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Cigar Pairings

Cigar & Stout Beer Pairings

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Beer and cigars. They belong together like salt and pepper, ketchup and mustard, coffee and cream… You get the picture. Today, we begin a brief series on our favorite beer and cigar pairings with a focus on specific beer varietals. Because it’s one of my favorite styles, we’re starting out with stout.

Despite a common perception that all stouts are full-bodied, heavy beers, many are full of complexity and roundness and can be low in alcohol. The almost black, opaque color of stout is the result of the use of roasted barley. The potent ingredient also contributes sharp flavors of chocolate and espresso. Once popular in the Russian court of Catherine the Great, Russian imperial stouts are the strongest. We’re covering some coveted cigar and stout pairings that span the spectrum of taste.

#1 - Guinness & Ashton Aged Maduro

Okay, Guinness is not some small-batch label a guy brews in his garage to satisfy a cult following. It’s one of the most-consumed beers in the world, brewed in over 50 countries and sold in over 120 on 6 continents. Despite the massive trend toward small-batch craft beers over the past two decades, great beer can still be brewed at scale. I’m not alone in favoring the creamy, malty and smooth taste Guinness’ patented draft system delivers with a mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. When a tap isn’t near, cans of Guinness are equipped with a nitrogen “widget” to preserve the churning of tiny bubbles and the tight stripe of tan creaminess that rises to the top when you pour it in a pint glass.

An equally celebrated and top-selling profile originates in Ashton Aged Maduro. A succulent Connecticut Broadleaf embraces a magnificent recipe of premium aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Notes of dark chocolate, black pepper, molasses, and maple match up wonderfully with the silky espresso-and-coffee-bean taste of Guinness. The dark flavors are polished, savory, and linger only slightly, but with a welcoming and refined texture.

#2 - Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout & San Cristobal Ovation

Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout hails from a small brewery in North Carolina began by former philosophy professor Paul Philippon. Its full-bodied, dense and nearly black profile is derived from highly roasted grains and balanced by the milk sugar (lactose) with which it’s brewed. Malted chocolate, caramel, raisins, and charred fruit notes mingle in a beer with dark, smooth and creamy texture.

San Cristobal Ovation is an annual, small-batch release blended by award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia. A lustrous San Andrés wrapper leaf is aged extensively and drawn over a marvelous interior of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. A profile of sweetened hickory, leather, espresso, and silky spices tantalizes the palate throughout a bold, creamy finish. The thick, luxurious density of Ovation and Duck-Rabbit converge in a perfect after-dinner cigar-and-stout combo good enough to be a meal on its own.

#3 - Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout & La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout delivers a mouthful with its name. The dark, foamy, and highly desirable small-batch stout furnishes a succulent blend of vanilla, oak barrel, caramel, and chocolate notes with an excellent viscosity for sippers. Bottled in 16.9 oz. bottles, Bourbon County Brand Stout shows off a midnight hue with 14.7% ABV from the popular Chicago-based Goose Island brewery.

La Aroma de Cub Mi Amor has won tons of admirers over the years with a 95-rated, medium to full-bodied profile blended by Pepin Garcia in Estelí, Nicaragua. A dark and oily San Andrés wrapper harbors a hearty interior of aged Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos harvested from select Garcia family estates. Notes of cracked black pepper, almonds, freshly ground espresso beans, and maple entice the palate before a sweet, lingering finish. La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor is handmade in a handful of soft box-pressed shapes. Disarm your senses with a decadent cigar-and-stout pairing that is creamy, crisp, spicy, and complex.

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