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Cigar Pairings

Top 10 Everyman Beer & Cigar Pairings

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Who doesn’t love to crack open a cold one with a tasty smoke? I certainly do. And, as much as I’m a fanatic for the taste of a great cigar and an ice-cold frothy beer, I like to keep my options open. One thing cigars and beer have in common is that there are tons of limited edition, small-batch, boutique brands. Sometimes it’s tough to decide.

What I’ve found is that even though there are an endless number of amazing beers available today – craft, domestic, imported, and otherwise – there’s a lot to be said for the basic “everyman’s beer.” Crisp, ice-cold, and cost-effective (a.k.a. cheap), in most cases, are terms that come to mind when I think of my favorite everyman’s beer – the stuff of Super Bowl commercials.

These readily available, iconic beers are as familiar as your favorite hooded sweatshirt. The only real deliberation they present is whether to pick up a 6-pack or a case; and that all depends on whether your crib is a studio apartment or you’re stockpiling your man cave in the suburbs for the next poker night.

Don’t get left out in the cold when the perfect beer and cigar marriage is on your mind. Maybe you just came in from mowing the lawn, or you’re out and about someplace with your girlfriend and her friends where they’re serving up froofy decoration-festooned cocktails that look totally goofy in a lumberjack’s hand. Stick with a tried-and-true, conventional serving of suds and follow our cigar suggestions below. You’ll fit in anywhere and any onlookers will imagine that you’ve probably got a motorcycle and a collection of wrenches in your garage. Cheers.

#1 - Budweiser & Arturo Fuente

Let’s cut to the chase. Budweiser is about as American as the flag. Adolphus Busch introduced the 5% ABV (alcohol by volume) American lager in 1876. Among the most iconic slogans in all of human history, “This Bud’s for you.” hit the airwaves in 1979 and Budweiser’s share of the U.S. beer market soared from 35% to more than 51% over the next two decades. And who can forget the brand’s striking team of Clydesdales trotting down a snowy lane? They rival the popularity of Santa Claus at Christmas time in any beer-drinker’s house. Natural carbonation and Beechwood aging results in a crisp and balanced profile blended from imported and classic American aroma hops, barley malts and rice.

Arturo Fuente is equally at the bedrock of an American market – for premium cigars. A slightly oily gingerbread-hued Cameroon wrapper leaf embraces a silky core of premium all-Dominican binder and filler tobaccos blended by legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente. Classic tasting notes of cedar, almonds, molasses, and black pepper deliver an approachable, creamy finish. Retail prices start around $5 per cigar and represent an amazing value from a prestigious Dominican brand. Budweiser and Arturo Fuente make a phenomenal match when you’re watching a ball game or kicking your feet up on the porch. No man cave is complete without either.

#2 - Heineken & La Aroma de Cuba

Heineken originated in Amsterdam in the 1860s when Gerard Adriaan Heineken urged his wealthy mother to purchase De Hooiberg (Dutch for The Haystack) brewery which was founded in 1592. More than 150 years later, the brand’s modern-day glassy green bottle is easy to spot at any wedding reception or roadhouse bar. A touch of citrusy sweetness is derived from natural yeast that is filtered out after the beer is fermented. Three simple, all-natural ingredients include barley, hops, and water in a crisp and refreshing 5% ABV beer.

La Aroma de Cuba was originally a favorite brand of Winston Churchill, dating back to Cuba in the late 1800s when Churchill was stationed there as a young naval officer. Today, the brand is blended by award-winning cigar-maker Jose “Pepin” Garcia in Estelí, Nicaragua, to deliver a profile of coffee beans, earth, brown sugar, and signature Nicaraguan spices. Beginning in the vicinity of $5 per cigar, you can taste an unbeatable introduction to premium Nicaraguan flavors. A Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper encloses a delicious core of aged Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos grown on select Garcia family estates. The sweet and earthy flavor in La Aroma de Cuba melds perfectly with the fruity simplicity of Heineken.

#3 - Corona Extra & Padron

Ándale, ándale! Corona Extra is synonymous with a slice of paradise and a slice of lime. This shimmering, golden pale lager is produced by Constellation Brands in Mexico for the U.S. market. A recipe of filtered water, malted barley, hops, corn and yeast delivers a brisk, effervescent profile that tastes just as great on a desert island beach as it looks in an ad. Many younger beer drinkers probe the world of commonplace imports via Corona Extra. This 4.6% ABV beer is citrusy, bright, and simple. It’s also mandatory you serve it ice-cold, or at least that’s my take. It gets a bit sour if it sits long enough for the chill to wear off. One characterization I came across, “refreshing, but so is water,” is an applicable assessment. The lime is also a must.

Distinction and affordability combine in the celebrated all-Nicaraguan profile of Padron. Numerous top ratings and a trio of “Cigar of the Year” titles from Cigar Aficionado underscore the brand’s reputation. It is in the original Padron recipe, however, where you can access legendary tasting notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, baking spices, and pepper without exhausting your monthly cigar allowance thanks to prices starting around $5 per cigar. The woody, sweet and dry flavor of Padron clicks with the sharp gumminess Corona Extra plants on the sides of your palate. Break out your shades and transplant your afternoon beneath a palm tree with this pair.

#4 - Bud Light & Romeo y Julieta 1875

By 1982, when calorie-counting beer drinkers had already been pledging their allegiance to the likes of Miller Light and Coors Light, Bud Light hit the stage with a 4.2% ABV and 110 calories per 12 US fl oz serving. Both imported and American premium aroma hop varieties join a combination of barley, malts, and rice to deliver a refreshing, easy-drinking recipe that finishes fast. Light beer drinkers favor Bud Light tremendously and it’s a common sight to see a half-dozen bottles chauffeured out in an icy bucket for vigorous consumption at your local sports bar.

The bestselling Cuban-legacy brand, Romeo y Julieta 1875, reveals a mild to medium-bodied profile of toasted nuts, black pepper and fresh ground coffee notes. A caramel-hued Indonesian wrapper leaf conceals a sumptuous blend of handcrafted binder and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic. Although standard prices on Romeo 1875 start out at a little over $6 apiece, we regularly feature the blend in our daily deal rotation in the $2-3 per cigar vicinity . An extensive menu of shapes welcomes the refreshing, complementary flavor of Bud Light when you want to cleanse your palate at a bachelor party or a reunion with old classmates. Romeo and Bud also make a great combo if you’re planning to pal around over an impromptu round of golf.

#5 - Michelob Ultra & Perdomo Lot 23

Michelob Ultra is a light lager and also one of my favorite everyman beers. At 4.2% ABV and just 95 calories, it’s a great pick when you want to knock a few cold ones back while you’re doing some push-ups or playing the guitar. Michelob Ultra keeps lethargy at bay, especially when you’re favorite beer-drinking activities require a bit of physical exertion. Plus, the creamy rich profile is crisp and smooth. An extended mashing process refines the finest barley malt, imported hops, and select grains with a pure-cultured yeast strain. I have to confess my nostalgia for the brand’s old teardrop bottle shape, but even in its more orthodox packaging I still drink Michelob for its hospitable flavor and a true lack of any lingering aftertaste.

A single farm in Estelí, Nicaragua, produces all of the tobaccos in Perdomo Lot 23. A Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper leaf harbors a core of premium leaves aged for six years. The result is an amplified, medium-bodied portrait of sweet and spicy flavors with notes of cashews, black pepper, and cedar. Brand founder Nick Perdomo delivers an entire portfolio of tasty smokes that are easy on the pocketbook. Pick up Perdomo Lot 23 beginning at close to $6 per smoke and enjoy a flavorful match for the uber-popular taste of Michelob Ultra.

#6 - Coors Light & Macanudo Cafe

It doesn’t get more iconic than Coors Light and Macanudo Cafe. They’re almost like “Ken and Barbie.” Adolph Coors, another beer obsessed-German, believed that water was the most important component in beer. Thusly, in 1873, he located his original brewery in Golden, Colorado, where he could draw from the immaculate, high-altitude waters of The Rocky Mountains. Today, Coors Light is brewed in a number of locations around the country.

The beer’s iconic silver can has long been dubbed the “Silver Bullet.” An image of The Rockies on the can turns a blue color when the temperature is lowered to 39 degrees Fahrenheit, underscoring the brand’s “Cold Certified” guarantee. The cold, stark flavor profile of Coors is the result of a two-row lager malt derived from high-country barley and four distinct hop varieties.

Macanudo may be the most ubiquitous cigar in the world. Fine tobacconists, big box chains, and convenience stores will likely carry Macanudo, if they carry any cigars at all. The prices typically start out around $6 apiece, depending on the size. A blond Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf encompasses a handmade blend of Mexican and Dominican tobaccos. Mellow, nutty, and soft, Macanudo Cafe won’t invade or overwhelm your palate. It’s also one of the few cigars everyone who’s completely clueless about cigars has heard of. Pull up your sleeves and fire up the push mower, Macanudo and Coors Light will get you through a tough day of raking and taking the lawn down a few inches.

#7 - Busch & Rocky Patel The Edge

Malt and corn are included in a blend of premium American-grown and imported hops in Busch. Brewed by Anheuser-Busch in Missouri, Busch boasts a traditional, crisp and smooth taste and is considered a less expensive, value-brand alternative to Budweiser. Busch was born for the cooler and was the first new beer introduced by Anheuser-Busch following the repeal of Prohibition. Keep a case handy if you’re going camping. You could lose a few over the side of your whitewater raft, but it’s not the end of the world. You’ve got to put them down fast, anyway.

Rocky Patel The Edge is a feisty, full-bodied smorgasbord of flavor that starts at just over $6 per smoke and serves up a nice contrast to a crisp swig of Busch. Handcrafted Nicaraguan long-fillers rest beneath a spicy Corojo wrapper leaf with a toothy appearance and notes of earth, leather, cayenne peppers, and wood. A number of traditional sizes benefit from the clean, mouth-washing effects of Busch. If six-bucks-a-stick is a little steep for your bank account, Rocky Patel The Edge 2nds start out at just $2.66 per cigar. RP The Edge 2nds possess the same great taste as the original Edge blend, but they may display a minor cosmetic imperfection or two which makes them eligible for major discounts. Pass this pair out after you’ve put up the tent and got the fire started.

#8 - Steel Reserve & Cain

If your palate and your guts have got the rugged toughness only guys like Clint Eastwood possess, you could consider taking Steel Reserve and Cain for a test drive. But, if you’ve got a sensitive bone or two, you should keep walking.

Steel Reserve is crafted for the high-octane palate and guys who prefer to get plastered fast. It’s brewed in California by Steel Brewing Company. With an absurdly high 8.1% ABV, its thick and sticky viscosity is potent and known for producing herbal and honey notes. Steel Reserve blurs the boundaries between malt liquor and beer. When you need to get pretty banged up to take your nerves down a notch before your next tightrope walk, Steel Reserve is equivalent to lacing up a pair of cinder block sneakers. You don’t have to go far to fall down.

The palate-spanking profile of Cain is practically the only cigar capable of keeping up. Cain is handmade at the award-winning Oliva factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, from a full-bodied concoction of Ligero-laden tobaccos grown in Nicaragua. It’s available in either a spicy Habano wrapper leaf or an earthy Maduro. Either way, you’re signing up for a persistent blast of pepper, earth, and wood, not unlike having a pair of cleats step on your tongue. While the everyday range for Cain prices is $6-10 per cigar, we frequently feature Cain starting at only $2.49 apiece when the brand is included in one of our daily specials. That’s a lot of Ligero for your buck. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Cain ain’t for the faint of heart.” Cain is for Tough Guys Only, friends!

If you decide to tango with these two, doing so on an empty stomach is a death wish. Do yourself a favor and start off with baby sips and put a bucket by the bed just in case.

#9 - Miller Lite & Argyle

Sure, there are plenty of beer snobs who crucify Miller Lite for its pale straw hue and its stereotypical bubbling carbonation. They also love the word, “bland.” But truth be told, Miller Lite is a beacon to any guy who doesn’t want to sift through a menu of pretentious craft beers sealed up in cartoon-festooned cans for sensitive millennials to hit the selfie button next to.

Perhaps it’s the uninterruptive profile of barley and cereal notes, or maybe it’s the radiant golden glow once you pour it in a glass, or it could just be plain ol’ fashioned consistency that endears the masses to Miller Lite. Born and bred in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – also the home of Harley Davidson – Miller Lite is like a universal language for patriots and for patrons.

As “The Most Trusted Name in Value Cigars,” Argyle completes this meat-and-potatoes pairing with aplomb. Seasoned, artisanal cigar-makers handcraft Argyle in one of the Dominican Republic’s premier boutique cigar factories from an impressive amalgam of creamy Dominican long-fillers beneath a silky Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf. It’s hard to beat the bargain Argyle offers starting out around $4 per cigar. And, buying boxes often drops the price to under $2 apiece when you buy a box in one of our regularly recurring sales. Creamy, nutty, and elegant, Argyle shows off notes of coffee beans and cashews that produce an exquisite harmony everyone can appreciate in conjunction with an ice-cold Miller Lite. If you didn’t have the hood of your car popped open for an oil change, you’d probably be tempted to put on white gloves with this pair in your hands.

#10 - Pabst Blue Ribbon & Punch

Have you got a bit of “hipster” in you? Back when I was growing up, Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) was always in my grandpa’s fridge. I also recall PBR possessed a guaranteed proximity to any pool table I ever laid eyes on. At 4.74% ABV, Pabst is classified as an American Premium Lager. Its recipe consists of a proprietary lager yeast, select grains and malted barley in a tradition that dates back to 1844.

Golden and almost a touch sweet with a brief float of white foam sums up PBR pretty thoroughly. And oh, there’s no aftertaste. Pabst is practically a bridge between generations, although I’m not sure if it’s linking Generation X to the Baby Boomers, or a recent crop of millennials to blue collar roots they saw in an old TV commercial. Crisp, easygoing and refreshing characterizes PBR and the quintessential taste most folks desire in an iconic mass market beer.

With its equally deep heritage, Punch is a Cuban-legacy brand that claims plenty of followers too. A multinational recipe of Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan long-fillers is drafted beneath a succulent Ecuador Sumatra wrapper . Medium-bodied notes of cocoa, hickory, and black pepper measure up nicely with the clean, low-maintenance taste of PBR. Punch is an ideal mix of warm smoky flavor and aroma with the cool, unruffled satisfaction Pabst provides. You may be tempted to put on a jean jacket the second you taste these two together.

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