There is nothing like a long winter vacation to Florida. While down here, I decided to sample some of the local brews. While a little more known for orange juice and tourists, the Sunshine State also has some decent breweries, including Cigar City.
Cigar City Brewing is located in Tampa, Florida. The goal at CCB is two-fold: make great beer, and educate people about Tampa’s culture. The first part is understandable and the second part is very intriguing. They are trying to reverse the notion that Florida is a “beer wasteland” and their Jai Alai IPA is making great strides toward that goal.
I thought this was a bizarre name for a beer, but they tie it into Tampa’s past as a Jai Alai mecca. Apparently, there used to be a bustling Jai Alai “fronton” or arena in Tampa but it has since closed. CCB named their IPA in honor of the sport.
This is a good beer from start to finish. It has a very hoppy aroma with hints of grapefruit in the nose. It’s a honey-brown color with lacing that lingers on the side of the glass. The mouthfeel has a substance but is not sticky. The taste has a bitterness to it that reminds you that you are drinking an IPA. The finish is also very balanced. Overall, it is very drinkable which can be unusual for an IPA.
I would definitely recommend a Jai Alai to an IPA drinker visiting Florida. It’s a solid beer and it’s reasonably affordable ($1.99 per bottle, cheaper in 6-packs). I feel lucky that I was able to find good beer brewed locally. I had their Maduro Brown earlier this week and it was excellent as well.
Cheers to your good health!
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