Gurkha Special Ops & Samuel Adams Octoberfest Pairing
You may not believe me if I tell you, but often times I find myself pairing a quality cigar with a nice beer instead of whiskey. I usually take the beer route when I only have limited time, or on a weeknight. As awkward as this may sound to some of the whiskey aficionados out there, the pairing of beer and cigars is founded in much the same manner as whiskey: quality ingredients, similar tasting notes, similar aromas, and just plain deliciousness. Watch as I pair the Limited Edition Gurkha Special Ops cigar with a Samuel Adams Octoberfest (as an added bonus, I will be reviewing the Special Ops as well).
For my first pairing, I was looking for a few things: Flavor, smooth, warm, and a little bit of spice. I chose to smoke a Gurkha Special Ops, and enjoyed it with a Samuel Adams Octoberfest. As a very basic rule, the more hoppy the beer, the more spicy the cigar will taste on your tongue. For this very reason, I find myself enjoying lagers and beer with more malts than hops.
Upon initial inspection, the Gurkha Special Ops is a great looking cigar. Beautiful chocolate colors interlaced with dark espresso. I find very little oils on the Dominican wrapper, but lending itself to a very smooth feel, (although a few veins are noticeable). As with my beer, I like to take a nice big wiff before getting down to business with a quality stogie. On the nose, the Special Ops gives off a rich, chocolate aroma with hints of burnt coffee, pepper, and leather.
With a quick cut of the cap, I noticed a beautiful, easy initial light. The Special Ops is densely packed, but not too tight. I love the nice, easy draw allowed by the contents. The smoke is an awesome, thick white cream that dances around in my mouth. I specifically noted the ease of draw coupled with the great smoke production. Initially I was again met with cocoa, leather, and a tiny bit of pepper. I was pleased with the medium body and the moderate length the flavors lingered on my palate.
This is the moment I took my first sip of Samuel Adams Octoberfest. Let me preface this by saying that this beer is not my favorite Octoberfest; however, it is definitely a true interpretation of an authentic German brew. With a beautiful orange/amber glow, the beer screams fall. On the nose you get lungs full of sweet caramel and toffe, mixed with slight spices, mostly pepper in nature.
The key to this relationship, is that both the stogie and the brew get better with age. As the Gurkha Special Ops warms and ventures toward the middle, even more of the chocolate, coffee, spices and earthy notes come out. Well, the same goes for the Sam Adams. As it warms, it releases new notes of toffee, pepper, and what honestly tastes like pumpkin (although there is none anywhere near this one).
By the middle of both the cigar and beer, you will find that the warmth offered from your beverage will start to highlight the more enjoyable flavors in the cigar. Actually, I noticed a morphing from coffee to more of a mocha with the addition of the sweet, rich maltiness of the Octoberfest. Even the beer’s mildy hopped body (Samuel Adams uses an absolutely amazing Bavarian Noble hops), leads to a slightly more spicy note throughout the life of the cigar.
As I was nearing the end of this tasty stick, the coffe that I had loved so much from the beginning began to take over, it was great. I was able to get hints of espresso, mocha, and bold coffe, all interchanging with each smoke and sip.
All-in-all, this was an awesome pairing. The chocolate/toffee notes of each of these melted together in an amazing way. There was minimal unpleasant spiciness, and there were tons of flavors that screamed quality, relaxation and fall. All the way until the very end, this combination was sweet and flavorful, and I honestly smoked this stogie down until my lips burned. I would highly recommend purchasing both this cigar and this beer. And since both are limited edition, you had better grab them now. The Gurkha Special Ops is available either in singles, or as a package with a travel humidor, military coin, and 7″ fixed-blade knife. As an active duty miltary man myself, I think that is pretty neat, too.
Overall, I give this a big two thumbs way up for a very enjoyable smoke and drink. Enjoy!