Well, as some of you know, our blog tries to be reader sensitive. One thing we pride ourselves on is giving our reader something that truly interests them. Given that many of the readers on here right now are linking from the Cigar Aficionado website, I thought I would give them something to read.
First, let me say that this is not the first time I have brought up the cigar-beer combination. In fact, I mentioned what I was smoking along with the beer. But I did not offer an apologetic for a cigar with a beer at the time. Here goes! Many of us are familiar with the concept of drinking Scotch with a cigar. Companies like Dalmore even make a specific cigar malt Scotch (although I actually enjoy their 12 year more). There are those who drink a good Bourbon with a cigar. Even Cognac has made its way into certain cigars. But where is the beer love?
With all its complexities, beer is a wonderful complement to a cigar. Of course, this depends on which cigar and which beer we are talking about. Let me offer up my humble opinion. For those who sing to the tune of Scotch or Bourbon to complement a cigar, there are many offerings in the beer world that will hit the notes required to make beautiful concerto in their mouths. For instance, Goose Island makes a Bourbon County Stout, Schlafly makes a Bourbon Barrel Stout (and Barley Wine Style), Bluegrass Brewing Co makes a Stout with Jefferson’s Reserve…and the list goes on and on. For the Scotch drinker, Harviestoun makes an Ale matured in Whisky Casks. They make three versions of this beer called Ola Dubh, which are matured in Scotch casks. The Scotch casks have had whiskys aged in them at 12, 16, and 30 years, respectively. As you might imagine, the beers go up in price according to the cask (they can also be a little difficult to find). So, for the timid, you can at least get the Scotch or Bourbon flavors that you are used to.
For those who wish to experiment a little more, the floweriness and citrus qualities of some IPAs might go well with a woody or nutty cigar. Perhaps a nutty cigar would also go well with a traditional Belgian beer of the Lambic category (fruit and nuts). Stouts are always a good source of chocolaty and/or coffee notes that would complement a nutty, coffeeish, or velvety cigar. A German smoked Marzen or a smoked Porter might fit in well with a cigar. Or by way of contrast, a delicate wheat beer or Belgian golden ale could synthesize two wonderful (but disparate) flavors. Be creative and open up to the new world of a beer with your cigar.
Is it really that unreasonable to try a cigar with a beer instead of a Scotch? After all, Scotch/Bourbon and beer share a lot of the same production process. Why not some of the same aficionados?