Monday, March 16, 2020

Surviving COVID-19 with Beer and Cigars

What else shall I do? I don't need to run out to shop for hand sanitizer or toilet paper. My work schedule, though from home, is filled with frequent conference calls and check-ins as we negotiate the (temporary) displacement of the normal routine. But, life goes on and so does the enjoyment of cigars and adult beverages.

After a busy Thursday, and presumably my last day in the office for a while, I escaped the cacophony of pandemic news and planted myself in a comfortable chair at the Olde Towne Tobacconist lounge at 1781 Brewing. With a tasty brew in my mug, I lit a Micallef "To Be Named Maduro." This pre-release cigar is currently available at Micallef retailers for review by enthusiasts. The final name will be nominated and voted on by the company's "Ambassadors" social media group.

The ale for the pairing was 1781 Brewing L'Automne Imperial Irish Red Ale. This beer has malt and caramel sweetness with a nice dry finish. Both the beer and the cigar are medium bodied in flavor, with the beverage coming in as the more dominant profile. The cigar had nice leather and coffee notes, but was milder than expected. Overall, a quite enjoyable combination.

After dinner Friday, the temperature was approaching 70°, allowing for a pleasant outdoor respite on the screen porch. Perusing the basement beer fridge, I realized that I have been remiss in keeping it well-stocked, and the choices were limited. I found a lone Old Bust Head Caramel Macchiato Stout hiding in the backRoasted coffee notes were topped by vanilla and caramel sweetness. I grabbed a Man O'War Armada by AJ Fernandez from the humidor to go along with the beer. The cigar has an Ecuadorian wrapper over Nicaragua filler and binder. For my tastes, beer started out too sweet. However, has I progressed with the smoke, the moderately full wood and spice notes countered the cloyingness of the beer.

We had plans to attend an afternoon event featuring Irish music, food, beer, and cigars on Saturday. However, giving in to "social distancing" we opted to stay home. Though a bit cooler than Friday, it was still warm enough to allow for another beer and cigar paring on the back deck. Staring again at my bare beer fridge, I located a Tröegs Nugget Nectar. Though not a traditional red ale, this Imperial Amber Ale is one my favorite seasonal beers.

The previously selected cigar choice for the afternoon event was the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan Shamrock. The venue may have changed, but I was still going to light that stick. This is a limited release that sports three different Honduran wrapper leaves creating a unique triple striped barber pole. The flavor was medium bodied with espresso, leather, and wood. It's probably a great match for an Irish stout, however it was also most enjoyable with the bitter hopped Red Ale. I have another, so perhaps after I restock the fridge I'll try the Stout pairing.

Sitting in the sun, reading a book and listening to music made for a most enjoyable afternoon. The pleasure was only slightly marred by having to grab my laptop and sit on another call before I finished the smoke.

I suspect this will be the routine for a while, so I'm hoping warm temperatures prevail in the coming weeks. There are certainly worse ways to weather this storm. Alas I do need to go on a beer run to restock that supply.


  1. I really picked a fine year to give up beer for lent, I might note.

    1. I'm giving up more for Lent than I intended. :-)

      Stay safe my friend.

  2. The Man o' War Armada. That's one of the better cigars I've ever had.

    1. It was a gift. I didn't know anything about it and was quite pleased.


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