Pairing Beer and Cigars

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When it comes to pairing beer and food, one can take two approaches.  The first approach is the complimentary one, where certain flavor notes in the beer match certain flavors in the dish.  This works pretty well until you get into heavy, rich foods, where you tend to want something refreshing on the palate between mouthfuls.  The second approach is the opposite, where you aim for contrasting flavor profiles between the two, which fulfills the palate-cleansing desires when the dish is on the heavy side, and gets downright bizarre when you begin pairing imperial stouts with your crisp summer salads.  Obviously the rules are not set in stone.

With cigars I've always thought the rules would be fairly complimentary.  Light cigars with lighter beers, heavier cigars with heavier beers.  I contemplated, however, pairing a cigar with Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, which is one hell of a beer and might need a lighter cigar with it.  Could I be correct?  Well, I didn't have any Bourbon County Stout, so I tried something else.

I decided to try pairing a Perdomo Lot 23 and an Eel River Porter.  You have already read my review of the Perdomo, and the porter I selected is a fine organic brew with a medium body, nice roasted notes, and a slightly bitter, slightly creamy finish.  This was an attempt to pair a medium-mild cigar with a medium-rich beer, which, on second thought, is a spiraling descent into the downright bizarre that I mentioned earlier.

Certain flavors match pretty well in these two.  They both have a creamy mouth feel, but the roasted coffee notes in the porter bully the subtle flavors of the Perdomo into obscurity.  It's a shame.  But the creaminess of the porter is indeed a nice match, so I would suspect that an English pub ale would be a great match for this cigar.  Light hops and good malt to avoid dominating the cigar, and a creamy body to accent the cigar's easy smoothness.

What are your favorite cigar and beer pairings?  I want to try them out.

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We mentioned the Cigar Cinema offerings from Cigar Aficionado last week, so this week I'd like to return to one of their videos from a while back in which Jack Bettridge and Dave Savona pair cigars and beer.  This is... Read More

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