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QUINTESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CIGAR & BEER PAIRING
THE GROWING POPULARITY OF CRAFT BEERS AND CUBAN CIGARS
Beer… where would we be without it? From Stouts, Indian Pale Ale, Lager, Wheat Beer and even Real Ales that taste like banana cake; there is something for everyone and with a boom in craft breweries over the last few years, beer has never been more popular. This growing popularity of craft beers has given birth to a fevered interest surrounding cigar and beer pairings. When you think of enjoying a drink with a fine cigar, a man in a smoking jacket, swilling a good slug of Cognac around their glass as they laugh with friends in the study instantly springs to mind, but beer is just as well matched as the stronger stuff and has spawned heated debates, theories and opinions across the cigar world.
When it comes to matching your favourite stogie with a much-loved brew it’s like all things concerning flavours; personal preference, which is subjective, so the key is to experiment with different flavour combinations and find pairings that work for you… sounds fun right? One basic rule that we’ve heard time and time again and does actually ring true is that you should always try to match the type of beer with the type of stogie. So, full-bodied Cuban cigars would pair well with a heavier, darker beer and an American Pale Ale would match up well with a milder smoke. You can even match up cigars and drinks around common flavour notes, so a dark ale with hints of chocolate and coffee would stand up well against a cigar with a creamy and nutty profile.
The fun part lies in your own experimentation with different combinations. To give you a helping hand we’ve listed some of our favourite pairings to get you started below, just don’t try them all in one sitting, a sore head could be the least of your worries!
Light Beer: Pilsner - Montecristo No.1, Pale Lager – Davidoff 2000 Cigar – Mille Line, Wheat Beer – Padron Damaso No.15
Medium Beer: IPA – Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill Cigar, Amber Lager – H. Upmann No.2, Bock – Montecristo Edmundo Cigar
Dark Beer: Porter – Hoyo De Monterrey Le Hoyo De San Juan Cigar, Stout – Rocky Patel Platinum Cigar – Toro, Brown Ale - Bolivar Royal Corona Cigar
The above recommendations are exactly that… recommendations. They will give you a good starting point for your journey into the world of cigars and beers. It’s important to note that everyone’s palate is different and what you would consider the perfect pairing could be awful for the next person. Before you start your pairings, make sure you have tried the cigar and the tipple separately at some point - going in blind on both smoke and tipple will more often than not end in a palate disaster. Be sure to smoke it to the end so you benefit from the flavour profile of the whole cigar and have a palate cleanser, such as a sorbet or coffee beans nearby so you can taste the differences at each stage of the smoke.
Remember there is no right or wrong when it comes to picking out flavour profiles as it’s subjective, if you taste creamy notes with spice, then that is what it tastes like, so stick with your own intuition and most importantly, have fun.