Jul 9, 2014

Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA and CAO OSA Sol Pairing

I’m not what one would call an cigar expert, but I have had my share throughout the years — the full-flavored La Gloria Cubana Serie R has always been a favorite. More apt to pair a cigar with say a bourbon or scotch, every now and again a robust stout, rich barleywine or porter would join in, but not once did I think that an IPA would be able to handle the smokey flavors. Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewing seems to disagree.

The brewery has partnered with CAO Cigars (a brand owned by General Cigar Co.) in a line of four beer and cigar pairings seen in the tweet below:

I decided to start with the lightest pair of the bunch, a combination of Flying Dog’s Snake Dog IPA and CAO’s OSA Sol 50. Snake Dog IPA is a beer that I’ve had plenty of times prior to this package arriving. It’s a solid, capable IPA that has always treated me well, delivering piny, citrus flavors with an approachable level of bitterness. The OSA Sol is the first from the CAO line-up that I’ve had and is lighter and spicier than what I would typically smoke, but I’m always up for trying new things.

The OAS Sol surprisingly wasn’t as peppery or as spicy as I had initially thought prior to lighting. The overall flavor is light yet woody with a good moderate spice character. It’s got an even, dense draw that was consistent from start to finish, burning evenly and smoothly.

The idea of pairing a hoppy IPA with a cigar seemed like a foreign concept at first, but the more I got into the combination the more it worked. The peppery/spicy tobacco matched well with the hop spice and bitterness. The lighter, overall character of the OSA Sol certainly doesn’t hurt either. The further you get into the cigar the more it brought out tropical fruits from within the Snake Dog.

All in all, the pairing was quite enjoyable, but did have one draw back. A single 12 oz bottle of beer isn’t nearly enough to last through a smooth, slow burning cigar like the CAO Sol. You’d probably need a couple of bottles to fully maximize the combination… so I guess that’s not so much of a problem after all.

This is a review of a promotional sample.

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