The Best Craft Beer & Cigar Pairings
A long time ago, in craft beer years, our dear friend Dr. Bill Sysak would hold cigar and craft beer pairings. I always thought it was strange until I experienced it for myself. Big, bold and flavorful craft beer can definitely be paired with the delicate, mild and bold flavors of a good cigar.
Our friend Shane Kliebenstein over at Holt’s Cigars in Philly has been itching to offer his expert pairings, so we thought we’d share them with you today. Shane definitely has these cigars in stock, and the beers he picked, for the most part are widely available. If you can’t find the Yard’s beer as an example, you can switch them out for a similar style in your area.
La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor & Yards Love Stout
Yards Love Stout delivers a creamy, dark and succulent profile of coffee and cocoa with an arresting malty finish. Love Stout masterfully complements the many versatile flavors of La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor. The award-winning cigar offers marvelous transitions of cracked black pepper, espresso beans, and hickory and furnishes a sweet, nutty and exquisite finish. At 5.5% ABV, Yards Love Stout is an ideal companion for craft beer and premium cigar connoisseurs who relish dark, rich flavors with a smooth exchange of creaminess and spices.
Available in a number of classic shapes, La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor is blended by celebrated cigar-maker Jose “Pepin” Garcia in Estelí, Nicaragua. An extensively aged San Andrés wrapper leaf harbors a premium recipe of all-Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Cigar Aficionado rated the Belicoso 95 points and a “#2 Cigar of the Year” title in its debut year.
This pair is a perfect match as the sweater season nears. La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor and Yards Love Stout embrace the senses like a bear hug as cooling fall weather and football games get underway.
Ashton VSG & Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Creamy, dense, unfiltered, and ultra-refined flavors characterize Palo Santo Marron with its malty 12% ABV and satisfying aftertaste. Exotic, handmade brewing tanks crafted from Paraguayan Palo Santo wood (used in South American wine-making regions) impart a distinctive taste with notes of vanilla and caramel.
Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown) is an iconic cigar blended by legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente in the Dominican Republic. Premium aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos rest beneath a dark, lustrous wrapper leaf cultivated from Sumatra seeds grown in the fertile soils of Ecuador. Natural cloud cover filters the sunlight as the wrapper matures, resulting in an unparalleled richness with notes of leather, cedar, raisins, and espresso beans in a bold and balanced profile. Dozens of Cigar Aficionado ratings over 90 points, including a 94-point score and numerous ‘Top 10’ rankings, reflect the brand’s 20-year history and its status as a top-shelf, highly sought-after cigar.
Palo Santo Marron marvelously embraces the dark, creamy aroma of Ashton VSG in a saturated marriage of nuts, caramel, wood, and coffee beans with a hearty taste you’ll want to savor endlessly.
San Cristobal Quintessence & Yards Brawler
A smooth, caramel-like toastiness in Yards Brawler dishes out malt-forward flavors calibrated to complement the smoky taste of ribs fresh off the grill, spicy barbecue, coal-fired pizza, and a hearty cigar. Roasted barley joins crystal and amber malts blended to create this medal-winning 4.2% ABV beer with a crisp, refreshing and classic taste available in bottles and cans.
San Cristobal Quintessence is patiently handcrafted in Estelí, Nicaragua by the Garcia family, makers of My Father Cigars. A brilliant profile of molasses, black pepper, and wood delivers signature Nicaraguan spices with notes of walnuts and chestnuts throughout a chewy, robust finish. A Cuban-seed wrapper leaf grown in Ecuador encapsulates an all-Nicaraguan recipe of vintage binder and filler tobaccos procured from select Garcia family estates.
Yards Brawler and San Cristobal Quintessence serve up a magnificent afternoon in the park or an after-dinner course capable of putting chocolate cake to shame. The clean, exhilarating taste of Brawler nicely washes back the versatile spices in the cigar.
Oliva Master Blends 3 & Cigar City Maduro Brown
The term, “Maduro,” refers to the fermentation, or aging process, the wrapper leaf on a cigar undergoes. Most commonly, Maduro wrapper leaves are of the Connecticut Broadleaf variety – Broadleaf tobaccos grown in the state of Connecticut – as in the case of Oliva Master Blends 3. Maduro wrappers deliver an enhanced sweetness and frequently feature tasting notes of dark chocolate, maple, earth, and coffee beans.
Oliva Master Blends 3 lives up to the reputation the highest-quality, bestselling Maduro cigars enjoy. The blend is handcrafted at the award-winning Oliva factory in Estelí, Nicaragua from a succulent core of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos grown from Cuban seeds. Master Blends 3 has long been the brand’s flagship, small-batch cigar with its tantalizing profile of brown sugar, dark chocolate and spices.
Clearly, any beer fanatics with a hankering for Cigar City Maduro Brown are not only easy converts when it comes to premium, handcrafted cigars, but a Maduro-wrapped variety is a sure-fire bet for satisfaction. This Northern English-style Brown Ale kicks out an amalgam of chocolaty, silky flavors that result in a complex and malty profile that’s full-flavored and approachable.
Creamy, leathery notes of tobacco and cocoa envelop the palate with this pair in a toothy and scrumptious finish that goes down like a chocolate ice-cream cone in a heat wave.
Padron 1964 Anniversary Natural & Allagash Curieux
Take swig of New England with the Maine-made, crisp and sweet flavors in Allagash Curieux. This rich, golden ale represents the company’s maiden voyage into barrel aging. It begins with Allagash Tripel, which is aged in bourbon barrels for seven weeks, and then poured out with a fresh share of Tripel blended back in. Coconut, vanilla, and bourbon notes show off impeccable smoothness and the brand’s signature grain-in-lieu-of-barley formula. Lovely maple aromas surface in this lush 11% ABV beer.
Padron 1964 Anniversary first elevated the brand into the coveted, premium status it enjoys today back in 1994 when the blend debuted. The Padron family hasn’t looked back once and continues to deliver a top-shelf portfolio of top-rated cigars that have earned Cigar Aficionado’s “#1 Cigar of the Year” title no less than three times. In a Natural wrapper, Padron 1964 Anniversary is a wonderful companion for a sip of Allagash Curieux on the palate. An entirely Nicaraguan recipe of binder, filler, and wrapper leaf tobaccos is aged for a minimum of six years to achieve pronounced and ultra-refined flavors of nutmeg, cayenne peppers, baking spices, cedar, and coffee beans.
Add this pair to your picnic basket for an idyllic merger of brisk tasting notes that maintain plenty of depth and sweetness. Padron and Allagash equal an essential discovery for boat-rowers that aren’t on a deadline to get back to the dock.
About Shane Kliebenstein
Shane is the Lead Copywriter on the Content Development & Merchandising Team at Holt’s Cigar Company in Philadelphia, where he writes, manages, and edits all written content for Holt’s, in addition to the Ashton, La Aroma de Cuba, and San Cristobal cigar brands. With more than 16 years of sales and marketing experience in the premium cigar industry, Shane relishes devoting his background in creative writing to a world-renowned brand. When he’s not busy scrutinizing the use of a comma, he indulges an amplified passion for handmade guitars and rock n’ roll music well past sunset.
[This post was sponsored by Holt’s Cigars]