250+ reviews into this thing we call the Perfectly Happy Man, it’s about time we reviewed what is in my opinion the best Mexican beer available. Negra Modelo is brewed by Grupo Modelo, a massive brewery that accounts for 63% of Mexico’s beers. Lurking in the shadows behind this big Mexican brewer, however, is American giant Anheuser-Busch InBev. They seem to have their dirty paws everywhere…

While Negra Modelo is brewed in Mexico and bears a Spanish name, it is actually a Munich-style “Dunkel” (dark) lager first brewed in Mexico by Austrian immigrants. So right off the bat it gets some props for having European roots. Negra Modelo comes in a memorable short brown bottle with a trademark gold label. And while its label is more or less ordinary, I must say that the bottle feels great in your hand … it’s the little things that make a man smile.

My lovely little lager pours a dark brown, with a shy white head that fades pretty quickly. Smells roasty and sweet thanks to those Munich malts, but the nose isn’t really a complete experience. Before drinking, I expect a medium-bodied beer, easily drinkable, malty and sweet. And upon the first sip, Negra Modelo delivers just those things. Not super carbonated, not hoppy. It’s a Munich lager through and through, adapted to be drunk in quantity. And it don’t need no stinkin’ limes.

Before getting to the grade, I want to mention a couple things that I took into consideration. First and most important is the fact that most people consider Corona to be the best Mexican beer – some nincompoops would even call it the best beer ever, anywhere. And while that is obviously preposterous to the learned beer community, I’ll point out to novices that Mexican export lagers like Corona, Modelo Especial, Sol, etc. are mass produced and historically boring. They’re just the Mexican versions of BudMillerCoors … made for people who drink beer to achieve drunkenness, not enjoy the experience, taste, and context of a beer. Negra Modelo isn’t the only Mexican beer that has character, but it’s on a very short list. A bottle of Negra Modelo next to a bottle of Corona is like Clint Eastwood next to Ryan Seacrest.

Can there be a clearer metaphor?

ABV: 5.4%

Grade: B+