Michelle’s Maccs Beer Pairing, or, How to Turn Someone Who Hates Beer into a Beer Drinker? Add Candy!
Hi! I’m Patrick, owner, writer, influencer, and all around silly craft beer guy here at Benedict Beer Blog. I’ve had a relationship with Craft Beer since 2010, working in restaurants around New York City and curating weekly beer specials to pair with food. In 2016, I started up Benedict Beer Blog, on the advice of my incredible wife Holly Kay, who realized that our fridge had more craft beer in it than food (whoopsie), and I hadn’t put my Bachelor’s Degree in English to work in quite a while.
What started out as a long form blog became an Instagram account, a job as a Social Media Manager for Big aLICe Brewing, and, most recently, a TikTok account. I’ve traveled all over the world and written professionally about craft beer, the communities built around it, and my adventures with my family and friends visiting breweries and meeting some amazing people.
Enough about me, because this article is about beer and Maccs. I was put in touch with Michelle’s Maccs earlier this year, and as a connoisseur of candy (aka give me all the sweets, please and thank you) I jumped on the opportunity to craft this article, pairing each of Michelle’s incredible Maccs to a different beer.
When I first met Michelle, she started our conversation with “I hate beer.” I laughed, because I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the last ten years who started conversations with me the exact same way. People like my father, who was solely a red wine drinker, and now, whom I lovingly refer to as the “Stout Monster”.
Michelle and I got to chatting, and I told her that craft beer NOW, in 2022, is so different than it was even when I started in 2010, and worlds different from 1995, 1985, etc. Brewers nowadays are more like food scientists, developing complex flavors and styles that can appeal to either a first time craft beer drinker who knows nothing except Dad’s cans of Bud Light and the stale beer smell at a college bar, or an expert Cicerone (the beer equivalent of a wine Sommalier) who only wants to drink Lambic (a wild fermented, complex, sour ale that is usually aged for many years in barrels).
There are beers for wine drinkers, whiskey drinkers, and even non-alcoholic beer for non-drinkers! The world of craft beer is exploding and expanding, and I’m just happy to be a small part of it.
Let’s talk about Maccs, baby. I felt like pairing 14 beers to 14 Maccs was a bit of a daunting task for someone who hasn’t written a long form blog since before the Pandemic, but as soon as I tasted Michelle’s Maccs Simple Dark, smothered in beautifully bittersweet, dark chocolate, I thought about one of my favorite bitter IPAs, Lagunitas IPA, a heavy hop hitter (hops are used to add both flavor and aroma to beer) with notes of gooseberry, melon, white wine, and pineapple, the words just poured onto paper and I was ready to roll! So let’s get into the tasting notes, shall we?
Michelle’s Maccs Simple Dark, with Lagunitas IPA. Dark Chocolate is both bitter and sweet, so I thought the bitter and sweet hoppy fruit notes of Lagunitas IPA would be like dipping melons and pineapples into dark chocolate. You gotta get your servings of fruit in somehow, so why not throw some dark chocolate on top to help them go down easy! Lagunitas is hopped with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops, some of the more “classic” style of hops used in Craft Beer (there are 100s of varietals of hops, with varying levels of bitterness and brewers today are experimenting by pairing unheard of varietals with some more classic hops).
Michelle’s Maccs Simple White, paired with Miller High Life. The Champagne of Beers tastes like corn, cereal, and bread. It’s sweet with some floral hop notes, and pairs perfectly with the sweet white chocolate and coconut in The Maccs. Miller High Life is my favorite of the domestic beers available, easy to find at any grocery store, it’s inexpensive, and hits just right.
Michelle’s Maccs Amarena Cherry, paired with Victory Golden Monkey. Amarena cherries are tart and sweet, plus the sweetness of the coconut. Victory Golden Monkey is a Belgian Triple Ale, that has notes of banana sweetness, earthy hops & clove spices. This was a really interesting combo, it was almost like eating a freshly baked cherry tart. I think this one surprised me the most out of all the pairings.
Michelle’s Maccs Key Lime, paired with Modelo Mexican Lager. Modelo is crisp, clean, with zippy lime-like hop character, and who doesn’t like lime in their Modelo? I actually got a little crazy this one, and made my Modelo a Michelada, which is a Mexican style beer cocktail with lime, hot sauce and Tajin. The spicy Michelada paired with the sweet and zippy Key Lime Macc was impeccable and I want to bring it to a beach somewhere and plant myself under an umbrella!
Michelle’s Maccs Peanut Butter - Bronx Brewery World Gone Rosé IPA. This is a twist on Bronx Brewery’s World Gone Hazy IPA, with fruit and floral notes, mimicking the flavors of Rosé. I thought this one would pair well with peanut butter because the beer gives you flavors of jammy fruit, so this is like an elevated PB&J, which means it’s classy, like Dad.
Michelle’s Maccs Chocolate Chocolate. This was an easy pair for me. Guinness is the world’s most recognizable Nitro Stout, with creamy, roasty malt flavor, and chocolate sweetness. Let’s intensify that chocolate with MORE CHOCOLATE, plus adding the sweetness of the coconut balances out the bit of bitterness from the flavoring hops in the Guinness.
Michelle’s Maccs Simple Milk, paired with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This was the gateway Beer for a lot of Craft Beer drinkers my age, with notes of orange and grapefruit pith. The sweet milk chocolate and coconut goes great with citrus fruit notes and breast malts from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Think of like a chocolate covered orange…. Mmmmmm…
Speaking of Orange, I paired Michelle’s Maccs Orange Zest with Sloop Brewing Juice Bomb IPA. Juice Bomb is just that, a citrus juice explosion of flavor on your palate, beautifully zippy and zesty with a decent amount of haze. This goes PERFECTLY with the Orange Zest Macc, with the dark chocolate and coconut adding the perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the bitter & juicy hops.
Michelle’s Maccs Salted Caramel paired with New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale. Amber Ales are brewed with darker roasted malts (not as dark as Stouts, but darker then Pilsners) that give flavors of toasted bread, caramel, toffee, and fruits like plums. Add salt & caramel, it’s a match made in Macc Heaven!
Michelle’s Maccs Mango, I paired with Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. This IPA is continuously hopped for 90 minutes (hence the name). Dogfish Head was the first brewery to use this method of hopping to draw out the most flavor from the hops. I get notes of strawberry, and strawberry and mango is a perfect pair. There’s a delicious bitterness that balances the sweetness of the mango in the Macc and strawberry notes from the hops, and the caramel notes from the malts pair excellently with coconut.
Michelle’s Maccs Espresso, paired with New Holland Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout…. Because adding espresso coffee to a bourbon barrel stout is the smartest thing I have ever done, and there is no doubt in my mind about it.
Michelle’s Maccs Piña Colada. For this, I paired with Sixpoint Sweet Action, a mix between a blonde ale, a wheat ale and a pale ale. Notes of pineapple & coconut go great with the peachy hop notes from the addition of Simcoe hops. Canadian White Wheat gives the beer a smooth, almost creamy body, and who doesn’t want their Piña Colada to be smooth?
Michelle’s Maccs collab with TBH Hazelnut Spread, paired with Victory Sour Monkey, the sour version of Golden Monkey (which we paired with the Amarena Cherry). The jammy notes from the sour reminded me of the hazelnut spread and jelly sandwiches my late Aunt (who was from France) used to make for myself and her children. They still eat those sandwiches to this day, so this pairing was very special to me, as it reminded me of my incredible French Aunt.
Michelle’s Maccs Macadamia, paired with Cigar City Brewing Maduro Brown Ale. I’m nuts for nuts, as most of us are, so pairing the sweet macadamia nut flavor of The Maccs with roasty, nutty malts with just a little bitter zing from the hops, makes wanna get up and dance!
So, what are you waiting for? Michelle’s Maccs pair EXCELLENTLY with a ton of different styles of both craft and domestic beer, so this will make the perfect gift for Dad this Father’s Day. Plus, he’ll probably share with you, so…. Win Win.
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CHEERS TO MACCS & BEER!!