08 Aug 3 Best Ways to Pair Beer With Cigars
3 Best Ways to Pair Beer With Cigars
Cigars and beer may seem like an odd combination to some since many folks tend to associate cigars with hard liquor and wine. But hear us out…
Thanks to the wide variety of aromas, flavors, and nuance in beer, it pairs better than some would think. Add on the fact that they’re carbonated, and it’s a match made in heaven.
The carbonation is key because it helps to soothe and hydrate the palate, so you can feel both the aroma of the beer and the cigar. But choosing the right combination can be a tricky task.
The one thing to remember is that beer and cigar pairing is a sensory experience and what some may love, others may not. Here are a few ways to pair beer with cigars.
1. Light vs Dark Wrapper
The range of shades goes from Double Claro (the lightest) to Oscuro (a deep brown color). This is one of the ways to pair beer with cigars that seems to be based on appearances, but it’s about more than aesthetics.
The lighter the color, the younger the cigar. This means that the aging time was shorter for Double Claros and the aromas will be more fresh and acidic. An Oscuro cigar will be on the deeper, fuller side of the flavor spectrum thanks to the long aging process.
Another point to remember is that the color of the wrapper can also be a very good indicator of the strength of the cigar.
Going in the mid-range, the Colorado shade wrapper comes in three variations: Claro, Simple and Maduro. These cigars are aged slightly, but they’re not very heavy and aromatic, making them pleasant and easy to smoke without skimping on the experience. A very good pair for these cigars are lagers like Oktoberfests, Bocks and lighter stouts like Southern Star Buried Hatchet because they complement the aroma of the cigar without overwhelming it.
The Maduro and Oscuro cigars are the ultimate choices for those who want a strong flavor and full-bodied smoke. The best choice in terms of beer is a heavy stout or even aromatic beers like IPAs. A very good cigar choice for these beers is Montecristo No.2 because the flavor bouquet manages to balance the boldness of the beer, giving you a burst of delicious flavors.
2. Pale vs Dark Beer
The color of the beer is also very important because it indicates the flavors and aroma. Light beers, like Pilsners and Blonde Ales are usually very pleasant and easy to drink, and they have a pretty mild aroma. They can work with mild and medium-bodied cigars.
Ambers and Brown Ales have a richer malty aroma, so they can present bigger flavors. They’re best paired with medium-bodied cigars.
Darker beers like Porters and Stouts are typically on the heavier side of alcohol, flavor and, mouthfeel. Displaying a denser body and a fuller aroma makes them the ultimate pair for full-bodied cigars because they are more evenly-paired in terms of boldness.
3. Malt vs. Hops
The main ingredients of the beer are water, hops, yeast and malted barley. The proportion of each of these four ingredients makes all the difference in terms of taste and aroma.
More malty beer tends to be on the sweeter side thanks to the heavy use of grains. The larger quantities of maltose produced in the mash translate to sweeter flavors post-fermentation. These beers are the aromatic ones that are fuller in mouthfeel and density. There are countless varieties of aromatic beer that are on the sweet side and they are best paired with a cigar that has complementary flavors and strength.
Hops help add a crisp finish and most of the bitter flavors that are associated with beer. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but typically beers with a lot of hops are on the bitter side. They are best paired with a medium to full-bodied cigar like a Cohiba in order to balance the strength and aroma.
But remember that the best ways to pair beer with cigars is to try different combinations in order to see what suits you the best. Tony likes pairing Maduros with Porters while Chris pairs cigars and beer like Russian roulette.
What’s one of your favorite ways to pair beer with cigars? Is there a Houston beer that’s your go-to when smoking a stick? Let us know in the comments below.
Beers to you, Houston!