The Rising Wave of Pairing Cigars With Beer
Put down that bourbon. Leave that scotch alone. Skip the trip to Starbucks. There’s a new sheriff in town and be careful because he’s full of hops and barley. He doesn’t always mix as easily with his cigar cohorts as his predecessors, but when he does it’s an experience to behold.
Cigar smokers are lovers of craft, so it’s no surprise that their interests take them far beyond the bounds of the wrapper leaf. Many have turned to the flourishing industry of craft beer to wet their whistle and find new dimensions within their smoking experience. Although it’s not quite as foolproof as pairing with spirits, the rewards far outweigh the inevitable failures. We recommend that you take notes, don’t use your top shelf smokes to start, explore your own palate, and above all, experiment endlessly, starting with these three delicious selections.
Victory Prima Pils
As residents of Pennsylvania we have the fortune of a veritable statewide pub crawl featuring some of the best breweries in the world, one of which is none other than Victory Brewing Company. Although they’re always rolling out new creations, one of their oldest standbys is the Prima Pils. It has that crisp, floral hops snap on your palate that will have pilsner fans everywhere raving from the first sip. Given the lightness in body of this beer, you’ll want to pair it likewise with whatever your smoke of choice is to avoid overpowering it. If you happen to strike upon the right pairing with these European hops and German malts, it will likely have you shouting the German you’d didn’t know you knew: “Prima!”
Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunkel
If that last cold one didn’t grab your “achtung”, why not try one straight from the source: Munich, Germany. This wheat beer has a generous head cresting a mixture of Herkules and Taurus hops and four different German and wheat malts. It has graced the palates of many with everything from chocolate, nuts, brown sugar, clove to banana. An unfiltered and hearty beer, it will pair well with something medium-bodied that displays a similar profile: earth, cocoa, nuts, fruity sweetness. This is one of the few breweries sanctioned to provide beer during the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, and for good reason.
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Our last selection hails from the US west coast, deep in the heart of, you guessed it, Anderson Valley, California. After you give up pondering their odd but gentle mascot Barkley (part bear, part deer), pour out the Barney Flats to get a glance at the deep, dark ebony stout that holds the keys to your next maduro pairing. Columbus and Northern Brewer hops along with six different malts yield a plethora of creamy oats, chocolate, baked bread, toffee, and dried cherries. Grab something medium to full-bodied, light up, and walk on through those pearly gates.
If these pairings have got the old cogs in your head turning and you find yourself wanting more, you’re in luck. Nick Perdomo of Tabacalera Perdomo has been savvy to this rising trend for some time and sculpted his newest creation accordingly. The Perdomo Special Craft Series will feature three different wrappers with pairing suggestions: a Connecticut, a Sun-Grown, and a Maduro. Already available in some brick-and-mortars, you can bet your sweet patootie that Best Cigar Prices will have them in stock before you can say “wrapper, binder, filler.” Check back soon brothers and sisters of the leaf.