Everyone knows it’s difficult to pair a fine cigar to a great whiskey. Both can have powerful flavors that can either go against each other, or if you find the perfect match, complement each other. That is why many a time, when one finds a pairing that works for them, they stick to that combination.
Now, if you thought pairing a whiskey to a cigar is difficult, cigar and beer pairings are a bigger mountain to climb.
Why Cigar and Beer Pairings are Such a Mammoth Task
Once upon a time, cigars where a luxury reserved for the rich upper class and beer a drink for the middle class. But as cigars become more and more popular and affordable, it has become a necessity for a cigar and beer lover to find the perfect combination of the two.
But it is no easy task, especially for the novice.
The main reason you may be struggling to find the sweet spot in your cigar and beer pairing endeavors could be down to 3 main reasons.
1. You Don’t Understand Your Beer
If you’re thinking, “but a beer is a beer, as long as it’s a good brew”, you fit snugly into this category. An ale and a lager are 2 different kinds of beer and thus will not go well with the same kind of whiskey.
Here’s a brief look at the 4 main types of beer.
- Lagers. The most common of beer types, lager tends to be lighter in color and have a crisp, light, and refreshing taste. The word “lager” is derived from a German word that means to store, referring to the preparation method of storing in cold temperatures for months.
- Ales. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast at cellar temperature. They are fuller bodied with fruity hints and are darker in color.
- Stouts and Porters. Stouts have a more coffee like character, deriving their color and taste from barley. Porter, on the other hand, is a type of ale with a fruity dry taste.
- Malts. These are generally darker with hints of caramel, nuts, and toffee.
The key to a perfect cigar and beer pairing is to understand these different types of beer and their flavors. They give a clue as to which type of cigar they will go well with.
2. You Don’t Understand Your Cigars
Again just like beer, cigars have different flavors and strengths. The tricky part with cigars is that there are literally thousands of different blends and varying strengths. It takes quite some time if you are a beginner to get to know them all. Bottom line is that experience is always the best teacher. You won’t know which flavors and intensities you enjoy until you grab the…, well cigar and smoke it. Understanding this will help you strike a perfect balance between your cigar and your beer.
Now that we have broken down the main barrier, let us proceed.
Tips On Cigar and Beer Pairing
As with whiskey and cigar pairing, there are a few general rules of thumb that can guide you on your quest to find the best cigar/beer pairing.
The Darker the Beer, the Stronger the Cigar it can Handle
Dark beers tend to have full-bodied taste, strong and heavy flavors, and thus can be paired with their counterparts in the cigar world. For example, a strong stout like the famous Guinness can be paired with a La Flor Dominicana Cabinet Maduro. Both strong flavors in their own rights but they are capable of balancing each other out.
Trust Your Tongue
The main problem in prescribing the perfect beer and cigar pairing is that we all have different tastes. What may be the winning combination for me might be a cause to throw up for you. Well, not to that extreme but at least you get my point.
As with all good things in life, experience is the best teacher. This simply means you have to give yourself the time to experiment with the different combinations that you like. You will eventually come up with a few winners from which you will choose the combination that takes the cup.
Follow the Leader
This might sound like I’m going against my previous statement but bear with me and catch my drift. Watch the combinations the “veterans” go for and take a cue from them. With the many kinds of cigar and beer combination out there, you definitely won’t be able to try them all out this side of life. And that is why you should learn from those who have lived longer than you. You may not necessarily stick to their cigar/beer pairing, but you can use it as the starting point to discover your own personal favorite combination.
Of Beer, Cigars, and Your Tongue – the Conclusion of the Matter
The perfect cigar and beer pairings are out there – waiting to be discovered. Take yourself on a deliciously wonderful journey and discover which pairing will resonate most with your tongue.