottle. But what about the rest of the field? If we look at Modelo Especial (also by the brewers of Corona), the comparison isn’t pretty. This is a beer that’s brewed just as poorly and just as cheaply as many American macro lagers and tastes equally bad – so what’s the point?

What’s the first thing you picture when you hear the term “macro lager”? If you think of a urine-like complexion with plenty of carbonation and a quickly-fizzling head you’re dead-on when it comes to Modelo Especial. As typical and generic as its appearance is, the aroma would be much improved by being average as it smells of grain and alcohol (which is actually quite remarkable since this is a fairly low ABV beer).


I’ve tasted many mass-market adjunct macro lagers and their “light” counterparts which have been bland and watery, but Modelo Especial takes it one step further by actually having an odd taste beyond the blandness.

Up front I get a watery composition, but the finish is dry, bitter and even more watery. There’s a strange flavor here I can’t really put my finger on. It’s somewhat metallic, but at the same time powdery. There’s an aftertaste to match which is reminiscent of the boozy quality of an imperial brew (rubbing alcohol, for example). It’s quite off-putting, but not to the point of being completely undrinkable.

In fact, the blandness of the overall palate is what makes Modelo Especial at least drinkable (and when drunk while eating a meal it’s easily ignorable and somewhat thirst-quenching).

I’ve never been a fan of lagers of this type even though I’ll be the first to admit they are easy to slug down. Modelo Especial is no exception as its watery texture and dull finish enable it to slide down the throat like water. It’s actually not crisp at all since a crisp palate might actually give it some bite. At 4.4% ABV it’s fairly light in body and pairs with a meal quite well since it won’t leave much of an impact on the drinker’s system at all.


I can’t believe I paid almost $3 for a 24oz can of this beer as its bad taste doesn’t support its value at all. However, price isn’t much of an issue since I can’t imagine affixing an appropriate price tag to this beer (free at a party maybe). There’s just no reason to buy Modelo Especial since there are better beers available for the price and better Mexican brews in general. Why bother?

Grade: 3/10

NOTE: See my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: