Beer and Cigarettes

“I only smoke when I drink.”

“I’m a social smoker.”

“I go through, like, maybe a pack a week. No big deal.”

Hell, even I had a phase where I thought smoking suited me (Lucky Strike, unfiltered. I had been watching a ton of Band of Brothers during that time). It was, at the very least, a reason to try and strike up conversations at collegiate house parties I otherwise had no business being at. I’ve been drunk enough where smoking feels like the only thing worth doing. Hell, I’m outside on a balcony at 3 am for no reason, may as well light up.

Generally, I have no problem with smoking/smokers. Do what you like, whatever.

Until it comes to craft beer. In short: why do you smoke cigarettes while drinking craft?

I only ask as I fell witness to this yesterday evening. When at a brewery taproom, one is there for the beer they brew on site. It is the special kind of beer, one that is more than just an alcohol delivery vehicle – the taste and texture are labored over. At the taproom two gentlemen got up from the bar, halfway through their beer, to stand just outside the door and smoke. No problem there, seen it happen a million times over. As they stood there the cold, rainy air was sucked into the room, along with their smoke, and I found myself completely unable to taste anything other than the smoke. If that’s the sensation I got second-hand, what does it do firsthand?

Craft and cigars have been bared by the bold for a long while now. But cigarettes? Is it possible to taste anything after smoking other than the dried-leaf and lord-knows what else is packed in with it?

Maybe I’m in the dark on something here. Many beers are rather delicate with their flavors and composition, and a cigarette would only serve to blast that out of the water. So why waste a six dollar pour by going out for a smoke in the middle of it?

Pray tell, dear readers, am I missing something?

About David Pennington

Denver based writer and editor. Managing Editor of Denver Off The Wagon. Usually up to some kind of delinquency. Photos of dogs, beer, and gnarly knee scars over at

  • seth gerard

    I think the easy answer is, some people are Smokers and will smoke regardless of the situation they’re in. They’ll just as soon take a break from eating donuts to go have a cigarette as they well take a break from drinking craft beer. For most people smoking is addicting, and becomes an itch that needs to be scratched, rather than a flavor that you enjoy tasting.

  • Chris Washenberger

    What? Anyway. Go start smoking. You will get it. I am not sure that smoking ruins a $6 beer. I think a smoke goes well with the enjoyable social reason to be drinking. I mean I guess if you want to drink in a sensory deprivation tank so as to properly sense the specific gravity by lingual palpation alone, then that is what you are going to do. I thought it was about enjoying vices (some that taste better than bud light) among friends. Guess not.

  • Bryan Leavelle

    I smoke. I love craft beer. Smoking and drinking craft beer is awesome. That is why people do it.

  • Brewers Broad

    Smoking does effect the taste of the beer, and keeps someone from experiencing the craft the way it was meant to be enjoyed. I feel it will forever effect secondhand smellers that aren’t used to the aroma more than a regular smokers. Common courtesy, TAKE YOUR SMOKES FURTHER OUTSIDE! This doesn’t apply to most drinkers, but beer judges are asked to refrain from smoking 20 minutes leading up to any analysis. This is partly because of the believed effect on the judge’s taste and the awful stench everyone else has to endure.

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