Archive for the 'Stout' Category

2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout and a Diamondback Robusto

Aren't they just dreamy?

When I’m not stuffing my face with rich, decadent foods alongside drinking a rich, decadent beer, you can find me enjoying a nice cigar…. and drinking a rich, decadent beer (Let’s be honest, I drink every chance I get). As is the case with food, I find beer pairs better with cigars than a nice brandy, porto, or what have you. Beers can be manipulated in ways that liquors and wines can not be. The flavor profiles and varieties of beers are innumerable, and, as much as I enjoy a good bourbon or Bordeaux, there’s only so much you can do to change the taste of liquor and wine. The same is the case with cigars, in terms of manipulation of flavor profile. There are so many types of tobaccos that have the ability to have their tastes changed with slight manipulations. The pairing of the two together is just common sense.

That being said, you can not just throw any beer and any cigar together. As is the case with pairing liquors with cigars, match like qualities with like qualities. You do not want to pair a nice robusto with pale ale. Likewise, it would be equally disastrous pairing a big English barleywine with a mild cigar. Match them flavor for flavor. An stout would not serve well when paired with a cigar whose profile is a bit more on the citrusy and light side. As I said, the pairings are common sense, but think before pairing. If you happen to be more knowledgeable about one and less about the other, as a beer connoisseur or cigar aficionado about the flavor profiles of either/or…. or you could just follow and ask us (hint, hint).

Well finally, onto the pairing. I lucked out at one of my local beer stops when a buddy of mine who works there told me about a shipment of fairly rare Goose Island beers that had just come in. Naturally, after hearing they had the 2008 version of their Bourbon County Brand Stout in said shipment, I bought as many as was allowed. I knew that this would be the perfect beer to pair with a cigar…
… which cigar though? Now, due to the flavor profile and high %ABV of the BCBS, I knew I wanted a robust cigar that had a creamy, sweet yet spicy taste. Nicaraguan tobacco is known to have a flavor profile such as this, so I set out to look for the perfect smoke to match. At my local smoke shop, I came across a fairly inexpensive, yet interesting smelling cigar. The Diamondback Robusto, a cigar made with Nicaraguan tobacco, has the words “Dulce Humo” on the wrapper, which translates to sweet smoke. A whiff gave me just what I was looking for; a bit of a sweet, yet peppery and oaky smell. I knew this would pair well with the BCBS.
Back at home, a pop of the top, a light of the smoke, and I was in heaven. The beer itself was divine. A nice, velvety smooth vanilla flavor came through first. Not a sticky sweet cloying vanilla that you get sometimes from vanilla bean aged stouts, but a subtle, yet powerful vanilla that comes from oak aging. Big chocolate flavors play with a much more subdued, yet perfectly balanced, bourbon sweetness. This beer is rich, smooth, and nearly perfect. I did not want the first sip to end. A puff of the cigar put me in even more of a subliminal state. A nice peppery taste, followed by nutmeg and cinnamon, were the first on the palate. After they subdued, a nice creamy vanilla, akin to the one tasted in the beer, came through. As I pushed the smoke to the the roof of my mouth, a sweet toffee flavor began to rear it’s head. Going back and forth between the two enhanced the flavors of each, as well as bringing more subdued notes out. The Bourbon County began giving off slight coffee flavors, not bitter coffee, but a nice, creamy mocha. A bit of a paprika note was tasted in the cigar, as well.
This was a fine pairing, one I did not want to end. When the beer and smoke was done, I was forced back to earth to rejoin reality.



STOUT | 6.40% ABV

Pours ridiculously thick and black with a light tan, über foamy thick head. Loaded with bitter malt and chocolate notes with underlying caramel and coffee flavors. A truly fantastic stout offered up by Deschutes for a very affordable cost. We here on the “Other” Coast don’t have the luxury of wide distribution of Deschutes beers. Though I’m sure if you want it bad enough, you’ll find it.

Pairing Suggestions: Steak and chocolate cake, perhaps Molé

beer + food = Barleydine


Oatmeal Stout | 6.00% ABV

A roasty, dark oatmeal stout with hints of dark chocolate supported by a toasty caramel. This smooth, quaffable stout is a perfect match for the onset of chilly air, warm Fall aromas, and college football. Steel Drivin’ Stout is a tasty companion for chocolate or caramel desserts.

Pairing notes:

Asian Glazed Pork Spare Ribs were the partner for the Steel Drivin’ Stout. Such a beautiful stout, perfect for those cool summer evenings. The abundant maltiness went perfect with the sweet glaze and caramelized meat. Instinct would say chocolate and desert with this beer, which would be great, but try this with barbeque. Would also be perfect as the base for a great barbeque glaze.

beer + food = Barleydine

Beer info from Bavarian Barbarian website. Pairing review by Uncle Barley Josh


American Double/ Imperial Stout | 8.30% ABV

This is a very dark and heavy bodied beer. Loaded with malt flavor, imparting coffee and chocolate notes. It has a very silky mouthfeel from the abundant oatmeal used in the brewing process. Hands down one of the best Imperial Stouts on the market. It paired very well with the peanut-butter melt-away desert I had left over.

Pairing notes:

Peanut Butter Melt-away is an explosion of flavor. Loaded with very heavy flavors, a strong beer is needed to cut this bad boy. Founders did the job well. The heavy malt body of the beer linked well with the chocolate base of the desert. A very noticeable coffee flavor cut the peanut butter very nicely while the carbonation of the beer cleared the palate. Terrific desert beer.

beer + food = Barleydine



Foreign/Export Stout | 6.50% ABV

I was quite fortunate to have had the chance to try this beer. Thanks to my International Traveling friend Mike. His job takes him all over the world, giving him the opportunity to try all kinds of beers.

Those of you out there that are Guinness fans and haven’t had the Foreign Export Stout are really missing out. The Guinness that is brewed for this country is far less impressive than it’s foreign cousin. Foreign Extra Stout is loaded with flavor. Lots of malt characteristics such as coffee and cocoa notes as well as a nice hoppy finish. The body of this beer is considerably heavier than regular Guinness. Which for those of us used to craft brewed Stouts can really appreciate. Nothing worse than a watery Stout in my opinion.

I was never all that impressed by the American Guinness, it’s watery and flavorless in my opinion. It’s a Stout made for adjunct lager drinkers. The Foreign Extra Stout is brewed in many other countries that have more discerning tastes.

Pairing Suggestions: BBQ spare ribs, hearty meat stew, chocolate desert.

beer + food = Barleydine


What could possibly make brownies better? Nothing? Wrong! Beer makes brownies better, not just any beer though. You need a heavy, hardy stout to link up to the super sweet flavor of those chocolate delights.

Flat Earth Brewing Company makes a superb coffee stout, called Black Helicopter. With the typical stout characteristics, yet a bit more mouthfeel, which is just how I like a stout. This stout is loaded with coffee aromas and flavor notes, with hints of chocolate. That chocolate links beautifully to the brownies, while the coffee contrasts that chocolate. It’s a terrific combination. The beer easily replaces that cup of coffee that people would tend to drink with such a desert.

Next time the warm brownies roll out of the oven, be sure to hit your cellar for a Flat Earth Black Helicopter Stout.

beer + food = Barleydine

More to come….


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