The Good Cheer Trail: The First Stamp
Hey Noise Makers! We are jumping into the best time of the year to be a cigar lover, the summertime!! So crank up that Will Smith, burn your socks, get the beer fridge stocked, and start lighting those sticks you have been collecting all winter!! Being in ‘The Canada’, I can’t afford to waste a second of the glorious sunshine, because that winter wind will be knocking at the door before I know it. I am going to take full advantage of this warmer weather to embark on the Good Cheer Trail this summer.
Every summer, The Ocean’s Playground’ province, Nova Scotia, produces a passport called the ‘Good Cheer Trail’. This year there are 71 spots where a wandering soul can find local ciders, spirits, wine or brews. Once you have been to one of the 71 locations, you get a stamp for your passport. Collect a certain number of stamps in your passport, and you can send away for a “limited” edition Good Cheer Trail T-shirt. Who doesn’t love a challenge…and a free T-shirt!
If the opportunity works out that I can do a cigar and beverage pairing on location, I will do so. If there is an adherence to the local smoking laws, prohibiting smoking on commercial properties and patio’s, then I will do the pairing anyway, from a respectful distance away. Giving them a glaring of a lifetime haha.
First up will be Backstage Brewing Company in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Backstage is fairly new to the craft beer scene here in Nova Scotia, and has opened up a great little micro brew and pub. They feature their own beer and have other brews from local makers on tap. On the day that I visited they only had two of theirs on the go, the Daydreamer and Gemini. Daydreamer is as E.S.B and comes in around 4.8%. The Gemini is a DIPA and lands at 8%.
After a brief chat with a visitor from Vancouver about how much better Nova Scotia is then BC, I asked the owner AJ where I could smoke a cigar and try one of the beers. He reminded me about the smoking laws in Nova Scotia, (Dammit), but remarked that the house directly behind the brewery was vacant, so if I brought a lawn chair with me next time, I could post up back there with a growler and a stick. Now you are talking my language!
I got my passport stamp, number 56 on the Good Cheer Trail; number one for me. I purchased a couple half-liter growlers, one of the Daydreamer, one of the Gemini, a branded glass and was on my way. This will be a home pairing today.
After a quick rummage around the humidor I grabbed a Guardian of the Farm and decided to pair it with the Gemini. I have had this stick a couple of times but mainly paired it with whisky. Matching it up with a high-powered DIPA would be interesting.
The GOTF is a Warped Cigar/Casa Fernandez mashup blend, Nicaraguan puro. This one had about 3 months rest on it since I received it. Knowing that the beer was going to have some serious pucker on it, I wanted to pair it with something that would bring some spice, vanilla, pepper and match up on the citrus. This cigar seemed like it would bring that to the dance floor.
Getting everything set up for my purdy instagram picture done, it was time to dive in. Within the first couple pulls from the Gemini and puffs from the GOTF I was a happy camper. The beer itself has that grapefruit citrus hit like most DIPA but is very easy to drink for an 8%.
A few puffs of the cigar and the hits of red pepper, vanilla and creamy coffee are cutting away some of the bite from the citrus in the Gemini. There is a great balance with both the beer and the cigar on their own, and that is carrying over to this pairing.
The first third of the cigar is fantastic. No issues with the wrapper, the burn line is very consistent, the smoke output is decent and the flavours are keeping steady.
Moving along into the second third, I am getting more creamy notes, and toffee. It is still pairing extremely well with the Gemini, so well that I am into my second glass as I hit the end of the second third.
Into the last third and I am getting some stronger coffee, cedar and citrus from the cigar. It does at this point begin to overtake the Gemini in terms of flavours but it doesn’t turn either flavour profile bitter or sour. This can sometimes happen in the last third, when beer is a DIPA.
Cigar Brand: Warped Cigars and Casa Fernandez
Cigar: Guardian of the Farm
Pairing: Guardian of the Farm and Gemini DIPA
Good Cheer Trail Stop: Backstage Brewing
A great first stop on the Good Cheer Trail! Looking forward to the next stop, stamp, and pairing!
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