Beer and Cigars

Years ago I was really into cigars. It was around the time I started playing golf with some friends from work. We played 9 holes of golf after work on Wednesdays, and a full round of 18 on weekends. Golf led to cigars on the course, and cigars led to whisky at the 19th hole. That’s three fairly expensive hobbies all at once. I look back now and miss those days.


I don’t golf as regularly anymore, and don’t smoke cigars nearly as often either. I still have a fairly decent collection of Single Malt Whisky, mostly Islay Malts, but haven’t poured myself a dram in a while. Why? The Craft Beer Revolution, that’s why!

Ever since I started exploring craft beer, I’ve put my other hobbies on the shelf. Slowly I’ve been integrating them back into my routine. For example, I play beer soaked golf now and then with the guys thanks to canned craft beer. And I’ve popped the cork on some Single Malt Scotch after enjoying a really bold IPA or a barrel-aged stout. What’s next? Cigars! So when I heard about the Gray Cloud event I was intrigued. Beer and Cigars? At a local golf course? Really!?! Yes, really.

Gray Cloud 2013

The Beer

“Dr.” Bill Sysak has hand-chosen limited release beers from some of the world’s best breweries for this event. Attendees will receive a commemorative stemmed Belgian style tulip glass and a 6 oz. serving of each of these limited beers: (subject to change)

  • Moa – Imperial Stout Barrel Reserve (Aged in Pinot Noir Barrels)  10.2% ABV
  • Stone Brewing -15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA Aged in Scotch Whiskey Barrels.  10.8% ABV
  • Green Flash – Cedar Plank Pale Ale.  6% ABV
  • AleSmith – Speedway Stout.  12% ABV
  • Avery Brewing – Maharaja Double IPA.  10.4% ABV
  • Stone Brewing – Old Guardian OAK-SMOKED Barley Wine w/American & French Oak. 11.6 % ABV
  • Sierra Nevada – Bigfoot Barley Wine.  9.6% ABV
  • Almanac Beer Co. – Barrel Noir, Barrel Aged American Strong Ale. 10% ABV
  • Stone Brewing – Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale w/ Espresso Beans. 8.7% ABV

The Press Release

Brew Ha Ha’s Newest Micro Festival – “GRAY CLOUD
Premier pairing event features award-winning cigars,
limited release beers & gourmet food

[Mission Viejo, Calif.] – From the producers of the renowned OC Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival comes “Gray Cloud” an intimate afternoon/evening festival on one of Orange County’s most beautiful golf courses, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo. This exclusive event will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Designed to provide guests with an extraordinarily personal and intimate pairing experience featuring an unprecedented lineup of award-winning cigars, limited release craft beers, along with “small plate,” gourmet food offerings specially prepared by Chef Jeff Platt, this package will be expertly woven together by the internationally recognized master pairing guide, “Dr.” Bill Sysak Craft Beer Ambassador for Stone Brewing Coand Certified Cicerone.

Dr. Bill

Dr. Bill Sysak

 “Dr. Bill,” as he has become known as, will focus on “the finer things” in artisanal pairings and collaboration between chefs, breweries and fine cigars experts. Both seasoned aficionados and novices alike will enhance their appreciation for fine beer, food, and cigars while watching the sun set overlooking the 18th hole and the gorgeous private lake. Guests will enjoy nine hand selected, limited release beers such as Big Foot Barley Wine from Sierra Nevada, 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co, and Cedar Plank Pale Ale from Green Flash.


“While our flagship event will always be our Annual Brew Ha Ha held in September every year,” says co-producer Cameron Collins, “we also enjoy showcasing some of the many great aspects of craft beer at smaller events such as our Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival in December. This GRAY CLOUD pairing event takes ‘smaller’ to an extreme but it is going to be an awesome experience.” Only 250 Full Access tickets are available and range in price from $55 limited release to $75 at the door.


Tickets include: nine 6 oz pours of hand-selected, limited release beers, a beautiful commemorative stemmed Belgian style tulip glass, Cigar Aficionado’s 2008 and 2012 cigars of the year, three “small plates” of gourmet food, two free raffle tickets, and free parking.  Tickets are available online at

We here at BeerSoaked are big fans of the events from the OC Brew Ha Ha folks. They really know how to throw a party. And Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club is a favorite lunch spot for us because they always have great beers on tap. So we’re definitely looking forward to this one and hope to see you out there on April 13th.

Other Cigar events

Midwest Smoke OutGuido travels for work and unfortunately this year he will just miss out on attending a the Midwest Smoke Out, which is a similar event out near Chicago on April 25th. The Smoke Out is much more focused on the cigars than the pairing with craft beer. But from what we’ve read, the last event offered nearly limitless quantity of microbrew including beers from Three Floyds, Bulldog, Calumet, Shoreline, and a handful of brews from California’s own Sierra Nevada: Torpedo Extra IPA, Pale Ale, Ruthless Rye IPA, Ovila Dubbel, Ovila Quad and Ovila Saison.

Guests were encouraged to pair the beer with the complimentary premium cigars provided by: Camacho Cigars, La Flor Dominicana, Doublegun Cigars, The Cigar Agency, Lou Rodriguez Cigars, A.J. Fernandez Cigars, Altadis U.S.A, Arango Cigar Co., Nish, and Rocky Patel Premium Cigars.  For more info check out

Maybe someday I’ll find my way out to Chicagoland, but for now I’ll stick to the events closer to home.

Are there any other cigar and beer events we should know about? Let us know. Cheers!

Add your beer soaked comment