Blending flavors is something that I think any foodie can appreciate. As brewers (both amateur and professional), exploring flavors is fun. Pairing foods, putting unconventional things in beer, barrel aging, blending. You name it, and its probably been done and continues to be done. But WHY? Complexity, my friends. New flavor combinations. Flavor synergy, if you will. I think in some cases its also called “umami”?
So where am I going with this? Let me start back a few years ago. We were living near Chandler, Arizona, and I had recently discovered Uncle Bears Grill and Tap. It was an after work happy hour. A couple of my work friends and I went to check it out, and we immediately fell in love. We really enjoyed their beers, and it became a local “go-to” place for us. Mutts Nuts Double IPA was my favorite at the time. The only place you could get their beer was in their tap room. If I recall correctly, they had just started to can their brews right as we stumbled onto them.
Sadly, a few years later, we moved over to the Glendale side of town (not sad that we moved to Glendale… sad we couldn’t frequent Uncle Bears anymore), and the brewery was over an hours drive away. I could no longer frequent their establishment. I was sad, until I saw their beers at a local store. They were distributing! Oh JOY! Oh RAPTURE! So the enjoyment was allowed to continue. I thought I was familiar with all their beers… until about 2 months ago…
Those of you familiar with some of our videos, may know that I do enjoy the “occasional” cigar. Again… back to the flavors. spicy, mellow, strong… I enjoy them all. So, I’m out with Clark (of the famed brew crew) at a cigar bar. We are enjoying a couple of stogies, and he asks me if I’ve tried the “cigar beer”. I’m thinking … no. Not sure I’m a fan of tobacco infused beer. My confusion aside, I was informed it was a beer specifically designed to pair WITH A CIGAR.
So, after I picked my brain up off the floor, we ordered one for me to try with my cigar. Guys… it was magical. It held up perfectly against the strong flavors of my cigar, without overpowering it. It complimented it perfectly.
I had to know who had crafted this elixir. This dark, magical brew. The answer… Uncle Bears! How had I never come across this beer? I never saw it in stores, and it was never on tap at their brewery. WHY???!!!
Turns out, its only brewed for a few select cigar bars. I’ve managed to find it at two so far. Magnums (@magnumsspeakeasy), and Sticks Golf and Cigar Lounge (@stickscigarsaz). However, the search continues.
So, back to my original comments on blending and combining flavors. I never imagined I could drink a beer that ENHANCED both the cigar AND the beer. I’ve experienced it with food, but never with the smoke of a cigar. How cool is that?
My hat goes off to Uncle Bears for crafting such an amazing beer. If you live in Arizona, or are visiting, you have to check it out. If you have found it yourself, please share where you enjoyed it! If you enjoy cigars and beer, you have to try this beer. If you live outside of Arizona, you have to see if any of your local breweries have made a cigar beer. It’s a game changer.
Let us know if you have discovered a cigar beer, or if you stumbled upon a beer pairing that changed your perspective (good or bad).
Until next time… #RespectTheCraft