Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beer Review - Cigar City Brewery

Cigar City Brewery - Tampa, Florida

Mucho ado has been made lately about the Cigar City Brewery located in Tampa, Florida.  From plugs on beer geek websites to whispers heard around the GABF all saying "Ya gotta try it", so...we made our *hic* visit and tried all *hic* their beers in one *hic* sitting.

Beers reviewed are shown from right to left

Jai Alai IPA - 7.5% ABV
As that the CCB brewers are hop heads, you can assume that most, if not all, of their beers will be quite hoppy.  The color is a cloudy golden yellow and smells of citrus and pine.  The head is perisistant and leaves nice lacing.  The hops smack you at first sip with the citrus and pine flavors following.  This one floats somewhere between an IPA and a west coast double IPA.  Very typical of the genre and nothing special.  HOWEVER, the cedar aged version of this IPA is magnificent.  Strange that the simple act of aging could add such complexity, but that is why this version has won so many awards.

Maduro Brown Ale - 5.5% ABV
This brown ale is made using oatmeal to give the beer a bit more depth and creamy texture.  It is a cloudy reddish-brown color smells of roasted malts, maple and earth.  The taste in leads you more in the porter direction than a typical brown ale.  It tastes much like it smells but without being sweet and with a bit of dryness and a coffee, hoppy ending.  Nice session beer.

Asian Saison.- 7.0% ABV
This saison uses chinese 5 spice and nori (the green seaweed used to wrap your sushi rolls) to give a wonderful complexity.  It pours as a slightly cloudy yellow with a minimal head that rapidly dissappates leaving no lacing.  The smell is quite interesting with spices, flowers and citrus in the forefront.  We found it dry with really complex flavors with the citrus and flowers appearing first and the spices and hops following.  You will also notice a bit of sourness in the background.  This was our favorite offering but saison?  C'mon guys.

Warmer Winter - 10% ABV
Producing a winter ale in Florida is kind of silly and the fact that the brewers were not all that interested shows.  This dark brown winter warmer has the smell of chocolate and dark fruits and has a medium head.  Thick, sweet, heavy, cloying, velvety, and a bit of coffee in the back ground.  Oof.

Apalachicola Oyster Stout - 6% ABV
Some brewers use oyster shells in the brewing to soften the water which gives the beer a different texture.  The brewers at CCB decided to use the whole oyster which sends this stout over the top.  The brew is a very dark, almost black and cloudy and smells...well...the almost non-existent smell is that of a stout.  The initial flavor is slightly sweet with minerals, the dryness and hops really kick in at the finish.  You will also notice the brine from the oysters in the background.  Not bad.

Vuja De Farmhouse Ale - 10% ABV
Are brewers misnaming their beer styles on accident or doing so to mess with our minds?  For instance this brew is listed as a farmhouse ale.  No frigging way, Jack.  The use of black currants, lemon leaves, elder flowers and hibiscus makes this one is more like a lambic to us.  Smells sour, tastes fruity and sour.  Me no likey.

Improvisation Oatmeal Rye India Style Brown Ale - 9% ABV
Wow, that is a wordy name, isn't it?  Oddly, the name says it all.  Mix a brown ale with an IPA and add oatmeal to sweeten it up a bit.  Slightly sweet, but quite dry with a bitter finish.  Not bad, not great.

Cigar City Brewing
3924 West Spruce Street Suite A
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone (813)348-6363 ext 206

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