Texas Chapter CATS Fest Meet Up

img_0032Heck yeah! If your in Texas or even close to the state you won’t want to miss this one. Texas is having their official annual meet up this year at CATS Fest V in Bulvetde, TX (that’s basically San Antonio). Will be kicking things off Friday May 26th in the evening at the CATS pre-party and of course we’ll really be getting things going on Saturday May 27th at the event.

As usual the La Quinta is home base for everything and where the majority of us will be staying. Information on tickets and booking a hotel are available at the CATS Fest website:

For specific information contact your chapter officers and they will give you all the details on when and where we will all be meeting. Hope to see a ton of us out there this year!

The address for the event is:

401 Obst Road Bulverde, Texas 78163

The Palomino Santa Ana Maduro

image-4If you haven’t heard of Palomino Cigars then you are missing out. The Palomino family has been making cigars in the Cibao Valley of the Santiago De Los Caballeros Province of the Dominican Republic since 1965. What makes them different from the rest of the companies is not only that they make a wide selection of quality sticks but they only sell factory direct. What this means for you is that not only do you get a great cigar but, instead of paying the $9 – $13 a piece you can pick theirs up for around $2 – $3.

Now I know what your thinking already, “how can a $3 stick be good?” The answer…most of what you smoke could probably be sold for around $3 a stick if they sold factory direct as well. For the other brands you are paying for their advertising cost, their sells reps pay, retail mark ups, and so on. So that being said on to the cigars.

Since I like a fuller flavored cigar I decided I would try the Santa Ana Maduro. Inspection shows a well-constructed stick covered in a nice oily wrapper with minimal veins and is in the dark chocolate color realm. It is firm to the touch but just pliable enough that it will not crack if you like to bite the end of yours like I do when you smoke. The odor from the body is of chocolate and old leather with a hint of cedar and fruit. The odor from the foot is the same just more intense.

It lit easily and the draw was even and smooth. The flavor was earthy with a bit of spice with coffee on the back end. The flavor held consistent throughout the cigar. The burn was even all the way through and did not have to be restarted at any point. The ash held well and was near white. The cigar created ample, thick smoke that looked heavy but felt light on the tongue.

When you first get these cigars you might be skeptical but after this smoke I bet you will have no qualms recommending these to anybody. In my opinion for the cost of these cigars they are a great value and could easily fetch between $9-$13 a stick at a brick and mortar store.

Brand: Silvo Palomino 

Web Address:

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Tusker…A Taste of Africa

IMG_0459In 1922, Kenyan Brewery co-founder George Hurst was killed by an elephant during an African Hunting expedition. His legend lives on with a beer the brewery named Tusker, in his honor.

Tusker is the highest selling beer in East Africa and for good reason. Made with 100%, locally sourced, African ingredients. The spring water used comes from the Aberdare Mountains, the barley is from the Maasai Mara and Savannah, and the yeast is developed locally. All of this helps, as their website says, “Makes you feel closely connected to the brand’s origins and roots.” Considered a light beer, this lager is crisp and outdoorsy. There’s a hint of residual sweetness, but a mix of woodsy flavor. Its a common beer in Africa, and much better than our common beers of the United States. I had the opportunity to drink it several times while staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Jambo House Lodge. It’s served endlessly to their guests staying on the club level. Perhaps it was the atmosphere of an African Village, or being in the company of wildebeests, giraffes and zebras, but I very much-enjoyed Tusker and its distinct taste.

Interesting that East African Breweries Limited is noted as the best company to work for in Kenya. With great beers like Tusker around the factory, Id say it would be easy to love working there too.

I can’t give a review of a beer called tusker, without mentioning my favorite elephant foundation. The Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is an amazing foundation and elephant orphanage that raises elephants that have been orphaned by the killing of adult females for the ivory trade. However, baby elephants can’t drink anything but their mother’s milk for the first two years of their life. Through three decades of trial and error, Dr. Daphne Sheldrick created the only successful milk substitute for baby elephants. Her orphanage rescues baby elephants and raises them until they are able to live in Africa’s preserve with other herds of elephants, many of who are previous orphans from the nursery. For much more information or to foster an orphaned elephant visit


Brewer:  East African Breweries Limited

ABV: 4.20

Rating: 4.4 pints out of 5


By: Cindy R.