Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A few new Cigar and Beer reviews with a few cigar accessories...

Cigar Releases and Reviews 

Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur Legend Conqueror 

Introduced in 2008 as a fuller-bodied version of the original Excalibur line, the Connecticut-wrapped Legend is a tasty, well-built cigar that pairs well with a fine rum. The Conqueror’s (6.25 x 54) profile of seared steak, black pepper, and woody spice pairs perfectly with a sweet spirit, and its superior combustion properties only add to the enjoyment. Expect a 120-minute smoke that’s more complex than your average bold cigar.

AVO Limited Edition Tesoro 2008 

Before trying the new Avo 85th Anniversary, I wanted to go back and smoke one of my favorite limited edition Avo smokes from the past. The Tesoro (5.75 x 50) debuted in 2008 and it’s still a fine smoke in 2011. Sweet cream, honey, and light cedar are each elegantly balanced in this well-constructed toro. The Tesoro is proof that mild cigars need not be bland or unflavorful, and that’s why it’s still a favorite of mine.

Fuente Opus X XXX Blicoso 

XXX Belicoso. X3. Power Ranger. X To The Third Power. No cigar has more names and nicknames than this short Fuente Fuente OpusX. However you ask for it, it’s a dynamite smoke, a complex powerhouse with full-bodied flavors of leather and earth. The finish has that essential sweetness found in the best of strong cigars, along with an intriguing note of Scotch whiskey on the finish. It’s quite the cigar. While it’s among the shortest of the Fuente Fuente OpusX line, it’s also one of the most powerful. The Fuente Fuente OpusX brand is among the most successful in history. The hallmark of this brand, first released in November 1995, is dark, oily and reddish-brown wrapper leaf grown under the shade at Chateau de la Fuente, a wrapper farm in El Caribe, Dominican Republic, owned by the Fuente family. This brand proved to the world that great wrapper could be grown in the Dominican Republic. If you love full-bodied cigars, this is your smoke.

Padron Family Reserve #45 - Natural 

The Padrón family has created quite the tradition by coming out with a new Padrón Family Reserve every year to commemorate the company’s history. The Padrón Family Reserve No. 45 Maduro was our 2009 Cigar of the Year—this is the natural version of that very same cigar. It has the same dimensions and suggested retail price, but the lighter wrapper gives the cigar a different flavor. While the considerable kick of the maduro is informed by hearty, resonant coffee, cocoa and spice flavors that saturate the palate, the natural is a bit more mellow, with flavors of cocoa bean and earth on the palate. The cigar is quite balanced and exceptionally flavorful. It’s impossible to exaggerate how well the Padrón family has done in our Top 25—three times the company has had a Cigar of the Year, and the Padróns have never failed to have a cigar in our top five. It’s an impressive show of consistency that no other company can claim.

Credo “3 in 1” Cigar Punch Cutter 

The new "3 in 1" Punch Cutter from Credo is a portable, simple-to-use tool that offers enthusiasts three sizes of cigar punch for cutting parejo-shaped cigars.The cigar punch diameters on the "3 in 1" are 6 mm, 10 mm and 14 mm, good for cutting cigars up to 34 ring gauge, 48 ring gauge and 60 ring gauge, respectively.

According to Michael Gold of importer Arango Cigar Co., each of the punch blades are made of Japanese steel, and the body of the cutter is aluminum.
The lightweight body is the distinguishing feature of the "3 in 1." Two hinges allow the user to fold the cutter onto itself, making it travel-friendly since it can easily be slipped into a pocket.
To cut, simply unfold the body and choose the appropriate punch cutter size. Place the head of the cigar against the punch, brace the body with your hand and push. The blade slices clean into the cigar head and won't leave behind tiny bits of tobacco around the cut, like poorer quality punch cutters sometimes do.

Colibri’s Slice Cutter 

With the 6 x 60 cigar now a standard in many brand portfolios, smokers are in need of a bigger cutter.
Colibri's Slice is a 64-ring cutter capable of clipping even the fattest of smokes, but thin enough to fit in the pocket of your favorite pair of jeans.
The cutter's patented design feels nice in the palm of your hand and the Slice's 440 stainless steel blades provide a consistent, clean and precise cut.
A spring-loaded pull button releases the blades, which have rubber grips built into the blade handles. The button's action is smooth and offers no resistance.
The Colibri Slice can be found at finer tobacco shops and sells for approx. $59. It comes in four new finishes: pinstriped 18K yellow-gold, white lacquer with 18K yellow-gold, black lacquer with gunmetal and thunder grey lacquer with chrome.

Beer Releases and Reviews 

Dogfish Head Aprihop 

Aprihop is our fruit beer for hop heads!

It is an American IPA brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts massively hopped in in the continuous fashion. The flavor is complemented by the addition of Apricots.
After fermentation the beer is dry hopped with irresponsible amounts of Amarillo hops. The beer is hoppy in the aroma with the apricots playing a supporting complimentary role.
The flavor is rich with late hop flavors and its bitterness is tempered by just the right amount of malt sweetness and fruity undertones from the apricots.
This is one of our most popular seasonal beers and we've been brewing it each spring for quite a while now. We release the beer each March and you should find it on the shelves through May. Sold in 6 packs and draft. Aprihop has an ABV of 7%.

Pretty Things Jack D’ Or 

The Pretty Thing's Jack D'Or has become one of my FAVORITE beers to have in my fridge. We won 1st place at the Annual Brew Ha Ha that is held each December and hosted by 2 amazing beer drinking woman!
Read below and pick some up to try...

Inspired by some of our favorites saisons like Saison DuPont, but also DeRanke's XX Bitter, De Dolle's Arabier, and local table IPAs like Smuttynose, our Jack D'Or starts off with North American Pils, Vienna, Wheat and Malted Oats (among others) and is hopped with a combination of four hops, finishing with Palisade and Nugget. Fermentation-wise we use a blend of three yeast strains to give Jack D'Or its refreshingly dry character. Finally, despite all of the spicy flavours in this beer it contains no actual spices - only malt, oats, sugar, hops and yeast. One more time: there are no spices whatsoever in Jack D'Or!
Jack D'Or has an ABV of 6.4% and is sold in 22oz. bomber bottles.

Fkying Fish Extra Pale Ale

An original American pale ale, our XPA highlights the subtle, sophisticated flavors and aromas of our Midwestern two-row malt and imported aromatic and Munich malts. Pacific Northwest hops create an extremely balanced beer with a beautiful straw color. And thanks to you baseball fans, the XPA is the best-selling local craft beer at the Phillies ballpark. The Extra Pale Ale has an ABV of 4.8% and is sold in 1/2 kegs, 1/6 kegs and six packs. Available all year round....a wonderfully refreshing beer!


beers listed on this post are available 

at Krugel's Georgetown Deli.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Part 2 in the Cigar Series… and a review of a new Pa. brew from Beaver Brewing.

Here I will give a brief history of some common cigar types and sizes. There are other that will be touched on in later posts, but for now it will give you some idea of what's out there and it's a good place for you to start your journey. In Part 3 will get into Growing and Harvesting, and some Popular Cigar Families in the industry as well as a more in depth look into Fillers and Binders. Stay tuned.....

Some Growing Regions: 

1. Cuba
2. Dominican Republic
3. Honduras/Nicaragua
4. Mexico
5. USA (Connecticut)
6. Central African Republic – Cameroon
7. Indonesia

The Cigar Process:
Similar to Wine
From seed to cigar it takes between 2 – 3 years
Growth 18 weeks
Fermentation 6 weeks
Aging 18 – 24 months

Cigar Rolling:

Tobaccos are blended and bunched (2 – 4 different tobaccos) to create the filler.
The filler is rolled in a flat somewhat elastic leaf of tobacco known as the binder.
Rolled into a bunch, the tobacco is put into a wooden mold and pressed into shape for about an hour.
The roller then wraps the bunch in a wrapper leaf which is supple, very elastic and visibly pleasing.
The cigar is capped and trimmed to uniform size.
The finished cigar is then aged at the very least 21 days and many factories age the finished cigars up to 6 months to let the different tobaccos marry together.

Cigar Wrapper Shades:

Although manufacturers have identified over 100 different shades, only six are of great distinction.
Double Claro - Also known as “American Market Selection” (AMS) or “Candela”, this is a green wrapper.
Claro – This is a very light tan color, almost beige in shade; usually from Connecticut.
Colorado Claro – A medium brown found on many cigars, this category covers many descriptions. The most popular are “Natural”, or “English Market Selection” (EMS). Tobaccos in this shade are grown in many different countries.
Colorado – This shade is instantly recognizable by the obvious reddish tint.
Colorado Maduro – Darker than Colorado Claro in shade , this color is often associated with African tobacco, such as wrappers from Cameroon, or with Havana Seed tobacco grown in Honduras.
Maduro – Very dark brown or black; this category also includes the deep black “Oscuro” shade. Tobacco for Maduro wrappers is grown in Connecticut, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Brazil.

Cigar Anatomy:

Head – Part of cigar that is cut.
Foot – Part of cigar that is lit.
Shapes and Sizes:
Length x Ring Gauge
Length = inches
Ring Gauge = diameter stated as 64th of an inch

Cutting Styles:

Guillotine – Single, Double and Scissor. Used to cut the end off, leaving a slight curvature of the head.
V-Cut – V-cutter - Cuts a v-shaped valley in the head. A popular way to cut a cigar when a cutter is not available.
Punching – Cuts a perfect circle in the head and pulls a small portion of tobacco out.

Lighting Your Cigar:

Don’t ever let flame touch foot of your cigar.
Turn your Cigar while lighting, this assures of a even light and burn.
When embers appear - blow through cigar to remove any unwanted odors that flame may have caused (butane, lighter fluid, sulfur).

Now for some Beer news!!!!

A new release upcoming from a NEW Pennsylvania Brewer.....Beaver Brewing Company, located in Beaver Falls.
From their website (
"We aren’t a microbrewery…we are an artisan NANO-brewery. Beaver Brewing Company has a 1.5 Barrel system that ensures that every beer is LITERALLY hand crafted. Every batch is tested before it is bottled to make sure you are getting the freshest and best tasting beer money can buy."

It’s coming!!! The 724.

7 Hop Varieties
2 Hour Boil
4 Malts

By the way, there will only be 724 Bottles of this made for the 2011 limited release! This is an Imperial Pale Ale and more than likely will be the only time you’ll see a Beaver Brewing Bottle of beer. They will all be hand inspected for quality and numbered out of 724.

Want to score a free case of it? If you can correctly guess the 7 hops varieties in the beer (and be the first 1 to do so) you score a free case of this stuff! 1 entry per person must be over 21.
Look for this in late summer months…

Just email

Best of luck Dan....We'll be looking forward to sampling some of your craft brews!
Enter your guess now…..get a head start on the masses!!

Enjoy you Sunday!!!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Step 1 - Choosing The Right Types of Cigars and Rouge Beer Review

Choosing the Right Types of Cigars

Being able to choose the right types of cigars for some people may be overwhelming and sometimes scary.

My first experience with a cigar was years ago while golfing with a few friends from work. Before our round I was handed a cigar and said to myself, what the hell do I do with this? I don’t smoke cigarettes and you hand me a cigar? Of course being the “follower” and not wanting to look like the odd man out, I accepted. Well, at least I thought I accepted…..until I lit up! Well to put it bluntly….I puked after two or three puffs….literally…I thought to myself  after regaining composure, why would anyone in their right mind smoke these things? WOW!
The next time out on the course, I was again handed another cigar, this time I declined. My buddy asked why? I said, do you remember last shoes are still not the same! He at that point explained to me the in and out of cigar smoking. We talked the entire round about the history, size, shape and flavors. I was amazed and was now very interested. He at that point took back the cigar and assured me that this time would be better. The cigar was a lighter more mellow smoke and much more enjoyable……So….

Here we are, many years later and now I’m that guy that’s passing out the cigars.  Enough of my story, on with the show.

Your Own Personal Taste:
As with most things, there are as many opinions on what to smoke when, along with the size, shape, taste and so on. I personally do not smoke cigars in my home, although I have adapted my garage into a part time smoking lounge, equipped with a lawn chair, garbage can table and a 3 tap beer system. I smoke the bulk of my cigars during the summer months, either on the golf course or floating around the pool. So if you ask me anytime is a good time to enjoy a cigar. Again, you make the choice. Just words to the wise, when you have found that “right time” to relax and light up that stick, enjoy it! There is nothing that could be more disappointing then leaving a half smoked cigars in the tray, especially a cigar you are really enjoying.

Here’s a rule of thumb....if you are new to smoking cigars, start off with the milder cigars. As your taste evolves, and your imagination starts to grow, so will your choice with other types of cigars. There are basically 3 types of cigars (I will discuss in a later blog):

·          Handmade
·          Machine Made
·          Hand Rolled

Lastly, when shopping for your cigars, I suggest you find a local smoke shop that deals specifically with cigars. This way any questions you may have about your future purchase can be answered by a knowledgeable person, this person most likely enjoys cigars and is versed in the inventory he or she is selling. They are your “go-to” people for advice and direction. Please USE THEM after all that’s what they are there for.

In other sessions I will be discussing the cigar types, some history, ring sizes, shapes and flavors. Please take the time to learn the different types of cigars and DON’T be afraid to ask questions. Everyone was a “newbie” at one time or another. Don’t let others push you into their cigar smoking direction. You will find your own little spot in the cigars world and it will be YOUR spot! 

Just remember to have fun with this, learn, ask questions and most of all ENJOY yourself!

Now for some beer news:
I'ma HUGE fan of Rogue beers! Here's another good one....


The boys at Rogue Ales (Newport, OR) have made some changes to their Dad’s Little Helper for this coming spring.
This brew if you remember was a Malt Liquor made with 40% Midwestern Corn and Crystal Hops, the beer had a sweet, crisp flavor of the corn. The changes that will come this year will be form a Malt Liquor to a Black IPA.

A little background on the new brew change:

Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA will have deep mahogany colors, uses roasted malts and a variety of aroma hops. This beer should give a nice hoppy finish with an IBU of 70.

The projected beer stats:

70 IBU
73 AA
77º Lovibond

I'm Expecting to see it beginning in April or May in both 22 oz. bomber bottles and 13 gallon kegs. The boys at Krugel’s Georgetown Deli will more than likely give this one a home…I know there will be a few bombers in my fridge!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Cigar and Beer Releases for March 2011

Happy Sunday folks.
Here are a few of the upcoming beer and cigar releases for this month. 

The Casa Magna Colorado Lancero

Originally the Colorado Lancero was a limited edition cigar that was released with the Casa Magna sampler pack. From reports on the net, the sampler is nearly impossible to come by nowadays. Now for some good news Casa Magna has decided to make the Colorado's Lancero vitola a normal production cigar.

For those not familiar with Casa Magna, it's a brand that was produced with collaboration between Manuel Quesada and Nestor Plasencia. As for the Colorado Lancero size it measures 8.25 x 40. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro made from Cuban Seed tobacco grown in Central American nation's Esteli and Jalapa regions.

The Casa Magna Colorado Lancero has started to hit the smoke shop shelves as well as the internet sites and will be available in packs of 7 cigars. This stick carries a suggested retail price of approximately $12.95. Keep an eye out for this one, especially if you are looking for a new Nicaraguan puro to try.

Cigar: Casa Magna Colorado Lancero
Size: 8.25 x 40
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: Medium

The Imperial IPA - Centennial Single Hop

A new beer release from the guys at the Flying Dog Brewery, located in Frederick Maryland.  The brew is a Centennial Single-hop Imperial IPA. 
Brewed with the Centennial hop, these hops were once near extinction and now have become one of the most common hops used for brewing in the US. They have large floral and citrus notes medium aroma with mid to high bittering value makes it a dual purpose choice for this IPA.
I’m sure the boy’s down at Krugels Georgetown Deli will be adding this to their inventory. Try one out!

Serving: 12oz Bottle
ABV: 10%
IBU: 70

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday...more to come in a few days. Now off to see Chris Miller and add a sixtel of their Lunch Pail Ale to the keg fridge. Will attempt to have a Gloria Cuban Series R #4 tonight with a few of those Lunch Pail Ales....


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Local Brewery receives approval to expand their growth....

From the Citizens Voice Newspaper...

"The township's zoning hearing board unanimously gave Mark Lehman and Chris Miller permission to convert the former Catholic church, school and a third building at 783 E. Northampton St. into a microbrewery, tasting room and pub-type restaurant.
The two, represented by attorney Stephen Menn, asked for a variance to set up shop in the residential neighborhood because they have outgrown their current quarters in Miller's Plains Township garage.
Lehman and Miller started with a home brew kit in 2005, and in 2009 they started to make craft beers with names like Anthracite Ale, Malty McGuire and Old King Coal. They brew 100 gallons at a time and sell their beer by the keg to 28 bars from Eynon to Hazleton, Miller said."

I'll be looking forward to sitting in the tasting room, enjoying a few cigars and beers while overlooking the Wyoming Valley. This is great news for those of us who enjoy their beers. Congrats to Chris and Mark and best of luck on the new venture! Cheers Boys!!


Read more:

Local Brewery get approval!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome to Craft Ales and Fine Cigars

Hello everyone. This will be the first official post for Craft Ales and Fine Cigars, I'm hoping that with the knowledge that my family and friends have with both Craft Beers and Fine Cigars this blog will both be entertaining as well and educational to all of its participants. 

First things first....Lou, thanks for the spark that hopefully starts a wildfire here...I never knew that my Facebook posts about the beers and cigars I enjoy would spark such an interest. By no means am I the "expert" on either topic, just the average guy who has found enjoying Beer and Cigars a constant learning process, a process that can be very enjoyable. Also, Chris, Leon and Bob...You guys have turned me on to some wonderful cigars, I hope you all get the same enjoyment from this blog as I will. Your input into the cigar world would be a priceless addition, as well as helping to show others that there are some really great cigars out there to be discovered.

I will not be separating the 2 sections (at first); after all I'm new to the blogging world and well to tell the truth..... lost when it comes down to it all. So bear with me until I can get my feet wet and gather some insight on how this will all work out. 
The blog will also be supporting the local brewers, bottle houses as well as the various smoke shops around the area.

I have many ideas on what I would like to see in this site and will be asking for input as well, because after you all will be adding to success of the blog in the future. 
Any comments, suggestions or criticisms will be accepted.

So, sit back, read, post some thoughts and comments but just make sure you are doing it with your favorite beer and cigar next to you!