We have packed away our winter woolies and said goodbye to short cold days. The groundhog spoke, the almanac predicted and, in short order, Robins reappeared. Spring is upon us. As the weather changes so does my beer preferences. Gone are the heavier stouts and porter that I sipped by the fire. Now it is time for the fruity sours, effervescent wheat beers and lagers both crispy and refreshing.

It is safe to say the craft beer industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. But sometimes we just want simple. And the people who know simple beer are the Europeans. Thanks to an “Excepcional” collaboration between La Sagra and Molson Coors simpler couldn’t be more delicious. Madri Excepcional is a light golden lager, with a low ABV at 4.6% and boasts a malt forward flavor reminiscent of lightly toasted bread and a sprinkle of black pepper. The bitterness is brief and the carbonation is springy on your palate. However, for any beer to make it on this Beer Sommelier’s approved list, it needs to pass the ultimate test. How well does it pair with food?

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The Tasting

One of the simplest ways to see how a beer holds up is to pair it with various cheeses. While not every pairing can be perfect, a well-rounded beer should be able to showcase its own characteristics or highlight those of the food you are drinking it with. No one likes a tasteless experience.

So, how did Madri do? I tasted the beer along with 5 very unique cheeses that I felt would pair well or be an interesting combination. I leaned heavily into Spanish cheeses, which I thought were appropriate for this beer.

These are my cheeses.

  • 6 Month Old Manchego
  • Wisconsin Cheddar
  • Rosemary Rind Manchego
  • Roasted Garlic Manchego
  • Scotch Bonnet Cheddar

The Results

The rosemary Manchego was a clear winner with me. The mild bitterness of the beer really washed away the soapiness rosemary can sometimes have. Instead, it brought out a pepperiness that reminded me of fresh focaccia.

Another fun pairing was the scotch bonnet cheddar. As expected, the lager really cut down the heat of the pepper. Yet, surprisingly, it sweetened up the beer. For the rest of the pairings, the roasted garlic really highlighted the bitterness in the beer for those who like something a little more hop-forward. Equally important, the 6 month Manchego was a classic pairing, allowing both items to shine. Finally, the Wisconsin cheddar unfortunately fell flat. While it cut through the creaminess, both the cheese and beer flavours were lost.

If you are looking for something new to try this summer, grab some from your local beer store or liquor store and pair them with your cheese selection. Or maybe as part of a Spanish Dinner Party.

This article features content related to alcoholic beverages. Please enjoy responsibly. Consumption of alcohol is intended for readers of legal drinking age.