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Friday, February 23, 2018

New Beer Friday, Fake Cohibas Edition (February 23)

Preamble by Steve Siciliano

My wife and I were cruising in the Caribbean last week and while on shore in Cozumel we spent a few hours sitting at a shaded table outside a waterfront bar. While we sipped Salty Dogs (Grey Goose vodka, grapefruit juice and a slice of lime in a salt rimmed glass. Refreshingly cool on a blistering hot afternoon), we watched roaming peddlers hawking wares to hordes of meandering tourists. One peddler standing on a nearby street corner was waving a small box above his head and when he glanced in my direction I motioned him over to the table.

"How much?" I asked after inspecting the cigars in the glass-topped box.

"Fifty dollars," he said.

"How do I know they're real?" I asked him.

He assured me that the five cigars were authentic Cuban Cohibas.

"Hmm," I said. "I'm not sure I like the way they look."

"Forty dollars," he said.

"But they look pretty rough."

"Thirty-five," he told me. "The best price."

"Let me think about it," I said.

I handed the box back to him and he went back to hawking the cigars on the crowded sidewalk.

I knew the Cohibas were fake. I knew they were fake as soon as I looked at them but the stash of cigars I had brought with me on the trip was running low and I was willing to take a chance on the bogus Cubans if I could get them at a good price. "How bad could they be?" I thought to myself.

After I paid our tab I stuck a twenty in my shirt pocket and as soon as we got up to leave the peddler walked up to me.

"Thirty dollars," he said.

"No," I said and kept on walking.

"Twenty-five."

I stopped and took the bill out of my pocket. "This is all that I'll pay," I told him. He handed me the box and I handed him the twenty.

Later that night in the cigar lounge on the ship I fired up one of the bogus Cohibas. It was harsh and bitter and had the acrid aroma of burning oak leaves. I discarded the cigar after three puffs. I gave three of the fake Cohibas to three fellow cigar smokers I had met on the trip after warning them how awful they were. I tossed the last one in the waste basket in my stateroom.

One of the things I like about traveling is the fact that sometimes you have to take calculated risks. I knew those sticks weren't authentic Cohibas, same as I knew they weren't worth the $50 asking price. What I didn't know was if the fakes would be any good or even smokable. I took a chance and came up short. It happens sometimes. How boring would traveling be — for that matter, how boring would life be — if the weather was always perfect, all scenarios were guaranteed and all cigars were Cuban.

New and Returning Beer

  • Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Barrel Aged Stout, $11.69/22oz - "Aged for three months in Wild Turkey® Bourbon barrels, this luxurious stout has a deep ebony hue and a beautiful mahogany head. The woody, vanilla-like notes imparted by the barrels mingle with aromas of fresh baked bread, toffee, and espresso and envelop the rich chocolate and roasted barley flavors with a fine bourbon character" (source).
  • Ballast Point BA Victory at Sea, $4.09/12oz - "Our Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with vanilla and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate" (source).
  • Creston Pilz, $3.89/16oz - "Mi zuper saazer hops and pilot makt house pilsner malt" (source).
  • Dark Horse Thirsty Trout, $2.09/12oz - "Thirsty Trout is a rich, robust American Porter. Dark brown in color with medium to heavy body and hints of light roast. Aromas of chocolate leave way to a full mouthfeel and somewhat sweet finish to make this porter a desirable companion..Thirsty Trout is a rich, robust American Porter that will have you yelling "CHOCOLATE!" after the first whiff. Dark brown in color with medium body and hints of light roast. The aromas of chocolate cupcake lead the way to a sweet caramel and toffee body that finish beautifully with hops. Stay trout my friends" (source).
  • Deschutes American Wheat, $1.99/12oz - "Crafted in our Bend Pub as an easy-drinking crowd favorite, this American Wheat Ale is sessionable year-round. With a subtle hop aroma and thirst quenching citrus finish, it’s the perfect companion for adventure anytime, anywhere" (source).
  • Gonzo's BiggDogg Yummy Hoppy Double IPA, $3.49/16oz - "Our specialty DIPA begins with a fruity prelude that disguises the inevitable impact of seven different level hop varieties. As you sip and maybe even share, we think you’ll agree with our decree to simply call it what it is: yummy and hoppy! 91 IBUs" (source).
  • Odd Side Car Ramrod, $2.39/12oz - "Imperial Black Citra Pale Ale" (source).
  • Odd Side Morning Wood, $6.49/12oz (2 per) - "This complex imperial chocolate coffee stout aged in bourbon barrels provides a mouth watering vanilla, oak, whiskey, chocolate and espresso flavors" (source).
  • Odd Side Occular Pat Down, $2.49/12oz - "Vanilla Coffee Porter" (source).
  • Perrin Big Griz, $12.49/22oz - "This bourbon barrel imperial brown ale was crafted with specialty malts and unique hops from all over the world. Undertones of fresh American oak and vanilla carry through with not-so-subtle hints of warm maple syrup and melted caramel sweetness that book end this uncommon monstrosity of a beer" (source).
  • Pigeon Hill Your Mom on French Toast, $4.69/12oz - "We also call this the “Morning After Stout,” because it’s a perfect way to ease the pain on the morning after a night of celebrating. By combining our Imperial Stout with maple, vanilla, and cinnamon, we created a beer that is both bold and comforting, with a flavor that unmistakably reminds us of your mom’s French toast" (source).
  • Roak Blow Your Face Out, $3.59/12oz  - "A double IPA loaded with Mosaic and Chinook hops" (source).
  • Rogue Cold Brew 2.0, $2.29/12oz - "Blonde Ale blended with cold brew coffee" (source).
  • Rogue Honey Kolsch, $2.29/12oz - "Situated just across from 40 acres of Rogue hops, 119 colonies of bees are carefully kept and fed and the honey is uncapped, extracted, filtered and finally infused into a refreshing Honey Kolsch Ale" (source).
  • Stone Exalted, $2.29/12oz - "Stone Exalted IPA represents the elevated state of reverence that Stone extols for the venerable and almighty Hop. Loral & Citra hops have been anointed to bestow their divine qualities on this sacred brew. This limited release is part of Stone’s Hop Worship Seasonal IPA Series…Glory be to those who imbibe it in its freshest form…and faithfully worship thy Hop in the beauty of blissful bitterness" (source).

Video of the Week | Ballast Point


Enjoy this fascinating aerial tour of Ballast Point Brewery.

Cheers!

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