How did cat pee get in my wine?-Vino Vixen

February 3, 2009

Flavor…it’s everything.  From the food we eat, to the things we drink–flavor is something that separates an ordinary gastonomical experience from something absolutely epicurean.  I’m a hopeless romantic (though you would never know it from talking to me) and even though I may pan Valentine’s Day when we are chatting in person, I look forward to spending a cozy night with my honey in my pj’s instead of out battling the crowds, and I can’t wait to see his face when he opens up his gift.  You see, this edition is about the men in our lives and how to find the perfect Cheap Date present for them–I’m going to hook all you chickies up with some microbrew and cigar pairings so you can go out well armed and get him a gift he will truly enjoy!

I have to give credit to my very dear friend Paul Brown (of the eponymous Brick House Brewery nut brown ale fame) for doing the research on this one and giving me his picks.  I can vouch for the fact that this man knows beer and cigars–he actually has a special beer fridge in his kitchen and TWO humidors and reads extensively on both subjects.  So, thank you, Paul!  You’ve made this much easier for me to write. 

And what does cat pee have to do with this post?  Everything!  If you are a fan of wine, beer, cigar, or anything that is tasted and/or smelled, you’ll find there are many reviews out there that use some really strange terms to describe the experience…and sometimes the terms that sound the most offensive are really terms to look for!  Click here for some great descriptive wine terminology info, and here for the beer!

A brew and a stogie!

I’ve learned a lot from when I have decided to write this post until now.  I don’t consider myself a cigar expert, but can certainly hold my own when it comes to microbrews.  However, I never really thought about pairing beer and cigars like some people do with wine and chocolate.  Beer and food, sure.  But this is a new one for me…so read on, my friends–I hope you will learn something new as well!

When pairing beer and cigars, a simple rule applies–the more delicate the beer, the smaller the cigar.  And I don’t just mean the length…you know that paper ring around the cigar?  That’s called a ring gauge.  The narrower the ring gauge, the less intense the beer.  A thinner cigar will pair well with a wheat beer (think hefeweisen), while a stubby robusto will pair well with a porter.

Tobacco does contribute to the flavor of a cigar, and I’m going to name them here from mildest to heaviest:

Jamaican-mild and light.

Dominican-still light, but heavier than the Jamaican.

Honduran-fuller and spicier than the Dominican.

Maduro-varies from light to rich to rich and heavy, known for heavy chocolate and coffee flavors.

However, cigars actually get most of their taste from the wrapper (who knew?)!  Here’s a list from lightest to heaviest:

Claro Claro (also known as Jade or Candela, light green in color)

Claro (light yellowish brown)

Colorado Claro (light brown)

Colorado (medium brown)

Colorado Maduro (chocolate brown)

Maduro (dark brown)

Oscuro (almost black)

A rule of thumb–the lighter the wrapper, the lighter the brew!

Paul’s picks!

The best part of the list below is that all the beers and cigars should be readily available at your local tobacconist and beverage center!

With wheat beers, you really don’t want to overpower the light fruity flavor that makes them a refreshing treat.  Try pairing a Macanudo Jamaican cigar with a Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager or the Widmer Hefeweizen Left Hand Haystack Wheat.

Fruit beers make it very difficult to match a cigar as they run the gamut from light and crisp to heavy and sweet.  Stick with a Claro or a Colorado wrapped cigar and pair it with GD Wild Raspberry, Ithaca Apricot or Blue Point’s Blueberry Ale.

Ales are another category of beer that run the gamut.  For amber ales, such as Flying Dog’s Amber Ale (sorry, Paul, I had to stick my Flying Dog in there somewhere!), try the Hamilton Series “George Line”; and for a more bitter brew such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the Don Tomas “International Line” makes a great pairing.

Scotch ales are a heady, full-bodied beer, and your cigar should be up to the challenge.  Try pairing Innis and Runns Scottish Ale with a Dominican cigar having a Sumatra or Colorado wrapper.

And now, my favorite…the porters and stouts!  There is such a wide range in flavors with these that I will break this out a bit.  The drier stouts, such as Guinness, pair well with Don Manolo’s Colorado Maduro.  Sweeter stouts like Samuel Smith’s Chocolate Stout and the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence are a match made in heaven with a Tamboril Maduro.  And porters, such as Santa Fe State Pen Porter and (my fave) Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter just cry out for a Don Tomas or Petreus Maduros.

All for now…ladies, get on out there and get your man something he can enjoy with the boys (and be the envy of them all!).  Life is too short not to indulge in a bit of vice here and there! 

Gotta run…got an event that should be here?  Let me know at!

Hmmmmm….cat pee…I’ve been contemplating getting some winemaking equipment, taking some classes, and trying to create some funky, boutique-y fruit wines.  I can see it now…Cat Pee Winery!  If you see it out there in a year or so, that might just be me!

Chat soon!



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