When the team who represents the Negra Modelo brand, a dark style lager, recently contacted FriendsEAT to experience their craft beer, I was happy to give it a try. I enjoy drinking dark beers now and then and was told Negra Modelo was a popular choice in Mexico.
Negra Modelo is a Vienna lager first brewed in Mexico by Austrian immigrants, and was introduced as a draft beer in 1926. The full name of the beer is Cerveza Negra Modelo. The word “modelo” means “model” or “example” in Spanish. “Negra” means “black” or “dark” and modifies “cerveza.”
The Negra Modelo outfit generously equipped us with an impressive tasting kit that included their signature Negra Modelo drinking glasses, four bottles of exceptionally distinctive spices (Garlic Pepper, Quebec Beef Spice, Bicentennial Seasonings, Bavarian Style Seasonings) from The Spice House, in Evanston, IL., a humble wooden cutting board, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and a Visa gift card to purchase the various foods necessary for taste pairing.
A favorite during Cinco De Mayo, Negra Modelo is widely recognized for its gold-foiled bottles and is made with filtered water, malted barley, Galena hops, rice and yeast varieties.
Exports of this dark vienna-munich type beer began in the early 1980´s, and has penetrated markets in Europe, Australia, and Central and South America. Negra Modelo is known as a Munich Dunkel lager brewed in Mexico, which is light on hops and smooth, with a subtle sweet hint of caramel and dark chocolate.
The Negra Modelo brewers created the Munich Dunkel style lager by slow roasting caramel malts, a technique that extends the brewing process twice as long as other beers. Negra Modelo claims their beer has been crafted to pair well with a variety of different dishes, and our experience did seem to corroborate that suggestion when we savored the beer with various meat dishes.
I found Negra Modelo light, smooth, and refreshing — and especially great with spicy food. But if you’re looking for a thick, creamy beer, Negra Modelo is not for you. Negra Modelo is simple and smooth, which is why it is so refreshing.
This beer has a rich brown color with an aroma that is malty with sweet, with subtle tones of nutty caramel. Slightly thin in texture, your taste buds are greeted with a mild roasted chocolate and caramel flavor that blends well together to form a balanced and enjoyable taste.
We found Negra Modelo to pair exceptionally well with the following two recipes from Chef Rick Bayless:
TACOS OF GARLICKY MEXICAN GREENS (see recipe)
Garlicky tender greens, soft fresh cheese and seared onions – turn meatless tacos into savory fare for everyone.
SPICY BLACK BEAN AND SAUSAGE CHILI
Quick, easy, and super flavorful; bring this spicy black bean and sausage chili to your next get together.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 bottle (16 ounces) chipotle salsa
12 ounces of your favorite fully-cooked sausage, thinly sliced
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained
2 cans (14 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, un-drained
Garnishes: Crumbled tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, sour cream, or shredded Monterey Jack or Chihuahua cheese
Heat the oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until light brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in green pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in the salsa, sausage, beans and tomatoes. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 30 minutes.
Serve in warm bowls topped with garnishes of your choice.
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***Images courtesy of Negra Modelo