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Barley wine and cigars: A dynamic duo

Barley wine is often used for celebratory occasions and just like good ol' cigars, it gets better with age.

The saying 'It's lonely at the top' is true for cigars. A type of smoke that makes the Marlboro man look weak rather than rugged, cigars have a certain exclusivity about them. Yet, cigars might have found a lifelong companion in barley wine.

For those not familiar with barley wine, the simplest way to remember it is by the term 'barely wine'. Truth be told, barley wine isn't really wine at all, being made with grain instead of fruit. However, because of its high alcohol content, and displaying both a sweet and bitter flavour at the same time, it has a unique taste among beers, much like the fruity flavoured wine.

While it originated in England, barley wine is available worldwide. However, when sold in the US, barley wines are required to be sold with the label, 'barley wine-style ales' to avoid confusing the wine-seeking consumer.

Barley wine is sometimes aged, just like wine, and used for celebratory occasions. It is this last sentence that makes cigars and barley wine complement each other. With a slightly peaty taste, barley wine does maintain some whiskey-like characteristics and, as is common knowledge, cigars and whiskey make a great combination. And while barley wine doesn't always go well with food, there are a host of cigars which do well with barley wines.

Overall, the key to pairing a good barley wine with a good cigar is to keep the tastes in cahoots, so as not to have the flavour of the beer and that of the cigar clashing with each other. It's also a good rule to pair up beers of lighter colour to Cuban cigars with lighter wrappers. This may help keep one from overpowering the other.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Source: Express Hospitality

Barley wine and cigars: A dynamic duo