What Does Modelo Taste Like? (Flavors and Tasting Notes)

What does Modelo taste like? What does it smell like? What does it look like?

Modelo tastes mildly sweet and has an upfront corn taste. It has a subtle hop finish. It’s opaque and golden in color with a small and thin white head. It’s fizzy and with a crisp and clean mouthfeel.

Continue reading if you’re wondering exactly how Modelo looks, smells, tastes, and feels. Find out what temperature to drink Modelo at, how you should drink it, and the best glass to drink it in.

For you homebrewers, take a peek at our clone recipe on how to brew Modelo Especial.

We’ll leave you with the best food pairings for this beer, as well as a summary on all things Modelo Especial. 

Tasting notes and flavors for Modelo

Modelo Especial is a Mexican lager. It came to be when German brewers were living in Mexico and started commercial brewing of this cerveza. Although it’s a Mexican beer, it has become a very popular drink in the states.

Modelo has a sweet, corn-like taste with a hop finish that just makes its way through. It smells syrupy and compliments the taste very well. It has a thin nose that transfers seamlessly to the tongue. It’s opaque and golden with small bubbles floating up to its small, short-lived white head. It has a bubbly mouthfeel and crisp, clean taste.

For further determining what Modelo tastes like, we’ll be taking a closer look at the fundamental characteristics of beer: taste (obviously), aroma, appearance, and mouthfeel.


This light lager is heartier with a bit more flavor than other imported pilsners. Its upfront taste is malty and almost bread-like. There are hints of corn and grass throughout the rest of the sip. It has a very subtle hop finish.

It’s a light, easy-drinking beer with no harsh characteristics and a refreshing taste.


Like the taste, there is a faint smell of syrup. A mild corn scent that resembles the taste very well. It has a thin smell to match the clarity of the body. 


Modelo has a very clear, thin, and golden-straw body. It has a short, bubbly white head that dissipates quickly. There isn’t much lacing on the glass because of this. When poured, its visuals, especially its strong opacity, well accentuate its taste.


Like its taste and appearance, the mouthfeel is thin with a crisp lager taste. There’s bubbly yet soft carbonation that, paired with its mild taste, makes this beer very drinkable.

If you enjoy this beer but you are interested in trying other beers that taste like Modelo then I have the resource for you!

Modelo recipe and ingredients

Modelo Especial’s secret recipe is standard among lagers and pilsners. The ingredients are as expected and can be easily replicated.

The ingredients are water, two-row barley malt, non-malted cereal, and hops. The specificity of the hops used is undisclosed by Modelo.

There are no surprises in this list, and that’s what you get in this straightforward, light, and refreshing cerveza.

To clone Modelo, it’s fairly simple. The following recipe does a great job of replicating the beer. The recipe is for a 5-gallon batch


  • 4 lb liquid malt extract
  • 1.88 lb two-row malt
  • 1 lb flaked corn
  • 0.2 lb Weyermann – CaraBelge
  • 0.16 oz Summit Hops (whole)
  • 0.31 oz Saaz Hops (whole)
  • Mexican Lager yeast

Brewing instructions

  1. Mash
    1. Starting gravity of 1.092 with a target of 1.007
  2. Boil (80 minutes)
    1. Add bittering hops at beginning
    2. Add flavor hops at 25 minutes
    3. Add aroma hops at 15 minutes
  3. Let ferment at 45℉

There are different ways to replicate this beer, but this is a good foundation. 

Modelo Style

Modelo Especial is a Mexican light lager. This pilsner is crisp and easy to drink. There are no secrets to this modern classic. Its taste is straightforward and approachable and appeals to beer drinkers of any ranking.

Modelo ABV

The pilsner style encapsulates many different beers. In general, they can range in ABV from anywhere to 4-5.3%. 

Modelo Especial’s ABV is at a comfortable 4.4% ABV.

Modelo calories and nutritional information

Modelo contains:

  • 144 calories
  • 0g of fat
  • 1.1g of protein
  • 13.7g of carbohydrates
  • 20mg of sodium
  • 90mg of potassium

How to drink Modelo for the best flavor

Modelo Especial is to be enjoyed on a hot summer day and out of a bottle or in a glass, paired with a cookout and friends. Drink it at a bar on tap or in a can at your favorite band’s concert.

How you do it is up to you, but there are some ideal situations for getting the cleanest, most crisp taste from this Mexican lager.


What’s the best temperature to drink Modelo?

Lighter beers should be served at colder temperatures. There are not as many complex flavors and aromas in lagers compared to, say, an IPA. You won’t need a temperature increase to impart any special characteristics in Modelo Especial.

Ideally, you should drink Modelo at a cold temperature; 50 ℉ – or a little lower – should do it.

Whatever vessel you prefer, just make sure it’s a cold one.

Bottle, can, or draft?

How should you drink Modelo? Should you pour it into a glass, or drink it straight from the bottle or can?

On draft at a restaurant or bar will likely be the freshest way to drink Modelo, but it’s really up to you. Those golden-sealed bottles are certainly eye candy, and they have a unique feeling in your hand when you drink them. Cans are great for storage and for cracking a cold one under the sweltering sun.

Drink this Cerveza how it was meant to be enjoyed: however you want.

Type of glass

If you decide to pour your Modelo into a glass, make sure you choose the right type.

The best type of glass for Modelo is a pilsner glass. A pilsner glass is tapered, tall, and skinny. They sometimes have a flared opening. They foster a long pour for a nice head. You’ll often see these at restaurants in 16 and 20oz versions. They work perfectly for Modelo.

Want to pour your modelo into a pilsner glass but don’t have one? Look no further, I’ve found the perfect one for you, right here.

What kind of foods pair best with Modelo

The foods that pair best with Modelo are the same ones that you make during the family cookout in the middle of the summer, like we’ve been alluding to this whole article.

With such a versatile profile, Modelo goes great with just about anything. Here are a few of the ideal candidates for Modelo food pairing:

  • Chips with Salsa, Queso, and/or Guacamole – This absolute classic of an appetizer is perhaps the perfect partner for a Modelo. The crispness and cleanness of Modelo goes exceptionally well with the textures and flavors of a homemade dip.
  • Spicy black bean soup – Although you might not be having soup at your annual cookout, a spicy bean soup goes amazing with a crisp, cold Modelo. You can add whatever you want to make it perfect, but probably keep the beer on the side.
  • Smoked salmon tacos – A dish like this pairs well with Modelo’s lightness. Smoked and flavorful, you can expect the subtle sweetness of Modelo to mix heavenly with this light and flakey fish taco concoction.
  • Grilled chorizo – A subtly spicy meat, chorizo is mild enough that Modelo tames some of the spice and leaves enough of it for you to enjoy. Prepared on the grill, these two make an awesome duo.
  • Churros – It’s best to avoid the thick, super dense Tres leches with this beer. Instead, try some light and sweet churros. 

Is Modelo a good beer to drink?

Modelo has a fair placement in the beer community and it’s often a favorite among casual drinkers. It’s versatile with a unique corn taste and can be enjoyed year round, especially in the hot summers.

It’s easy to replicate and can be tweaked to your liking if you’re looking for something similar but not quite the same.

It can be enjoyed in a can, bottle, or draft – just make sure it’s cold. Pair it with chips and salsa or grilled meat in the backyard with friends and family.

Overall, Modelo Especial is a decent beer. It’s not brewed to be the next best thing since the craft beer revolution. It’s a clean crisp take on a mexican light lager, and it does an exceptional job for what it is.

For the web story version of this article click here!