You need not be a cigar aficionado for you to enjoy an exquisite roll. In the same way, you need not be a craft beer connoisseur for you to enjoy any one of the many options available. Both craft beers and cigars have ceased being status symbols. It used to be that cigars are for the rich and famous. Today, cigars have become more accessible to anyone. It used to be that they are matched with whiskey, but today craft beer lovers would love to pair it up with a well-refined cigar.
Pairing cigars with beer is subjective. One person may fancy it while another despises it. There are those who embrace them while others avoid them like a plague. There are no hard and fast rules to consider when pairing beer and cigars. You can’t find boundaries or proclamations either. What you can do instead is to check on some guidelines, tips, and insights from long-time craft beer drinkers and cigar lovers. Here are some noteworthy ones:
Follow your own preference and taste
You may come across classic pairings like a big bold Belgian-style quadruple that may go well with a short Robusto while a Maduro or Oscuro wrapper around spicy Honduran tobacco will go well with an IPA. These rules would make a good start for any beginner, but in the end, it boils down to your preference and taste. Some prefer to enjoy the mild cigars with beer during the summer. This will leave your palate refreshed. Nugget of wisdom: feel free to try out any cigars from your humidor and any beer found in your fridge. You may find some that can disappoint you, but some flavors may also bring you to heaven.
Here’s what you have to buy if you are a beginner.
It is a daunting task to be checking reviews of every cigar you find. To shake things up, it’s better for you to begin with a sampler pack. It’s a great way for you to try different sizes and strengths from various manufacturers without thinking or spending too much on it. With samplers, you can actually choose the intensity of cigars. And as a bonus, samplers may include a lighter, cutter, and humidor. All these at an affordable price.
Play around with opposites because they attract.
If you are a newbie in pairing cigars, an easy trick would be to look for cigars and beers that have opposite characteristics of each other yet in a complementary relationship. For instance, if you’re drinking a bitter IPA, you have to look for a mellow and sweeter smoke. One more thing, remember that when you are pairing cigars with beers, complexity is your friend. The more complex your beer, the more fun you can have with your pairings. Same as cigars, beers have great depth when it comes to flavors.
Here are some winning suggestions for pairing:
Pilsner and Mild Cigar
Montecristo No. 1 is a mild cigar with quite a sweet taste. It makes a great pair for a light beer with a bit of spice, much like what you experience with a Pilsner. Montecristo has a grassy taste while the Pilsner is somewhat of a hoppy flavor.
IPA and a Medium-Bodied Cigar
You can single out a cigar to pair with an IPA. IPAs have a large variety of flavors and no one size fits all. IPAs have the capacity to overpower the milder cigars; however, the full-bodied cigars might also drown out the subtle flavors found in the drink. Thus, if you love IPA, the best cigar option for you would be a full-bodied stogie. The majority of the IPAs have notes of citrus which will blend well with the sweet tinge from the San Andres Maduro wrapper of an E.P. Carrillo La Historia cigar.
Stout and a Full-Bodied Cigar
For others, it would work if the overwhelming flavors of full-bodied cigar partners with the darkest beer options such as the Porter or Stout. An example of a full-bodied cigar that may go well with a stout is the CroMagnon Aquitaine Anthropology with its strong and smoky character interlaced with its coffee and caramel flavors.
Fruit Beer and a Light Smoke
The different kinds of fruit beers from ales to wheats make cigar matching quite a subjective experience. The technique is to let the fruit flavor dominate. A lighter puff from a La Antiguedad Toro Gordo would go well with Pyramid’s Apricot Ale. Of course, you can experiment on the intensity and size of wrappers.
Scotch Ales and Full-Bodied Cigars
Scotch ales are known to be powerful and full-bodied. This also requires the same intensity and strength from its pair cigar. Scotch ales contain a high level of alcohol and that stumps the bitter taste. The cigar must be able to handle the beer yet not to overpower its subtle flavors.