Festival Recap | Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival 2014
The theme for the day: Smoke Em If You Got Em! Or better yet, Drink Em If You Got Em! And so it goes, that’s just what Christopher Day and I did! The phrase “Smoke ’em if You Got ’em” or “Smoke if You Got ’em” is slang for “do what you want, if you have the means”. The phrasing was popular in the military during World War II, meaning to take a break. Officers would say “Smoke ’em if you got ’em”, allowing the soldiers to take a break and smoke their cigarettes. Where we were going, we didn’t need an approval to break from anyone. Turn Down for What! We were about to step inside the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. Fine cigars from manufacturers such as Drew Estates, Nat Sherman and Rocky Patel, microbrews from Crazy Mountain and Boulder Beer, local spirits from Peach Street and Feisty, hot cars, live music, & all the finer things in life. We also learned a ridiculous amount about cigar and beer pairing and what works and what does not.
Cigar and Beer Pairing Q & A
Our first stop at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival was with our friends at Echo Brewing Co. from Frederick, CO. We asked what Echo had brought for us to sip on and what kind of cigar we should try to match with each beer? “Nocturnal should pair well with smoky and spicy cigars,” stated Josh from Echo. ”Our Balefire Red should pair with lighter and smoother cigars.” Josh continued to setup his jockey box for the event and we were not about to be the ones slowing him down from providing those delicious suds to all of those thirsty smokeheads (is that a term? – Yeah, I just made that a term). Kassidy from Boulder Beer (and one of our old homies from BrüFrou), reported at our next stop: “The smooth sweetness of our Shake Chocolate Porter should compliment most cigars. Hoppy beers like Hoopla also pair well with cigars to cut through all of those oils.” Our Oskar Blues rep also stated that: “The sweetness and slight smokiness of Old Chub should pair well with full bodied cigars.” I would also like to note from an IMHO vantage point, that Old Chub should be on everyone’s shortlist of beers to try to pair cigars. That malty sweetness in the Scotch Ale lends to the mallard effect of a burning cigar as all of those tobacco oils start to burn, they caramelize and provide that sticky, toffee note that mimics what is happening up in your Old Chub can. It’s, like, super full circle. Okay?! Okay. Our good friend at Fate Brewing, Hannah, dropped some mad cigar and beer pairing knowledge for us and even explained why the beer they brought would match up so well: “The tart spiciness of the rye will pair with the smokiness of a cigar. The aromas will complement each other.” BTW, that Roggenbier was bangin’. Make sure you get up to Fate Brewing to check out their brews with the quickness. They also brought their Cascadian Dark IPA and it was just begging for a cigar with its malt forward body and hoppy zing. David Myers from Redstone Meadery was next on our list of finding that perfect pairing and they had this to say: “Our traditional mead is the best pairing. It’s mostly orange blossom honey.” I will also say that the Nectar of the Hops (a dry-hopped mead) and their Blackberry fruited mead were both tried by yours truly and I would throw spicy cigars at those meads all day. We ventured from our comfort zone to ask a nearby cigar rep and avid smoker what kind of beer he likes to grab when he is smoking and if he had any breweries he planned on hitting up for his day at Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival ? “Beers are the hardest thing to pair cigars with,” stated the Montecristo Cigar rep, “I pair the cigar with what I’m drinking.” He reported that he did like a single-malt Scotch but we figure that if he liked that, that with a little nudge, we could get him to go try and Old Chub Scotch Ale. We are hoping he followed suit when we walked away. The folks over at Nat Sherman helped us pair their Epoca Cigars with Feisty Spirits Bourbon Whiskey (Blue corn and rye) and their 1930’s Brand Cigars with Feisty Spirits Better Days Bourbon Whiskey. Each pairing turned out to work so well and we are pretty sure that the folks at Feisty and the folks at Nat Sherman are going to be good friends for a long while. Thanks to both camps for helping us pair up spirits and cigars. On the beer side of things, we were not so lucky to find such a perfect pairing. But, we aren’t about to stop trying to find that perfect pairing. Do you have a favorite cigar and beer pairing? Drop a comment below or message us to leave us a suggestion.
So, at the end of the day, what made the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival unique?
Holy Cigars! This is a celeb’s fest of Cigar Tycoons. These are the people in the industry calling the shots. Johnathan Drew is handing out festival t-shirts, Edgar Hoill is selling his photography while smoking the OSOK, Rocky Patel is signing posters. This festival brings out all of the purveyors of hundreds of millions of cigars being produced each year. All in one spot. Smoking with the novices (cough, Christopher Day and I, cough) and the aficionados alike.
Biggest discoveries at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival:
We feel that our original takeaway may have been a bit daunting of a question and really goes back to personal preference much like asking someone what their favorite beer or favorite beer style is. But the elements, the elements that provide cigar flavor and aroma we can nail down now. And since we know about beer a bit (cough, a lot, cough). We really want to work on finding what pairs well with cigars in the craft beer world. So stay tuned on our developments with the grey cloud.
Pigtails hats. Can you buy these? I don’t know. But this dude made one? Or bought one? Or grew one? We should have asked but it’s like asking Guy Fieri if his hair and visor combo is real, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to asking the poor chap.
He wasn’t the only fashionista, there was also a lifestyle booth selling smoking jackets. For humans AND their k-9 companions. The dude from Foundry, Michael Giannini, had on a white shirt with a white vest. That dude has style.
2.) Camaraderie and Diversity of the Cigar Scene
We were really surprised and exalted by the wide range of demographics represented at the festival. We were afraid we were going to be downtrodden by many a highfalutin, portly man-child but there was a great variety of smokeheads and imbibers present. Just like the craft beer scene, it is always great to see the grey cloud scene be so welcoming to so many walks of life.
Favorite beer(s) and sips of the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival:
Nectar of the hops from Redstone; Fate’s Cascadian Dark IPA; AC Golden IPL; Crazy Mountain’s Snowcat Coffee Stout. Our favorite spirit had to be Feisty Spirit’s new Maple and Cinnamon Nectar (Flavored Whiskey) that was made with oats. Yep, maple and cinnamon oatmeal booze. Also, Whiskey Coffee Company was pouring some shots of espresso and handing out shirts. Talk about a delicious taste of sweet, smoky and chocolate goodness. Yum!
Any other interesting tidbits:
We were surprised to find some Colorado cigar producers making a splash in the scene. It’s always good to support your locals. Also, for the amount of skrilla you drop on this festival, you get a lot of stuff. All attendees purchasing a cigar ticket were provided with an official festival bag containing over 50 premium cigars, cutter, lighter and butane, festival glass, t-shirt, drink tickets and coupons for vendors at the show. Unlike beer festivals, cigar producers can sell their wares at their booth and you can find some ‘smoking’ good deals on cigars, tobaccos, humidors, etc. right on site at the festival. Knowing what we do about craft beer and wanting to learn more about cigars from some of the best blenders and tobacco owners around, we are so blessed to have been able to attend the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival this year and provide some event coverage. We hope that we may have spread some of our knowledge on all things craft beer with some of the cigar folks. If you love craft beer as much as we do, and you are a cigar fan – be it a rookie looking to learn or a professional looking to capitalize on the great event – you should definitely try to make it out to next year’s Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. Keep an eye out for our cigar and beer pairing series coming soon. As always, stay thirsty and Smoke Em If You Got Em!