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Every first Friday of August, we celebrate International Beer Day. The annual celebration started in 2007 and had only one thing in mind: To be able to gather with friends by celebrating the beers of all nations on a single day. Here at Cafe Racer, we take our International Beer Day to the next level.
When I started Cafe Racer in 2015, one of the main focuses was to create a flavor that paired well with craft beer. Cycle touring through Belgium in the fall of 2014, I had 3 bottles of a generic old school RY4 tobacco flavor and a basic Nautilus tank.
There are over 2000 breweries in Belgium and an amazing variety of world class beer. I was particularly fond of the Belgian Blonds - like Leffe and La Chouffe. Leffe Blond is an authentic blond abbey beer with a slight hint of caramel and some hoppy bitterness to it. After 500 miles and many stops at local breweries in Belgium, I became obsessed with creating a beer that would pair well with my favorite beers ranging from the Belgian Blondes to the hoppy west coast IPA’s.
When we started working in the lab on the first Cafe Racer E-juice flavors in January of 2015, shooting for a tobacco flavor that would pair well with craft beer became our first main goal.
Given that most of the commonly used tobacco flavors available were unacceptably bitter and harsh, we made a pilgrimage to tobacco country (Carolinas, Virginia, etc) in search of a new source. After weeks of meetings and testing, I was able to work with a chemist to create an amazing naturally extracted tobacco flavor that was a compound of several ingredients creating a rich, smooth almost buttery tobacco that was a perfect base to build a next-generation RY4 that I would love to vape. (CLICK HERE to read more about the history of the RY4 Tobacco Flavor)
Each week I would bring some craft beer to the lab on Friday afternoons and we’d test the latest batches to see how well they paired with the tobacco flavor we were working on. Tough work I know!
Lucky 13 took over 6 months to finish. We played around with many different versions - sticking with the base of Vanilla, Caramel and Tobacco sounds simple but when you have hundreds of vanillas and dozens of caramels to choose from, this process takes a while. We also added some new ingredients like toasted almonds and a few other things to help bring the flavor to where we wanted it. Many beer pairings were tested - not a bad way to close out each week.
Something rather magical happened with the flavor over time. When you pair Lucky 13, or it’s stronger tobacco flavored brother Lucky Bastard, with rich hoppy beer, it changes the flavor of both the beer and the vape. We discovered this by trial and error but wow, what an amazing experience. It’s impossible for me now to drink beer without my trusty Lucky Bastard on hand. It just wouldn’t be the same.
Lucky 13 went on to win many awards for Best Tobacco flavor. Hopefully many of the thousands of Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard fans out there are also enjoying these with their favorite craft beers. Cheers!
If you're interested in exploring other vape pairings, check out our article on 5 vape pairings you need to try today.