Well folks, the first episode of The Tuesday Night Cigar Club podcast is officially in the can! While there are obviously going to be some growing pains and tweaking needed early on in this adventure (anybody remember early Simpsons or The Seinfeld Chronicles? yikes), I believe we put together a pretty damn engaging show and set a solid foundation for it to only get better as it barrels forward.
After an opening segment where I gave a brief history lesson on the group and introduced the TNCC members present for tonight’s discussion, we got right to familiarizing the audience with tonight’s trio of worthy subjects.
THE CIGAR – Smoking Monk Imperial Stout
Tonight’s smoke of choice was the new Smoking Monk Imperial Stout by Drew Estate. As stated on the back of the fiver’s stylish packaging, these are “specially blended cigars for pairing with craft beer”. This concept of pairing pleasures falls right in line with what we are hoping to do with the TNCC podcast, so in a way we had no choice but to kick things off with this boutique blend. I used my Xikar punch on the head of the toro cigar (the only size being produced at this time), while the other guys used a guillotine cutter. I’m not a loyalist to any method of cutting a cigar, I’ve just been on a punch kick lately so I stuck with it.
I continued to use my Xikar triple-flame lighter while the rest of the crew salivated over Tut’s humongous Lotus flamethrower that he won recently at his local cigar shop’s Oliva event. The thing weighs about the same as a minivan and needs refilling once every thousand years. I’ve asked him to leave it to me in his will but he’s made it quite clear that he intends to be buried with it. Fair enough, that’s why God gave us shovels!
Just based on the aroma coming off the foot of the cigar while torching it up, we knew immediately that things were looking (smelling) promising. The initial light produced whiffs of sweetness and baker’s chocolate. The firm cigar was tightly packed with just the right amount of give when squeezing the medium brown wrapper.
A smooth draw revealed instant impressions of coffee. This was unanimous among the group, everyone sensed the coffee influence (naturally occurring, not infused) and gave it and the stogie as a whole four thumbs up right out of the gate.
THE BEER – Buried Hatchet Stout
While none of us had experienced the Smoking Monk prior to tonight, both Tut and Cody had drank their share of Buried Hatchet Stout as it has been a regular presence on the tap wall of O’Briens Irish Pub for quite some time. As the pub’s owner, it’s hard to select a beverage that Cody isn’t familiar with in some form or fashion so there probably won’t be too many virgin drinking experiences as far as he’s concerned on the show. And, hopefully, that will be the only time I type the phrase “virgin drinking experiences” here on the site or anywhere else for that matter. But I digress…
Buried Hatchet was selected due to it being a stout (duh) and a TEXAS BREWED stout at that! The relatively young Southern Star Brewery is located in Conroe and their popularity seems to be growing exponentially as they are slated to open a brand new facility later this year. They are also the first craft beer brewery in Texas to offer canned beer which is the method we are consuming it tonight. Why cans, you may ask, when you lucky bastards are sitting in a pub with over 40 beers on tap? Because after weeks of having selected Buried Hatchet for this episode the pub’s keg blew two days prior and you do what you have to do. It can also be seen as an indication of the beer’s popularity… unless Tut drank it all himself. Which is a distinct possibility. The GOOD NEWS is that Buried Hatchet is now back on the tap wall for your drinking pleasure, so get your ass to O’Briens!
After the first sip I knew we had selected a winner. Cody was quick to point out that Buried Hatchet is not a true Imperial Stout; however, it is extremely similar with its notes of coffee and chocolate. And toffee, deliciously amazing toffee. We all picked up on the subtle taste of toffee right away, prompting Cody to proclaim that the medley between the cigar and beer was “almost too good” off the bat. He said it in a rather suspicious tone but after the first pint was emptied down his wordhole Cody seemed to relax a bit and let his conspiracy theories fade away into the night.
Having never tried Buried Hatchet myself, I was enjoying it thoroughly from the first sip. I like a complex beer and this sucker was right in my wheelhouse – complex and delicious. Tut made some insightful observations throughout the episode regarding the symbiotic relationship between the cigar and the beer that you’ll definitely want to listen for. I found it interesting that Tut found that the usual back-end bite of the Buried Hatchet (not a bad thing at all, mind you) was completely smoothed over by the Smoking Monk.
I mostly just wondered aloud how the cigar blending process must have occurred at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate to create these craft beer inspired sticks. Were the blenders and torcedores (highly skilled cigar rollers) frequently swept out the factory door drunk off their asses from the constant sipping of beer to make sure they were getting the cigar profile just right? And, more importantly, were they hiring?
Once the second round of pints was on its way and our cigars were approaching the halfway point it was obvious how we were feeling about our highly scientific stout experiment. Of course you’ll have to listen to the podcast to reveal that data…
THE FILM – The Expendables 3
For our first episode it was decided that we would review The Expendables 3 for many reasons. Reason #1 being that we are all fans of the franchise and seeing as how the third entry just arrived on home video it seemed current. Reason #2 is that we needed a ballsy movie to be paired with a ballsy beer and a ballsy cigar. Reason #3 is that I really like typing the word ballsy. And, finally, Reason #4 is that as filmmakers and performers we had filmed a short spoof of the original Expendables a few years back and this would finally give us an opportunity to present it properly. To give it “a home”, if you will. So ladies and germs, please sit back, click the link, and enjoy the ballsy awesomeness that is THE UNRELIABLES!
To say that we touch on everything Expendables related during our discussion would be an understatement. From the action and other directorial aesthetics of each entry, the approaches to casting as far as what worked brilliantly (I said “Holy Tauntaun Shit! Harrison Ford showed up ready to play for the first time in over a decade!”, others disagreed) and what did not work so well (Tut drooled over the addition of Antonio Banderas, I provided an eloquent counter opinion explaining how Tut may be a girl), the ranking of villians, and the sensitive subject one having one one-liner too many.
Hell, we even addressed the tricky icky politics of Roman Polanski when addressing the scary wild-eyed elephant in the room that is Mel Gibson. We truly left no Stonebanks unturned. Bad joke, sorry, but the fact that someone sat down at a computer and imagined up the name Conrad Stonebanks for Gibson’s character is just so unbelievably fucking awesome. STONEBANKS!!! There, it’s out of my system. STONEBANKS!!!!! Ok ok, I’m really done this time. The only thing we failed to address was the one topic I went in wanting to discuss more than anything else: STALLONE’S WARDROBE. Or, more specifically, the amazing jackets he wears when out casually and not blowing up stuff.
That’s a missed opportunity that’s going to sting for a while…
In cigar terminology, the term “nub” describes the very end of the cigar. When it becomes too hot to hold with your fingertips and, if it’s a really great cigar, you find yourself shedding a tear because the end of the ride is sadly in sight. So that’s what I’ve chosen to call this portion of the episode page as I’ll try to wrap things up quickly without giving so much away that you don’t feel compelled to listen to the actual podcast below. On that note, PLEASE LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BELOW! Don’t you want to find out what the hell is making these guys laugh so damn hard?!?
In a nutshell, the TNCC really dug the Smoking Monk Imperial Stout and it truly paired perfectly with the Buried Hatchet Stout. Construction (burn line, open draw, smoke production) was spot on and the flavors, while not complex, were very consistent and never boring. The only real question mark from the group was in regards to what type of smoking experience one would get with the Smoking Monk when not drinking alcohol with it. That’s a question I personally can live with unanswered. The Buried Hatchet itself was a fantastic beer that I will be revisiting soon. The one-two punch of the coffee and toffee notes present makes it stand out from the pack for sure. By the time our waitress delivered our final round of pints, everybody was in a warm happy place. And we almost all agreed that Expendables 3 was the best of the bunch as they finally got the wrong things right and made the right things better.
As we continue forward with our biweekly shows I am certain that both the format of the podcast and its corresponding episode page will change to a certain degree. In the coming weeks we will be launching a YouTube video companion to the audio podcast but we want to take our time and get that right. The podcast should be up on iTunes hopefully soon as well. In the meantime, we absolutely welcome your feedback in the comment section below as well as on our Facebook page. Let us know what you like and what you don’t. My personal heroes have always marched to their own drum regardless of being told they weren’t doing things the way they should be done. So what will not be changing is the Tuesday Night Cigar Club doing things a bit differently than most podcasts and blogs and doing those things our own special way. As of now, the podcast is scheduled to record the length of time it takes to smoke that week’s stogie. That can result in an unusually long episode such as tonight when there’s four of us discussing a trio of films as opposed to the usual one (if you thought this show was long, just you wait until the new STAR WARS comes out! the crew may need to wear diapers for that episode). The next episode will probably be significantly shorter BUT the cigar will always dictate the duration and it’s our job to fill it as best we can. Only it doesn’t feel like a job (yet) because we are practically doing what we’d be doing anyway without the microphones on. We are having a good time with good conversation and we’re essentially just opening it up to you. If you don’t have that kind of time to invest, skip around a bit and jump in the podcast anywhere. Hopefully each episode page, like this one you’re reading now, will also give you a truncated sense of how we felt about that evening’s stogies, film, and beverages.
See you next time. We’ll be back! NOW GET TO THE PODCAST!!!