Cigars and Beers: The Perfect Pair
One of the perks of being a craft beer fan is that breweries are always doing crazy, interesting things. For instance, Flying Dog introduced an old bay beer, Stone collaborates with everyone and their sister, and Telegraph Brewing Company is even helping a band release their album ON their label. That being said, it should be no surprise that Flying Dog collaborated with CAO Cigars to create a suggested Craft Beer and Cigars pairing. Together, the two determined which Flying Dog beers would pair the best with which CAO Cigars. Then, they packaged the cigars and published the pairings for all to try. Turns out they were pretty spot-on. Check out the pairings, the beers, and the cigars. If you can’t find either in your area, take the style of each and pair them together.
Here’s what you can expect from the Flying Dog/CAO pairing:
Flying Dog Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout and CAO Mx2
The oyster stout carries the typical malty sweetness, but finishes dry and includes earthy and bitter undertones throughout. It’s definitely an interesting stout worth trying. Be warned – this is not a breakfast stout style, so the sweetness is not as strong as it is in other stouts. The Mx2 cigar is paired well with this stout. The cigar complements the dry and bitter finish of the stout. The Mx2 is a darker cigar, but not as bold as you may think. Instead, it has a medium strength with a smooth smoke from beginning to end. The flavors of the cigar include some herbal spice characteristics as well as those of coffee and bitter chocolate.
Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA and CAO Sol
Hoppy meets Spicy. The snake dog delivers the promised citrus and hop flavors throughout the brew. Nice crisp mouthfeel makes it a refreshing brew with a bitter and sweet bite. Not sure what to expect, I lit the CAO Sol and was pleasantly surprised with the spicy taste that went with the IPA. The cigar had a peppery flavor throughout the smoke. Moving through the smoke, earthy notes and even some citrus were included. Another medium cigar, but it complemented the IPA well. Possibly a tie for first place in this pairing list…
Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA and CAO Gold
I love the raging bitch, so I can’t complain here. The brew offers a sweet IPA with good balance of sweetness to bitterness. Meanwhile, the CAO Gold is a mild sweet, caramel-flavored cigar with a smooth smoke. Of the pairings, this may have been the least favorite between my friend and I. We enjoyed the brew and the cigar, but if we had to rank them, this would be number 4.
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter and CAO Brazilia
This was the other tie for our favorite pairing. Typically, porters are not my favorite, but the Gonzo offered a nice malty brew that did not leave a syrup-like mouthfeel. The brew was still well carbonated and offered bitter notes in the form of bitter chocolate and coffee. To complement these flavors, the Brazilia started with sweet, creamy chocolate flavors, followed by bitter chocolates, nutty flavors, and even earthy undertones. I would definitely pair these two together again and enjoy it just as much.
I don’t smoke cigars as much as I drink beer, but I’ve enjoyed the two seperately. I’ve heard of pairing cigars to whiskey, but there are so many cigar styles and beer styles that it can overwhelm anyone. I think the list above is a great start for a novice that loves the taste of cigars AND the taste of craft beer. If you can’t find the exact beer, go with the style and try out the cigars. Get to know what you like from a cigar and go from there!