When Rob asked me to write something about pairing cigars and summer beers I was a little hesitant, but not because I don't like beer! I am one of those strange people that can drink a stout on a hot summer day and enjoy it. I drink whichever beer attracts my attention no matter the time of year. So, I had to really think what beers were considered to be summer beers. In addition, I have to admit, that…well….I don't always pair a cigar with beer. Scotch, coffee, bourbon, rum, wine…yes, but beer is not often my first choice, but when it is, it is usually a stout or a barleywine. But I humbly accepted this assignment because when there is beer involved, no mission is too big or too difficult to tackle.
I won't sit here on my deck (with a beer and cigar beside me) and tell you what to drink or smoke. At least not that much. (I also promise to make this a short article and not a seven volume set.) I'll talk more about beer styles and profiles and what may pair well with your smoke depending on your tastes.
So, what are summer beers? There are the wheat beers (like American wheat, German hefeweizen, and Belgium whit beers), India Pale Ales (IPA) and the self-named "summer ales" to name a few. Others look to lagers (almost all the big domestic beers) to quench that summer thirst. Each style of beer has its own flavor profile and suit themselves to a different cigar and drinker.
I find that all wheat beers have a little sweetness to them. German wheat beers may have hints of clove and banana. Belgium whits may have a peppery or spicy note like coriander and some fruitiness like orange. American wheats tend to be a little hoppier than their European cousins.
Summer Ales (at least the current ones that I have sampled) are slightly malty with a light hint of hops. They are usually a crisp beer that leaves little aftertaste and always pair well with a post-lawnmower session.
IPAs are very hoppy beers. The hop bitterness and hop floral notes are the forward tastes of the beer. Some do have a malty background that may help counterbalance the hops. India Pale Ale is my favorite beer style, but I do admit that they might be an acquired taste. Unfortunately, due to their assertiveness I have had a lot of problems finding a cigar that pairs well with them. Usually, I get a strange almost metallic or sour aftertaste when pairing a cigar with an IPA. However, in the spirit of research for Rob, I recently paired a Tatuaje Havana VI Corona Especial (the Red) with a Terrapin Rye IPA and was pretty happy. The tangy spice of the cigar matches well with the peppery spice of the Rye IPA. A medium or full bodied cigar with some good spice has a good chance of standing up to an IPA.
Lagers are a crisp, clean tasting beer. Craft beer lagers (Brooklyn for instance) are a little hoppier than their macro brewed cousins (Budweiser). For this reason, I think some of the same flavors that IPA’s bring to the table translate well with a lager. A medium bodied, spicy cigar should stand up to the hops. Be careful though. It would be easy to dominate the lager and lose a lot of its subtlety.
As with all things of taste, yours may vary. And I hope it does. I've only opened the door a crack on cigar and summer beer pairings. After all, the summer is just starting. Now you can say that you are doing "research" when the wife (or significant other) asks about the beer and cigar.
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~ Ken G. is a cigar smoking, home brewing man of mystery from Pittsburgh who enjoys cycling, loose women and shiny things.
A near perfect afternoon for a herf in the famed Havana Room and an even better day to baptize a new Cretin as Dustin traveled three hours one way to join us. He did a fine job and we handed him 5 Things duties to boot. Welcome Dustin!
We herfed a new Cigar of the Day, announced the winner in our StogieHaven.com contest where a bunch of Cigar Crawl loot was up for grabs, and continued our investigative series into what the chicks are reading with a new Cosmo.
Of course, we also checked out listener emails, took some live phone calls and brought the best weird stuff in the news to you...before taking it straight to the dumpster.
So, grab a stick...preferably your own, and herf with us here on Blowin' Smoke #134!
The second meeting of Herf-aholics Anonymous in less than a week gave birth to Blowin' Smoke #135!
Like any good multi-step program, we first had to admit we had a herf. Easy enough. Next, we needed a diversion. So, the first ever "Whose Boobs?" Call-In Edition was born. If you are not following Blowin' Smoke and the Cretins on Twitter, shame on you for six weeks. Speaking of phones, our new Butt Bucket Questions got a nice inaugural work out and there was plenty of El Freako ball-bustin' going on...as usual.
With such a short span between shows, we kept the current Cigar Match going and made this a Multi-Mystery Cigar of the Day, plus we had a new 5 Things, more insight into what the chicks are reading, and, or course, the usual weird stories found online.
All that and more are waiting for you right now. C'mon...you know you want it. Just click play. We won't tell anybody. It's Blowin' Smoke #135!