This is the first of four pairing reviews I will be doing from the CAO Cigars & Flying Dog Brewery Pairing Pack Review series. I didn’t have such good luck with the OSA Sol when it first came out. I had two and they just weren’t my style and had draw issues. But I am willing to give it another try paired with a IPA beer this time. The pairing should bring out more flavors in each the beer and cigar. I have a fondness for craft beer as well, but not so much on India Pale Ales (IPA). I have found them to be too bitter to me and not my cup of tea. They remind me of the old Keystone Light beer commercials “Bitter Beer Face!” But like I said before, I am willing to give it another go.
- 5×50 Robusto (Lot 50)
- Honduran Olancho San Agustin Wrapper
- Connecticut Broadleaf Binder
- Honduran, Nicaraguan Filler
- American India Pale Ale
- ABV: 7.1%
- IBU: 60
- Caramel Malts
- Warrior, Columbus Hops
- American Ale Yeast
A real nice looking cigar. The Honduran wrapper has a nice and oily sheen to it. A few veins here and there with tight seams. A decently applied triple cap tops the head and gives good room for a deep cut if needed. The foot has an aroma of hay, hints of cocoa and a slight sweetness almost. The wrapper has a aroma of dark tobacco; not much going on with it. Cold draw has some sweet straw notes to it.
Popping the cap with the supplied bottle opener I get a whiff of a light, hoppy and almost citrus aroma to the beer.
Cigar has a decent feel to it. There are a few areas that are harder and softer than others. The cold draw has a good bit of resistance to it. Very similar to what I found during my previous encounters with the cigar. The thick draw stayed the whole way through the cigar and I found it to be a negative aspect of the cigar. The burn went fairly well. There were a few waves here and there. But despite the thick draw, the burn was decent and I never had to relight it.
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 sure I will get used to it. It was solid, but you needed to use a little more force with it as there is no length (leverage) to pop the caps.
First. I take a swig of the Snake Dog and try to get a feel for it. Its not bad considering I am not an IPA fan! There are some citrus notes to it with not a whole lot of bitterness. The cigar by itself is ok at the start. There is slight hints of a light vegetal twang that ends fairly bitter. A nice wood note pops around here and there and I wish it would be more endowed in the smoke. Taking a swallow of the Snake Dog followed by draws of the cigar remedy the bitterness I find in the smoke. It also married the wood and vegetal notes into a happy medium which makes the cigar pairing’s success in the works for me.
Heading into the middle, I start to notice a bit of a cocoa note showing up in the smoke after I take a swig of the beer. The bitterness of the cigar comes to an abrupt end when paired with the beer. This confuses me as the slight bitterness in the beer plus the bitterness in the cigar, you would think it would double the bitterness. But it didn’t and actually works well. Without the beer, the cigar still has the bitterness in the end of the draw, but its getting lesser. There is still the wood notes and now a cocoa is popping up in the mix. Heading out of the middle portion, the coca turned into more of a caramel note that I actually preferred more over the cocoa.
Towards the end of the pairing, I got a interesting slightly bitter coffee note that I found to be a nice flavor in the smoke. The vegetal twang showed back up some on the end of the draw but still wasn’t as bitter as previously. Right at the end, the bitterness in the coffee ended and a slight black pepper peeked out some. All of this made for a decent pairing. If the draw would have been a lot lesser, it would have been better. I can imagine the flavor profiles in this pairing would be way more better in my eyes had the draw been less thicker. In my opinion the very last inch or so, the beer didn’t do much for the flavors in the cigar. I think one should finish the beer prior to the very ending of the cigar.
- Would I smoke the cigar again by itself? No. 3rd one with thick draw & somewhat bitter flavors I didn’t care for.
- Would I drink Snake Dog again? Sure, it wasn’t bad. But wouldn’t buy it in a 6pk.
- Would I pair them again. Yeh, sure. But No big hurry to do so.
- I think the pairing worked well. I didn’t care too much for the cigar, but after a swig or two of the beer, they mingled nicely.
- I liked the pairing more towards the last half of the pairing.
- I didn’t care for the bitterness and thick draw of the cigar. I really wish the draw wasn’t so tight.
- Yes, the pairing did bring out more (better) flavors in the cigar versus previous accounts of the cigar.
- I did like the citrus notes in the beer, it was a refreshing brew on the end of a hot day.
- The beer wasn’t as bitter as I figured it would be. In fact, the cigar was a little bit more bitter than the beer was!
- This beer snuck up on me towards the end. It didn’t taste, nor feel like a 7.1% beer.
- If you like a lighter flavored beer and want some “umph” in it, try the Snake Dog. It was pretty refreshing and not as bitter as most IPAs I have had.
- Don’t let the term IPA fool you with the Snake Dog beer, it wasn’t as bitter as I figured it to be.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from CAO Cigars for this review. This beer was sent to me from Flying Dog Brewery. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this pairing!