You will never forget the first time you walk into Cigars and Stripes. It is truly the most unique craft beer experience and life experience you will ever have. It is the itch you just have to scratch. There is really no other way to say it. Make sure to check out all five submissions for Ale to the Burbs this month.
ALE TO THE BURBS – BLOGS
Beer Dogging Cigars and Stripes
You will never forget the first time you walk into Cigars and Stripes. I remember my first time. I walked into the bar with the Beer Dogging crew and we found ourselves in the middle of a cigar store. Well, we like cigars, so we thought it was actually pretty cool. Right about that time you are confronted with a couple of monsters.
Wow. Okay, where am I now? Where is the beer and this food we heard about? You try to collect yourself to figure out this place, but it has your mind spinning. We see the bar and head over to sit down. Now I see pictures of wrestlers on the wall. Before I have a chance to process, I see the guy in the wrestling pictures walking toward me. He says “Hi I’m Ronnie”. He welcomes me to his place and gives me the rundown. We talk about beer and his passion for smoking meats. At this point, I’m sold. Now Beer+Meat=Winning. But Beer+Meat+Cigars+Monsters+Wrestling=Winning in Style. Not to mention the fact that this guy has to be one of the most friendly bar owners I have seen. The whole time I’m thinking to myself that this guy really takes care of his customers. So we order some wings and beers and really try to soak this place in. There are about a dozen taps and all are quality. We even noticed a few rare beers that we had been looking for. I thought to myself, why don’t I know about this place? There was no line and no fuss. We were able to drink our fill of these rare beauties.
Our food (meat) arrived shortly and I’m just about to dig in when Ronnie comes by to discuss his hot sauces. I failed to notice earlier all of the hot sauces for sale. Is there anything this guy doesn’t do? He tells us that these are his own sauces and to be very careful with them: particularly one of them because it is very hot. It says on the bottle to put a drop or two on your food. So what do I do? I smother my wings in the hottest one. It’s kind of like telling a little kid not to touch the hot stove. They are going to do it anyway. It was delicious, but man he wasn’t kidding about the sauce. It was intense and I began to sweat. I think I went through at least a dozen napkins and about 4 glasses of water. The experience was intense, and the wings were outstanding. After I was done, I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and clean up a bit. Don’t worry, I made sure to wash my hands before and after 🙂 Just like many others on their first trip here, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the bathroom light on. Sorry, I’m not giving this away. You have to walk down that road yourself. Having been there many times now, I have figured this out. It always makes me feel a bit better about myself each time I see someone else who can’t figure this out either. I returned from the bathroom, and crew couldn’t get over how great the wings were. Now Ronnie comes up to us and asks us if we want some pork sandwiches? In complete unison, the 8 voices of the Beer Dogging crew answered “Yes!”. Before we knew it, we had 8 sandwiches in front of us. They were amazing. The meat was tender and the smoke really came through. Well after that, a few of us needed some fresh air to compose ourselves. We headed out back and on our way saw yet another creepy statue. By now we are not even phased. We are feeling like we are at home and we belong.
When we got outside, we notice something. We all had puzzled looks on our faces because it’s just not clicking. We hear from one of the staff that Ronnie buried an anniversary barrel of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot. Smiles came over our faces. None of us could get over this. Nobody does things like this. Who has this much fun at their job? Not many that’s for sure.
There is a lot going on at this place. There are movies, comedy, Freaktoberfest (look in to this one for sure), great beer, and phenomenal food (as long as your not a vegetarian). The decor is definitely in the forefront, but the star of the show is Ronnie Lottz. In most bars, the most used phrase is “can I have a beer”? At Cigars and Stripes, the thing you hear the most is “where is Ronnie?” That speaks volumes about a place. Even in our last visit, T-Bone and I couldn’t get over it. We must have heard ten people ask for him in an hour or two. Over the years, we have gotten to know Ronnie pretty good and he is always taking care of us and happy to see us (even the time we showed up a few minutes early and he was sleeping). When the Beer Dogging crew was asked to be a part of the Ale to the Burbs project, we knew right where we were going to start. There was never a question. If you are looking for great beer, great BBQ, and great people, your journey in the suburbs begins at Cigars and Stripes.