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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Smoke And Beers

While replenishing the family beer cooler yesterday at the local ABC I stumbled (not literally) upon a remarkable find - an IPA from Tampa's own Cigar City Brewing, the big 'H' Humidor Series. I was intrigued by the description on the label, "An India Pale Ale...aged on Spanish Cedar...Pairs well with spicy food and medium to robust cigars." This I had to try!

After chilling for a few hours, I took the big 'H' and a CAO Brazilia out to the patio, poured a glass and fired up the stogie. Voila! The label was correct - this was a perfect pairing, and I did detect the hint of Spanish Cedar in the IPA.

This was especially gratifying to me since I can rarely identify with the flavors or aromas listed on product labels. There is nothing wrong with my senses. My problem is a lack of benchmarks. Whether we are talking about beer, wine, or cigars I'll give you a few examples of what I mean.

Tastes like elderberries, huckleberries, dingleberries: I wouldn't know. I grew up here in Florida and they don't grow this far south. Guavas, mangoes, and watermelon I can identify with.

Tastes like saddle leather, number 2 pencil lead, Warren Sapp's jock strap: Again, I don't know. I have never licked a saddle. I have chewed a few number 2 pencils during tests, but I can't recall ever licking the pencil lead. On the jock strap tasting, that is disgusting on so many different levels (no offense meant to Mr. Sapp). Actually, none of those flavors would entice me to try another sip or puff.

I do have a Spanish Cedar humidor, so I can finally relate to this taste even though I do not lick my humidor, although that probably would be a dandy way to refresh the moisture level. It does have a distinctive aroma and I got hints of that in the big 'H'. I also got a heck of a buzz from the big "H'. This isn't an ale for puss-wads.

I am now anxious to try other brews from Cigar City Brewing.

Salud, y'all!

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