When it comes to enjoying a cigar, the best accompaniment for me (after good weather) is a good drink. While I do appreciate the more conventional matches such as a whiskey, port or rum etc. I have been experimenting with a variety beers and cigars. These are my findings so far on Maduro cigars when paired with different beers, from light to dark styles.
Although dark and rich flavoured beers seem the most obvious choice, I recently gave Lagunitas New Dogtown pale ale a trial. While such a zesty beer is likely to go against the flavours of the tobacco, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Often when pairing food with drink, flavours can contrast yet they don't conflict. I wanted to see if the same could be true for my favourite cigar, Inka bombaso maduro, special blend. With a 60 gauge maduro like this, the beer's carbonation and citrus, cleansing the palate was helpful to hit the reset button on my taste buds between each third of the stick. Lagunitas have a certain waxy characteristic that mingles with the oiliness of the 100% Peruvian tobacco in an intriguing combination.
Going darker with the beer, Belgian style is the ultimate way to go - or in this case, an Irish craft expression of Belgian style dubbel. My last bottle of the now discontinued, Radikale Rubenesque Belgian Dubbel was enjoyed with an Alec Bradley, Black Market robusto. Incredibly complex beer and a full flavour cigar, perfect! I would also suggest this cigar to be perfect with a Quadrupel such as La Trappe Quad or Rochefort 10.
Another big gauge cigar is the Nub maduro which went so well with the selected beer, it was as though they were meant for each other. The brew I'm talking about is Galway Bay Brewery's whiskey barrel aged imperial stout, called 200 Fathoms - 2016 edition. Boozy, robust and intense flavours of roast vanilla, oak, dark chocolate and forest fruits in this after aging for just under a year. Those flavours did the tango with the cigar's heavy spice, mocha and dark chocolate notes from Nicaraguan filler tobacco and Brazilian wrapper leaf.
The latest attempt was a bourbon barrel aged Vietnamese coffee stout by Dotbrew, brewed specially for Joel of Blackrock Cellar. This beer tasted completely different to how I expected with a fruit punch flavour and more of a back seat for the coffee flavours which were there but quite understated. Very little carbonation, smooth and nutty, long finish. It complemented the Inka maduro just as deliciously as the Lagunitas pale ale contrasted it.