Summertime is kicking in, and coolers piled high with cans or bottles are in full-effect. While the go-to drink pairing for cigars may be brown spirits such as scotch, whiskey, or bourbon, you would be surprised to find out that beer also makes an amazing choice to compliment the flavors of your favorite stogie. With the vast selection of beers on the market these days, you can easily find the right selection to pair with a good smoke. Let’s pop the top and crack the case on beer and cigar pairings…
Why does beer pair well with cigars?
Cigars and beer are both crafted with very carefully selected components, taking time to create the perfect blend in order to achieve the taste that is needed. It is a careful manipulation of natural ingredients working along with scientific processes and artisanal craft. The varietal of plants, growing regions, and climates they are grown in, as well as the fermentation processes used, all have a great impact on what the final outcome is.
Another reason that beer works so well with cigars, is that the carbonation from the beverage acts as a palate cleanser to help refresh the taste buds and allow you to fully enjoy the experience of your pairing. The bubbles in the drink stimulate the tongue and open it up to new flavors.
A well-crafted beer takes time and skill to create, as does a premium cigar.
How to choose your beer and cigar pairing.
We all have our general preferences for beer, some like hoppy, zesty brews, while some like them dark and malty. The same diversity can be found in our cigar choices, with vastly different flavors in tobacco types. If you’ve ever switched between a shade-grown cigar and a maduro leaf blend, you know this to be true. The good news is that these each have unique flavor qualities that correspond to different tobacco, as well as grain and hop selections for beer. As a general rule, most people will tell you to pair the color of your cigar with the color of your beer. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but it is a good place to start.
Here are a few pairing combinations to help get you started.
- Mild cigars go great with Pilsner, Hefeweizen, or Pale Lagers. These lighter beers pair nicely with a Connecticut shade grown wrapper like the Diamond Crown Natural. Smooth, wheat flavors and crisp notes are the perfect complement to a more mellow smoke. The body of your beer will not overpower the profile of your cigar with the right pairing.
- Medium bodied cigars will pair well with beers in the Ale, IPA, Amber, or Brown categories. If your brew is too hoppy, it can mask the subtle flavors of a mild cigar, which is why these go better with something that has a bit more body to match. Try a 20th Anniversary cigar with one of these drink selections.
- Full-bodied, bold cigars need a bit of a robust drink pairing to stand up to the increase in flavors and complexity. Stout, Porter, or Barrel-Aged varieties are going to work best with a medium-full, to full bodied cigar. These beers have a heavier malt bill in their recipes, with a noticeable mouthfeel when drinking. For this pairing, we have actually curated the perfect FSG Taster Set that includes our FSG Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, alongside robust FSG by Drew Estate cigars.
Whatever your preference, beer makes a great, complimentary pairing for your favorite smoke, and allows you to diversify your smoking ritual. Don’t be afraid to grab your favorite “cold one”, and spark it up with a fine cigar.