I am usually quite thoughtful when it comes to pairing beer with food. Cigars, while I enjoy them, have usually been more of an afterthought. Or if I do give a beer cigar pairing any thought, it is usually ends with “dark beer goes well with a cigar.” However, when it is 85 degrees and 85 percent humidity on a Florida evening, stout beers are not what I want to drink, though I do still want that cigar and I usually want a beer to go with it.
In my opinion, you could drink any beer with any cigar and that would be okay. The goal of a thought-out pairing is to have the experience be better than just okay. I think it is possible to come up with a great cigar and beer pairing without needing to be stuck in the stout or Belgian strong dark category. Today, I am having a Drew Estate MUWAT 5.5×52 cigar paired with Dieu du Ciel Herbe a Detourne.
The MUWAT cigar has a medium body with notes of sweet cocoa and spice. It has an easy draw and is a nicely constructed cigar. The Herbe a Detourne pours a deep golden color with a pillowy white head. This beer has a nose of tangerine, apricot, pineapple and grapefruit with lots of sweet malt and a full mouthfeel that is both rich and sweet and bracingly bitter.
In the end, this experiment in pairing worked out wonderfully. The sweet citrus aroma of the malt/hop combo plays very well with the cocoa notes of the MUWAT, while the bitterness of the hops accents the natural sweetness found in the cigar. I look forward to having more fun with pairing craft beers with cigars, but it looks like I am not the only one who is having fun with these pairings. Perdomo has come out with a new “Special Craft Series.” While this particular line may not show up in a store near you, I am guessing that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cigars that are specifically designed to pair with different styles of beer.
Rick Swartz, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits beer consultant and tobacconist
Follow me on Twitter @abcbeerrick