Even without speaking a word of Spanish, you can probably take some pretty good guesses as to what “Las 6 Provincias” means. Espinosa Cigars’ latest brand is an homage to the Cuba of old. Before the Castro regime split them up to make a total of 15 — a classic play for control, since it made it easier for the government to limit its citizens’ movement — Cuba comprised 6 provinces: Pinar del Río, La Habana, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camagüey and Oriente.
Old timers — and even a lot of younger Cubans who were raised in the States — still identify with that old map of the island. So when we were looking for something to pair with this elegant, nostalgic Las 6 Provincias LHB (which is supposed to be the first in a series of six cigars), a 6 x 54 box-pressed Toro, we knew it would be most fitting to find something that recalled that same heritage in some way.
When people talk about a country’s “national drink,” they’re almost always talking about alcoholic beverages. But more than the mojito or the Cuba libre, more than straight rum or the Daiquirí, Cubans’ real love affair is with coffee. Specifically, Cuban-style espresso.
So of course the American brewery that developed a beer made with Cuban-style beans would be in Tampa — an American city whose historical ties to Cuba inform its character to this day. Cigar City Brewing’s Cubano Espresso is a brown ale brewed with “a heaping helping of Cuban-style espresso beans” roasted at Tampa’s own Buddy Brew Coffee.
The beautifully box-pressed Espinosa opens with a pepper zing accompanied by a healthy dose of nuts, earth, and spice. The flavors are intense and well-developed with a medium to full body. The Cigar City Cubano Espresso Brown Ale delivers loads of rich, creamy coffee and cocoa flavors along a thick, almost chewy mouthfeel. This pairing works on every level as the intensities are well-matched and the flavors are perfectly complementary.