The other day I received two scathing emails from the same person. He took the time to tell me how wonderful my reviews are, how much he agreed with them, and how awesome my palate is. Seriously, both emails made me all warm and fuzzy inside. After the insults, in his most charming and classy way, he then told me to go back to drinking Bud Light and burning Swisher Sweets. Nice! Thanks for reaching out, ‘bro!’
Anyway, to honor this ray of sunshine, I’ve decided to do something a little different and exercise my virtual soapbox a bit. I am going to give you some (very) brief reviews on my favorite micro brews. I am a huge beer fan, and love exploring the craft beer scene whenever possible. If beer ain’t yo’ thang, feel free to skip to the bottom where I quickly review one cigar. If you enjoy beer, and unconventional brews, read on – I hope you enjoy it.
As for my biggest fan? Being in the cigar industry, and seeing what I’ve seen over the past 13 years, I will never label a cigar as bad. I enjoy some cigars. I don’t enjoy some cigars. But, I will never say a cigar is bad because, 9 times out of 10, the same amount of work, passion, and care goes into every cigar rolled, and I have too much respect for those creating them. If I don’t like a cigar, it’s not bad, it’s just not for me. If others disagree with what I like or don’t like, great. We’re all different, with unique palates, and our own personal tastes and preferences. That’s why the cigar industry is flooded with options. Because we’re all different.
That said, let’s talk beer – and let’s start with my favorites....
Dogfish Head 75min IPA (at the brew pub) – you have to have it at the brew pub. This is 60min brewed with 90 min, then left in the cask and poured directly from the barrel. It’s served at room temperature and delivers a glorious sweetness that mingles with the fresh hops aroma and floral bitterness, perfectly. It’s a slice of heaven, in liquid form.
Weyerbacher Insanity – If you like Belgian beer, you need to try Weyerbacher, and Insanity is a great place to start. This is the brewery’s top-selling barley wine, aged in bourbon casks. Rich, sweet, and robust throughout, with a noble bourbon note on the finish. 11.1%. Time to man-up!
Weyerbacher Tiny – Belgian + Imperial Stout = Heaven. 11.8% and loaded with chocolate and sweet, sweet Belgian goodness. If you can’t find yourself a solid Abbey beer, this is a good place to start – and finish.
Stone Imperial Russian Stout – Easily my favorite stout. Heavy dark cocoa and coffee notes, with a sweet and roasted backbone that sits on your palate like a bag of sand and clings like super glue. 10.6% and delicious.
Unibroue Terrible – Unibroue, another great choice if you love Belgian beer. This beer is bold and big throughout, with the perfect balance of richness and sweetness, and a subtle touch of wine and spice. 10.5%.
Sixpoint Hi-Res / Bengali Tiger / Resin / Global Warmer / Diesel – Too many solid options from Sixpoint to list them all. Don’t fear the can. Savor this brewery’s wares.
Then there’s the ‘flavored beers.’ I am not too big into them, but there are some that stand out from the rest:
Spring House Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – the peanut butter is subtle on the palate, but really shines on the nose. The chocolate is rich and toasty, almost like toasty cocoa powder. Then there’s the 8.5% backbone....no trace of 8.5% in this rich, smooth, velvety beer....until you’re requesting the second bottle.
Spring House Satan’s Bake Sale Mint Chocolate Chip Stout – Really nice unsweetened dark chocolate on the frontend, followed by a fresh, mint chocolate chip note on the backend. Very interesting, with cascading flavors that roll around your palate with each swig. 8.4%, and you would never know.
DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – on the lighter side, at 6.5%, but this porter is rich, creamy, and loaded with cocoa, espresso, and peanut butter notes. Try it. You’ll see why it’s called Sweet Baby Jesus, and then you’ll no doubt order another. That is, if you appreciate good, interesting, outside the box craft beer.
Dogfish Head Red and White – probably my favorite beer. This is less of a ‘flavored’ beer, and more a processed beer, so to speak. It’s Belgian to the core, with a nice twist. It’s a lighter, witbier, but aged with pinot noir juice, inside oak barrels. 10% and worth every bit. Smooth, sweet, complex, and loaded with bold flavors. My favorite beer. Ever. I heard it was made of 25% beer stuff, 25% awesomeness, 25% scrumptiousness, 20% magic, and 5% cute baby seal. Epic.
Southern Tier Choklat – nothing girlie about this chocolate imperial stout. 10% and tastes like a fudge brownie tossed in a blender with caramel and cream.
Southern Tier Crème Brulee – only 9.5%....shucks....I guess I’ll have to have two. Caramel, vanilla, cream, deliciousness.
Southern Tier Pumpking – once you try this 8.6% pumpkin ale, you will never reach for anything else come harvest time. Period. No pumpkin beer can hold a candle to Pumpking. None.
And here’s the cigar portion of my long-winded write-up....
I’ll keep this short, and I’ll keep this quick. I’ve already made you suffer through my Bud Light inspired beer reviews. So, if you like Pepin Garcia....and you like the works that put him on the map – Cuban Classic, Padilla Signature 1932, Tatuaje – then get to know Legado de Pepin. This cigar is grassroots Pepin to the core. Power in the gut. Power in the head. A rustic, raw, Cuban-esque core of earth, tobacco, and satisfying spices throughout. Just enough bite, balanced perfectly by smoothness, to deliver an eventful, complex smoke with bold flavors, supported by a bouquet and body that both build throughout the slow burn. It’s damn good. In fact, it’s my favorite Pepin blend since My Father hit the scene many years ago. Try it. I think you'll enjoy it. And if you don't, please feel free to send me a scathing email about it. Apparently, it's the 'in' thing to do.