The CAO Brazilia line has been a go-to cigar when it comes to CAO. I have a fondness for Brazilian wrappers and the darkness they add to the flavor profile. The Gol is my favorite size, but occasionally I will toast up a Lambada.
The Gonzo Imperial Porter just sounds like a good brew to me. I am a fan of pretty much anything with Imperial in the name. This notates a higher alcohol content than a non-imperial beer. And I have liked many porter style beers I have came across as well. BeerAdvocate rates this beer at a 90 meaning “outstanding”. Ratebeer gives it an overall score of 99. With those two scores, I believe I am in for a nice treat today with this pairing. Although the 9.2% ABV is not the highest alcohol content I have ever had, I still prepaired myself by having a large pizza & chips before the pairing. I let that settle and cleansed my palate prior to the pairing for a more fair review.
- Size: 5×56
- Imperial Porter
- ABV: 9.2%
- IBU: 85
- 120L Caramel, Black, Chocolate Malts
- Warrior, Northern Brewer, Cascade Hops
The Brazilia Gol has a nice amount of sheen to it, a few minimal veins with a slightly darker than medium brown wrapper. A neatly applied double cap tops off the cigar. The cigar has a nice firmness to it and a nice heft. The cold draw is great with hints of a slightly sweet hay or straw.
Popping the cap off the Gonzo, I smell the aroma of a nice amount of hops and a bit of maltiness at the end. I also detect a faint bit of a citrus note as well that accompanies the hops and malt. I have to admit, Flying Dog beer labels are some of the most simple, but unique ones I have seen. They look to be drawn by a 12yr old or an adult who has had too many Flying Dog beers. Very simple and almost stick figure drawings that really don’t go along too much with the beer’s name. But they are all eye catching and have their own niche.
The construction of the Gol was darn near perfect. Great draw, solid inch or better ashes from a fairly straight burn line. No relights or touchups, even considering the 85% humidity of the day. I suppose the larger ring gauge helped keep the ashes ahold, more tobacco to hold together. The Gol gave of a vast amount of drawn and ambient smoke. I didn’t have much of a room note as there was a nice breeze and a fan blowing.
The construction of the bottle opener was rock solid. I have used many types of openers in my past. This one felt as solid as the “professional” ones I have used before. It was a little awkward in my hands, but I am getting used to it as I use it more. It was solid, but you needed to use a little more force with it as there is no length (leverage) to pop the caps.
The Gonzo Imperial Porter has a good amount of bitterness to it that’s followed by a sense of an almost bitter chocolate note. This beer is more like what I figured the Snake Dog IPA would be in the bitterness sense. The IPA was actually a lot less bitter than the Gonzo. Right off the bat, I realize this beer will take some getting used to. I read on the Flying Dog Brewery’s website they suggest to drink this beer in a snifter. I am just a good ole southern boy and we drink beer from a can, bottle or keg tap. The snifter is usually for my bourbons and whiskeys; but I’ll try the beer in a snifter. Now that I have a taste of the beer, I move on to toasting the foot of the Gol. A triple flame lighter is one of my pet peeves, but its almost a must with this 56ring gauge cigar. The first portion of the cigar is full of a nice slightly bitter chocolate note that’s full in strength. A draw on the Gol after a swig or two of the beer eases off the bitterness in the chocolate in the smoke and smoothens it off to a more manageable state.
Working into the middle portion, the bitterness of both the cigar and beer ease off more. The chocolate in the cigar still has a small amount of bitterness, but not much. I start to taste a nice almost creamy-like caramel flavor in the smoke when paired with the beer. Around halfway through the beer, I start to sense the “Imperial” in the beer. The 9.2% is working its way on me; I’m glad I ate prior to the review. The bitterness moves towards the end of the draw around the middle of the cigar and is still lessening the more I progress through the cigar. Towards the end of the middle of the cigar, the chocolate becomes more darker and a tad bit richer. There is also a hint of a charred meat here and there in the smoke that catches my attention.
Heading into the final stretch of the Gol and Gonzo Imperial Porter, I get a nice toast flavor in the smoke when not paired with the beer. I really enjoyed it as is accompanied the charred meat flavor; but is sporadic in the smoke. This flavor is lessened with the beer and the dark chocolate shines through more. Towards the end of the beer, I start to taste more of the maltiness of it and less of the bitterness. This may be one of those beers that do better not “ice cold”. At the very end of the Gol and Gonzo pairing, I get a bit of a slightly salted caramel added to the dark chocolate flavors. Its not as refined as the prior flavors. I wish it would have showed up more in the flavor profile as it had some potential to be a nice key flavor.
- Would I smoke the cigar again by itself? You know it, its one of my favorite CAO cigars.
- Would I drink Gonzo Imperial Porter again? Maybe a glass of it, nothing I would drink alone. It would have to be paired up with a cigar or food.
- Would I pair them again? Sure would, I liked the pairing.
- I think the pairing worked well. I liked how the beer rounded out the smoke and took the edge off the slight bitterness in the chocolate notes of the cigar. Although I didn’t like how the toast-like notes got muzzled by the beer towards the end.
- I liked the pairing more in the last half of the cigar and beer.
- I didn’t care for the bitterness in the beer at first. But, when I drank it out of a snifter it allowed me to enjoy more of the aromas of the beer; not just the flavors.
- The beer is not for the faint of heart or anyone who likes light beer. At 9.2% alcohol content, its a beer to be enjoyed after a nice meal.
- This beer seemed to get better as it warmed up away from the “ice cold” state out of my fridge.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from CAO Cigars for this review. This beer was sent to me, unsolicited, from Flying Dog Brewery. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this pairing!