Cigar City

CIGAR CITY BREWING

Founded and located out of Tampa, Florida, “Cigar City Brewing was founded with the belief that beer should reflect the environment in which it is made and as such should have a sense of place and purpose. For this reason we put our own Tampa spin on classic beer styles and whether we are seeking to build a specific flavor profile reminiscent of the foods and fauna of Florida or simply seeking to echo a state of mind in a liquid form the goal is always to reflect the essence of Florida as we interpret it.”

www.cigarcitybrewing.com

Year-Round/Seasonals:

Limited/Specialty Releases:

BIG SOUND: 95 Points

Wee heavy and Delicious

This Scotch Ale has an IBU of 40 and is released seasonally in September in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Brown in color, Big Sound has huge notes of dark sweet toffee with underlying mild notes of coffee in the aroma. The flavor starts with a slight note of cherry and then opens into a goliath of malt character with notes of dark sweet toffee, coffee and mild notes of toasted bread in the finish.”

My Description: Cigar City has designed a great representation of a Wee Heavy. It has a creamy, beige colored head that has a good retention level considering the ABV, but the lacing was held to a minimum. The aroma has a malty backbone with notes of toffee, dark fruits like cherries, and a touch of cacao. It is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The beer is smooth, the texture is creamy, and there is a hint of alcohol in the flavor but otherwise nicely hidden. True the the style, this beer is malty sweet upfront with notes of dark cherries, caramel, toffee, and roasted coffee makes its appearance from time to time. The aftertaste is slightly bitter bringing some balance to the beer. This Scottish beauty is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with roasted lamb, Camembert cheese, or BBQ chicken.

ABV: 9% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10

CUBANO-STYLE ESPRESSO: 93 Points

No sugar please

No sugar please

This Brown Ale is released seasonally in various months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This rich brown ale is redolent with Cuban-style roasted espresso beans, sweet caramel and toffee and hints of dry nuttiness. Cuban Espresso is a popular drink in the Cigar City of Tampa owing to its many Sicilian and Cuban immigrants. The beans for Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale are roasted locally by Mazzaro’s Italian Market and Deli in St. Petersburg to our exact specifications.”

My Description: There is definitely a difference between coffee notes and espresso notes. Cigar City hits it dead on with a strong espresso presence that tastes great and smells very aromatic. It’s almost like drinking an alcoholic espresso! It begins with a large, tan colored head with a good retention level and it leaves behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is a huge espresso bomb accompanied by some malty notes as well. Cubano is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is similar to the aroma in that espresso notes dominate. Hints of vanilla float throughout and a thick malt backbone helps keep the flavors in check. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and helps the drinkability. This beer is really good, smooth, and enjoyable. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, cigars, or skirt steak.

ABV: 5.5%  Color:  Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3/10

CUCUMBER SAISON: 92 Points

Cucumber?

This Farmhouse Ale is released seasonally in the Autumn months in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “We chose to employ the cucumber in a low gravity Saison to create a refreshing seasonal ale redolent with notes of honey, tropical fruit, lemon bitterness, and of course cucumbers. Brewed as a survival tool for the Florida Summer this cucumber creation features Citra and Sorachi Ace hop.”

My Description: I was so curious when I saw a cucumber beer that I had to purchase it and Cigar City is such a great brewery that I knew it would be of high quality. I was right. It has a big and bubbly, white colored head that dissipates at a decent level then fades completely leaving a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is intriguing and pleasing with a strong presence of cucumber accompanied by a sweet melon-like fragrance. This surprised me somewhat because I didn’t think it would smell just like an actual cucumber, nice! It is light/medium bodied with a high carbonation level and a dry, crisp finish. This is a farmhouse ale but the typical characteristics of this style (funk, sour, grassy, etc.) are barely noticeable, if present at all. The flavor profile is dominated by a bold cucumber flavor accompanied by notes of wheat, dill, and some sweetness. It is a nicely balanced ale with no alcohol taste. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with vinaigrette salads, grilled shrimp, or vegetable soup.

ABV: ≈5.5% Color: Hazy Gold Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10

FLORIDA CRACKER WHITE ALE: 89 Points

Whip cracking Florida Crackers

Whip cracking Florida Crackers

This Belgian Style Witbier is released on a rotating basis in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Belgian wit aged on fruit and spices.”

My Description: This ale would make a good session beer in the summer months because it is refreshing, easy drinking, and all the flavors are light and on the citrus side. It has a decent, white colored head that fades rather quickly and leaves behind no lacing at all. The aroma is pretty nice with notes of coriander, citrus, and hints of spice. It is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. Upfront, there are notes of citrus and lemon zest accompanied by a touch of bubblegum and some grassy/grain notes. There is an underlying flavor note of spice that is welcoming and satisfying. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a flavor note of lime that lingers slightly. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with coconut shrimp, bistro salads, or jerk chicken.

ABV: 5%  Color: Hazy Straw  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

GOOD GOURD: 98 Points

Good is an understatement

This Imperial Pumpkin Ale is released seasonally in Autumn in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours orange in color with notes of buttered pie crust, roasted pumpkin, and a melange of pumpkin pie spices. Medium bodied with flavors of caramel and roasted pumpkin notes and an underpinning of floral hop bitterness that leads into a harmonious blend of pumpkin pie spice and finishes with drying alcohol heat that creates a balance with caramel in the finish.”

My Description: Good Gourd is one of the best imperial pumpkin ales because the quality is exceptional, all the ingredients shine through at the right moments, and every aspect of the beer seemed to work together perfectly. It has a good sized, light beige colored head that retains decently but produces very minimal lacing. The aroma immediately warms you as it smells like a fresh cut piece of pumpkin pie; there are notes of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of pie crust. The ale is medium bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and an almost invisible alcohol presence, although you will definitely feel the warmth. There is a caramel malt backdrop with a prominent roasted pumpkin flavor that tastes spot on to the description. There are also accompanying spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, graham cracker crust, and yams. The aftertaste has a slight allspice kick that lingers with a low bitterness presence. The beer is smooth and perfect for the season. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with pumpkin pie, winter squash dishes, or at Thanksgiving.

ABV: 8.5% Color: Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2/10

GUAVA GROVE: 94 Points

I wish I had a guava grove

This farmhouse ale has an IBU of 18 and is available year-round in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Guava Grove is brewed with a French strain of Saison yeast and sees a secondary fermentation on pink guava puree. Slightly tart with a dry finish this is a refined beer that is perfect for sharing.”

My Description: This is a great Saison, it’s smooth, refreshing, with a great flavor profile. It has a good fluffy/bubbly light tan head that never goes away. Seriously, there is a block of foam on top of the beer the whole time producing some good lacing along the way. The aroma is light with a strong Belgian yeast presence with notes of spices, tropical fruit, and some tart. It is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level. This is a type of beer where you will taste different flavors as the beer warms up, which makes the drinking experience enjoyable and satisfying. Flavor notes include some honey sweetness, a modest appearance of tart and sourness, and tropical fruits like guava and kiwi. The aftertaste is dry and refreshing with some peppery spiciness. You will taste the alcohol slightly but that only adds some character to the beer. Overall, the beer is complex, delicious, and smooth. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with gourmet cheeses, light desserts, or grilled fish.

ABV: 8% Color: Hazy Dark Lemon/Orange Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10

HOTTER THAN HELLES LAGER: 93 Points

Florida is definitely hotter than Hell

Florida is definitely hotter than Hell

This Helles Lager is released in the Summer months in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Munich Lager is a nod to the thirst quenching lagers of Germany. Our Helles has a sweet malt expression that is balanced by floral bitterness from the use of German Hallertaur Mittelfruh hops. A very refreshing beer that will also entice you by its subtle complexity and drinkability.”

My Description: If you have ever been to Florida in the Summer than you will definitely appreciate having a beer like this by your side. It is refreshing, tasty, and easy drinking. It starts with a sub-par head that fades quickly to nothing and leaves behind no lacing. The aroma is mild with light notes of floral hops. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The taste is where this beer shines. The flavors are very clean and the texture is remarkably smooth. There is a light grain note that is accompanied by some citrus and floral hop notes. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and not harsh at all. This will quench your thirst on that hot Summer night and satisfy your taste buds. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with burgers, grilled shrimp, or a BBQ chicken sandwich.

ABV: 5%  Color: Yellow/Straw  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

HUMIDOR SERIES IPA: 94 Points

Light up that Montecristo

This IPA has cedar added during secondary fermentation to replicate a humidor. It has 70 IBU’s and is available year-round in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “White grapefruit and tropical fruit notes dance on a stage of balancing malts led by a smooth caramel expression. White pepper and sandalwood spice notes add further depth.”

My Description: Cigars and beer, add in a game of poker and you’re all set. This IPA is delicious and I love the subtle cedar and tropical hop notes, they add a nice touch to an already high-quality ale. It has a thick and full, off-white head that gives off some great lacing with a good retention. The aroma is a tropical fruit hop bomb with notes of cedar and some pine. The aroma is so welcoming and enjoyable. The beer is on the medium/full bodied level with a nice carbonation level making this a smooth ride. Up front, you will taste some sweet malt notes mixed with a touch of cedar and a minor hint of wood spice. The aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness with tastes of citrus hops, tropical fruit hops, and maybe some pine hops. The alcohol is hardly noticeable at all. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with Cajun food, jerk chicken, or a nice Maduro cigar.

ABV: 7.5% Color: Hazy Light Brown/Orange Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 7/10

IMPROV: 91 Points

An improv that doesn’t suck

This beer is an Oatmeal Rye India Brown Ale that has an IBU of 60 and is available year-round in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours a ruddy brown in color with notes of resinous hops backed by toasted grain. Flavor has upfront pine bitterness with nutty notes and rye spiciness.”

My Description: There may be a lot going on in this beer but it all works together to give you an enjoyable ale that is delicious and memorable. It has a good sized dark beige head that retains decently but does produces good lacing. The aroma is mainly chocolaty with notes of roastiness and dark fruit. It is medium/full bodied with a good carbonation level for the style. The flavors are nicely balanced in this beer; up front you will taste some sweet caramel malt and a touch of dark fruit. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a hint of rye spiciness. The alcohol is apparent throughout but it is not overwhelming, it will not affect your overall enjoyment. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with lamb shank, braised ham, or BBQ chicken.

ABV: 9% Color: Mahogany Sweetness: 3.5/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10

INVASION: 96 Points

Bring it on

Bring it on

This American Pale Ale is released year-round in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Gold in color, Invasion Pale Ale is CCB’s rendition of a sessionable hoppy ale. The aroma is quite tropical and offers suggestions of peach, mango, lime and papaya. Upon further exploration, Invasion has a light caramel malt character laced with a slight breadiness and the finish relinquishes a bounty of tropical and citrus hop flavor and bitterness.”

My Description: This makes for a great session beer; the flavors taste great and blend smoothly together, the body is crisp, and the beer goes down easy. It pours a large, off-white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma is hop forward with notes of tropical and grapefruit hops with a slight pale malt addition. Invasion is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and nicely balanced with a good malt backbone holding up tropical and grapefruit hop notes along with some woodsy hops. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers nicely. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with burgers, Hawaiian pizza, or coconut shrimp.

ABV: 5%  Color: Gold/Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 4.5/10

JAI ALAI: 96 Points

Bitter Tropical Fruits? Indeed!

This American Style IPA has an IBU of 70 and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours copper in color with notes of citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma. Flavor has upfront citrus bitterness with a hint of caramel and citrus and tropical fruit hop notes in the finish.”

My Description: Extremely easy drinking, this ale boasts remarkable flavors, a well-tuned body, and a need to drink more. It has a decent sized, light tan head with great lacing and a decent retention level. The aroma is an explosion of different hop fragrances including citrus, grapefruit, tropical fruits, and a touch of pine. The aroma is divine and alluring. The beer is roughly medium/full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a wet finish. There is a nice semi-sweet malt flavor in the background which allows the hop flavors of citrus and tropical fruit to shine through such as mango and guava. The alcohol is nicely hidden but you can always sense its presence. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but not sharp or harsh. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with empanadas, jambalaya, or a southwest burger.

ABV: 7.5%  Color: Golden Brown  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 6/10

JOSÉ MARTÍ: 99 Points

A Poetic Porter

A Poetic Porter

This American Porter is released seasonally in late Winter in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours dark in color with notes of chocolate and caramel and mild hints of black licorice. Flavors of citrus, wood and herbal bitterness up front with lingering notes of chocolate and hints of caramel and a long dry finish with a slight underpinning of dark espresso.”

My Description: This Porter becomes addicting immediately. The texture is smooth, the flavors are delicious, and the moderate bitterness level makes this ale easy drinking and satisfying. It pours a large, beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma smells amazing with earthy/herbal hops dominating accompanied by some chocolate and roasted notes. The hops smell fresh and welcoming. José is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is remarkably clean with gentle notes of citrus and woodsy hops along with some chocolate and roasted notes. This transitions beautifully to a espresso/coffee finish with slight hints of tobacco. The alcohol is completely hidden and the robust nature of this beer gives off an almost oak-like taste that compliments nicely. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, BBQ ribs, or a cigar.

ABV: 8%  Color: Dark Brown/Black  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 5/10

MADURO: 90 Points

Who likes the dark wrapper?

This Brown Ale has an IBU of 25 and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Maduro is a Northern English-style brown ale with some American affectations. Maduro is higher in alcohol than the common English brown ale and features flaked oats in the malt bill which imparts a silky body and works to mesh the roasted, toasted and chocolate components together in Maduro’s complex malt profile.”

My Description: This is a clean Brown Ale with no harshness, enjoyable flavors, and a smooth and silky body. It has a good sized, beige colored head that fades rather quickly but holds for a while producing minimal lacing. The aroma is dominated by roasted malts but there is a touch of some dark fruit in there. Overall, the aroma is pleasant and inviting. It is medium bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a finish that is on the dryer side. There are roasted and chocolate malt flavors throughout the beer that are accompanied by a touch of caramel and a hint of sourness and dark fruits. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with an almost lingering sweetness. This beer is sessionable and a great representation of the style. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with burgers, BBQ chicken pizza, or a good medium strength cigar.

ABV: 5.5% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10

PATIO PILS: 91 Points

Clean and Tasty

Clean and Tasty

This Pilsner is released seasonally in the Summer months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This special summer seasonal release is a Pre-Prohibition Pilsner with a modern twist. We improve on the traditional recipe by replacing six-row barley and Cluster hops with premium two-row pilsner malt and imported premium noble hop varietals. This updated version of a classic Pre-Prohibition Pilsner style lager pairs well with with Cuban sandwiches, fresh corn chips with Salsa Fresca, Tostones, Ropa Vieja and of course good company.”

My Description: The naming of this beer is great; this is definitely a more chilling kind of Pilsner for those hot summer days. It begins with a good sized, white colored head that fades to a thin film that hangs around a while leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is straightforward with notes of pale malts, grass, and a touch of noble hops; it’s pretty standard. Patio Pils is roughly medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. Crisp with a hefty body, this beer is made with good quality and the flavor profile demonstrates that. Upfront, there are notes of malt sweetness with a touch of floral. This leads smoothly into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter and lingers for a second. This beer has simple flavors but they work together nicely. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with Cuban sandwiches, fried mozzarella sticks, or grilled shrimp.

ABV: 6%  Color: Light Gold  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

PUPPY’S BREATH: 95 Points

how cute

how cute

This Porter is released seasonally in April, August, and December in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “Due to their immature digestive system and their diet, the breath of a puppy can smell like coffee or chocolate. This porter is loaded with roasted malts that have the wonderful smell of chocolate and coffee. This reminds us of our loving companions as we drink and reflect.” “Dark in color with a ruby hue with forward notes of chocolate and caramel and light toffee notes in the aroma – Forward notes of bittersweet chocolate with moderate notes of caramel and toffee and moderate hop bitterness that leads into more caramel and toffee and slight hints of char.”

My Description: Very smooth and surprisingly gentle, this Porter tastes much lighter than what I expected.  It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and not overly robust with notes of dark chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and a touch of caramel. Puppy’s Breath is light/medium bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is slightly complex and the flavors work harmoniously together. Upfront, there are notes of chocolate and coffee, along with hints of toffee and roasted malts. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with hint of char. Some herbal/earthy hop notes float throughout and the alcohol is completely hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, a hearty vegetable stew, or a cigar.

ABV: 6%  Color: Dark Brown  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 3/10

TOCOBAGA: 100 Points

Bitter Red Ale

This Red Ale has an IBU of 75 and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Pours amber in color with notes of citrus and caramel. Citrus hop bitterness upfront with notes of caramel and an Amish bread sweetness. Citrus hop bitterness returns at the end for a long dry finish.”

My Description: This is a delicious red ale, mainly because I love hops and quality. It has a good sized, light beige colored head with a good retention level and leaves some spotty lacing. The aroma is damn good and invites you to immediately start drinking; as soon as you put your nose in the glass you are blasted with a burst of citrus hops that smell clean and fresh, almost resiny. It is roughly medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a long, semi-dry finish. The alcohol is well hidden and the flavors are nicely balanced. Immediately you will taste citrus hops accompanied by some caramel malt notes and a touch of breadiness. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers forever, which in this case is a great thing. I loved this beer and it is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with blue cheese burgers, lamb chops, or a baked ham.

ABV: 7.2%  Color: Reddish/Brown  Sweetness: 3.5/10  Bitterness: 6.5/10

WARMER WINTER WINTER WARMER: 90 Points

Warm and Sweet Winter

This Old Ale is released during the winter season in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A old ale with american hop varietals that has a complex citrus and caramelized toffee aroma and underlying notes of chocolate.”

My Description: Considering how many different hop varieties are in this beer, I thought it would be more on the bitter side if not balanced. However, this is one sweet brew that is initially surprising but not necessarily incorrect for the style. It has a fairly large sized, light beige colored head that lasts for quite some time and leaves behind a good amount of lacing for such a high alcohol beer. The aroma is definitely on the malty side with accompanying notes of caramel, raisins, and a touch of alcohol. It is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The beer is sweet with a dense toffee note and dark fruit notes like raisins and plums. Brown sugar is apparent as is a touch of citrus zest. The aftertaste provides a touch bitterness with a minor cherry note. Although the alcohol is slightly noticeable the beer is very smooth and enjoyable. It is best served around 60°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, bread pudding, or baked ham.

ABV: 11%  Color: Garnet  Sweetness: 5/10  Bitterness: 2/10

BLACK ASH: 91 Points

Nice concept

Nice concept

This Schwarzbier style lager is a collaboration with Max Lagers of Georgia. It is available for a limited time in 22 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “American black lager aged on black ash”

My Description: A semi-robust presence, this lager delivers in both flavor and satisfaction. The addition of black ash brings a char like flavor that is different than your typical wood. It pours a large and dense, dark beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is smells strongly of licorice accompanied by notes of vanilla and chocolate . Black Ash is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The texture is creamy and smooth. The flavor profile is interesting and nicely balanced. Lingering smoky notes flow throughout but never overpower the rest of the flavors. Licorice, mocha, tobacco, pine hops, and earthy notes are also detected. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with hints of dark fruit. This is an enjoyable beer and is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with ribs, jerky, or grilled salmon.

ABV: N/A  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

HOPPED ON THE HIGH SEAS (HOP #529): 92 Points

Experimental Hop

Experimental Hop

This is Batch #4 of this series and showcases Hop #529. It is brewed only once and available in 12 oz. cans

Brewer’s Description: “This 60 IBU Caribbean-style IPA was brewed at the Cervezas del Sur Brewery in Ponce, Puerto Rico by Cigar City Brewmaster Wayne Wambles. The mango tree-lined streets of Ponce put us in a tropical mood and Hopped on the High Seas is the result of that Caribbean feeling. High Seas is a 7% ABV IPA dry-hopped exclusively with one variety of hop; 165 lbs of them in fact! And since we wanted to put this beer in our favorite container, the 12 oz can, a sea journey was required to get the beer back to Tampa for canning. We took the opportunity to add the dry-hops to the refrigerated shipping container prior to racking. Which means this beer truly was Hopped on the High Seas. As the beer made its way home, the gentle motion of the ocean worked to infuse the luscious aromatics of the hops. The result is big tropical aromas and flavors, light balancing malt backbone and a clean bitter finish.”

My Description: Interesting and smooth, this ale showcases a new hop that tastes great and is very aromatic. It begins with a large and dense, off-white colored head with a nice retention level and it leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is pungent and inviting with some bready notes but otherwise dominated by tropical and woodsy hops that smell fresh. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and tasty with grapefruit hops taking center stage along with some tropical notes and some malt notes. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and not sharp. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with jerk chicken, BBQ ribs, or Thai cuisine.

ABV: 7%  Color: Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

HUNAHPU’S IMPERIAL STOUT (2013): 100 Points

Get in Line

Get in Line

This Imperial Stout is released only once a year in March and only sold at the brewery in 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xiquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend the heavens to become the moon and sun. We brew Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout once a year and release it only at the brewery. We will continue to do so until the end of the cycle. Released on the second Saturday in March at the brewery.”

My Description: One falls in love with this beer instantly upon first sip because the flavors are delicious, the alcohol is completely hidden, and what stands out the most is how velvety smooth this ale is. Once poured, it has a large, dark brown colored head that lasts for a long time and leaves behind a decent amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and inviting with notes of dark fruits, vanilla, cacao, chili peppers, and some roastiness; it really smells great. Hunahpu is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex and delectable. Cacao takes center stage and tastes like the real deal; non of that artificial/cheap chocolate. There are also notes of roasted coffee, dark fruits, vanilla, and a touch of cinnamon. This sits on a noticeable, yet subtle, pepper spice background that adds character. The aftertaste is slightly bitter but doesn’t take away from the overall balance. This beer is addicting and the flavors work beautifully together. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with skirt steak, roasted duck, or a cigar.

ABV: 11%  Color: Dark Brown/Black  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

WANDERING PELICAN: 87 Points

Creative Collaboration

Creative Collaboration

This Black IPA/American Black Ale is a collaboration with Great Lakes Brewing and is available for a limited time in 12 oz. cans.

Brewer’s Description: “The summer of 2013 introduced the city of Cleveland to a unique and rare visitor. A Brown Pelican, usually found in Florida and other Gulf states, wandered north to vacation on Ohio’s Lake Erie coast. Swapping saltwater for fresh, feeding on shad instead of mullet, this welcome stranger made Lake Erie his home for several months and became an unlikely local celebrity. This dark ale honors our courageous friend who traveled off the beaten path to find his home. Wandering Pelican Black Ale is a hopped-up American Black Ale with a dark, roasted character balanced by a floral hop bitterness.”

My Description: I think that this collaboration is really great; not only are these two breweries amazing but the whole story about the pelican makes for a great idea for a name for this ale. I’m not sure how a Black IPA fits into this story but it is a great beer non-the-less. It pours a very large, beige colored head with a good retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma smells great with notes of milk chocolate, herbal hops, and some roastiness. Wandering Pelican is roughly medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is slightly robust but a I think a little too sweet for the style. Upfront, there are notes of roasted malt and chocolate along with some herbal hop notes and caramel malt. This transitions into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter but not aggressive. A touch of alcohol is noticed but doesn’t affect the beer negatively. I feel this ale lacks a certain depth of hop flavors that I was hoping would shine through more. Overall, this is still a tasty beer that you’ll enjoy if you like porters and IPA’s. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled steaks, chocolate desserts, or creamy cheeses.

ABV: 8.2%  Color: Very Dark Brown  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 4.5/10