Winter is coming! Or, as those from Buffalo, New York are more than happy to tell you, winter is already here with a vengeance! When the snow starts coming down there’s only one thing to do, retreat indoors with a heat source like a fireplace and get toasty. You can also do the Cheaphumidors.com method and just live in Florida where winter doesn’t really exist, just a slightly colder summer. No matter where you are, you’ve undoubtedly noticed all the seasonal decorations, treats and beverages taking over retail stores.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, we’re giving you an article to be thankful for: an article on winter beer and cigar pairings. This might come in handy when you need a cigar break from the in-laws! What better way to warm up than by lighting up a fine cigar with a seasonal brew while you view the fury of mother nature outside. With my fair beer budget I was able to go out and grab some of this season’s best brews to take home and try with a few of my sticks to get in the holiday spirit.
Blue Moon Mountain Abbey Ale + 5 Vegas Gold
This was the first combo I tried on a somewhat cool evening (for Florida of course). Blue Moon has always consistently been one of my favorite go to beers and my fridge is almost always stocked with the seasonal collection each time the new one starts. The Abbey Ale was a good full-bodied beer with many sweet tones in the aftertaste. I figured the best way to combat the cold would be to channel some Vegas so I grabbed my 5 Vegas Gold cigar. This pairing benefited from the Vegas’s thick full smoke with peppery flavors and a stronger kick near the end. While initially I really enjoyed this combo, near the end I felt that the cigar was taking away some of the sweeter flavors of the beer but it was still very enjoyable. I know I will definitely be picking up more Blue Moon in the future, but I think I may want to try it with a sweeter or creamier cigar to best boost the beer’s flavor.
Woodchuck Hard Cider + Ortega Serie D
I know, who adds a hard cider to a beer article? Well normally I wouldn’t think to pair a cider with a cigar but as I was thinking of holiday drinks, I couldn’t help but think of the quintessential winter drink of warm cider. Since warm cider is no longer as exciting as an adult I decided to give the hard variety a shot. It was a very good decision as the hard cider went fantastically well with the Ortega Serie D. The cigar actually helped add quite a bit of body to the cider and made it more beer-like and flavorful. The Woodchuck, in turn, adds its sweetness to the cigar resulting in an increasingly delicious loop of flavor enhancement. Although it was warm and sunny out when I was enjoying this pair, I couldn’t help but think that warm hard cider actually wouldn’t be a bad option at all, if there was any need to get warmer instead of avoiding Florida’s winter sunburn.
Sam Adams Winter Lager + My Father Flor de Las Antillas
This combo was by far my favorite of the bunch! I had not actually had the Sam Adams Winter Lager before and it was great. It had all the full- bodied flavor you can expect from a Sam Adams along with notes of orange and even a hint of gingerbread. This brew went perfectly with the smooth flavor of the My Father Flor de Las Antillas and managed to keep the gingerbread aftertaste present while puffing. I can guarantee I will be revisiting this combination as my reward once I finally get all my holiday shopping done and it wouldn’t surprise me if Santa treats himself to the same. (Screw cookies and milk, leave the poor man a 6-pack and some stogies, trust me he needs it!)
As we brace ourselves for Thanksgiving and black Friday and cyber Monday deals, we hope you’ll share some of your own winter beer and cigar pairings with us! Tag us on Twitter @CheapHumidors with a picture of your delicious combo! For some of us, once it gets to day three of being with our family, we’ll need an excuse to get out on the patio with a brew and a stick. Happy smoking to all of you and be sure to stay warm!Winter Beer and Cigar Pairings by Chris Bonomo