Beer/Cigar Reviews: Shannon Irish Red, Cascade Apricot Cherry Hour, Marrero Barberpole and AVO Syncro Nicaragua Tubo

Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and some not so notable) beers and cigars. Let’s just get right down to it shall we?

As always, let’s start with the beer reviews:

Shannon Irish Red

From Shannon Brewing Company in Keller, Texas comes this Irish Red. Though not the typical heavyweight beer featured on this segment, its specs are consistent with the style at 5.5% ABV and 34 IBU. This might be the first Irish Red I’ve reviewed here, but that’s OK because this is a solid example of the style.

Pours a lovely copper color with a thin ring of cream colored head that recedes fairly quickly. Aromas of a yeasty bread, caramel and a subtle grapefruit twang at the back of the nose. Flavors follow the nose almost exactly, starting with a sweet caramel and bread note on the front with a finish of grapefruit and a nice, refreshing iced tea bite in the back. Light body with high carbonation; this one is easy drinking and refreshing.

A very nice session beer for killing a few by the campfire, by the grill or, as was my original purchase, for the racetrack. Pair this with a Primos Classic Natural, a JNV Habano or a Padron x000 Series in Natural. Rating: 3.5/5.

Cascade Apricot Cherry Sour

This is a fruit sour from Cascade Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon. Their sour is often regarded as “the king of sours” and I can’t argue with that one. This is their famous sour aged with apricots and cherries. It weighs in at 12%+ ABV (exact ABV is unknown) with an unspecified IBU or gravity rating.

Had on tap at Vagabond Pizza in Abilene, Texas. ours a hazy rose color with a thin ring of pink, fizzy head. A pleasing tart aroma with the apricots and cherries very prominent on the nose. The palate follows with the apricots an cherries being very distinct, but they taste like natural fruit instead of extract (as is the case in many fruit beers). Very sour, sharp, champagne-like finish. Medium in body and very high, sharp carbonation.

A refreshing beer that’s easy to forget the ABV with. A delicious sour that’s sure to please sour lovers worldwide. Very pleasant. Rating: 4.5/5.

And now for today’s cigar reviews:

Marrero Barberpole

This variant of the Tesoro Mio blend features a dual wrapper of Ecuadorian Connecticut and Habano over a binder of Ecuadorian binder and Peruvian, Dominican and Nicaraguan long fillers. The size reviewed is a 5.5″ x 52RG Perfecto.

The first light revealed a very tight draw producing minimal mild/medium bodied smoke consisting of mainly a straight, creamy plain tobacco. Burning through the tip the draw opens up to perfect, the smoke output kicks way up and brings the body ramps up to a solid medium. Complexity also ramps up producing a lovely blend of vanilla and a light roast coffee on the draw with a nutty finish and a slight pepper on the retrohale. Everything is exceptionally smooth and well blended together. Consistent start to finish, ending at an hour for an impressive burn time for the size. No detectable nicotine strength.

Construction was flawless with a near razor sharp burn that only required two small pre-emptive touchups (maybe not required but with barberpoles I don’t leave it to chance).

A very good cigar for the middle of the day with its medium body, smooth flavors and lack of a nicotine kick. This would be great with a cup of coffee or a nice hot chocolate. Rating: 4.25/5.

Avo Synchro Nicaragua Tubo

This 6″ x 54″ Box Pressed Toro comes in an individually packed tubo and features an Ecuadorian Connecticut I’m guessing Maduro wrapper over Dominican binder and Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian long fillers.

The first light revealed a very loose draw producing a huge volume of full bodied smoke. Lots of leather and pepper out of the gate with a note of unsweetened cream supporting it.

Getting into the first third the body settles down slightly to a medium/full as the initial pepper blast dies down somewhat but is still present. The complexity ramps up bringing in a subtle cocoa into the draw and a bright, aromatic cedar into the retrohale while the leather is still the dominant flavor. The 2nd third retains the same core flavors while the pepper morphs into more of a nutmeg. The cedar becomes the star of the show in the final third but the other flavors are still present. Ending at 1 hour 5 minutes for an average burn time for a toro sized stick and bringing in a medium nicotine strength.

The construction was average and required a couple of large touchups. Ash holds on well, for about 2″ at a time.

This cigar is a leather lover’s dream but it does have enough complexity to satisfy a wide variety of smokers. It’s smooth so not off-putting for anyone but if you’ve been wondering what leather is like as a flavor check this one out. You’ll learn quickly. Rating: 4/5.

That concludes this edition of my reviews. What did you think of these? Let me know.

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