If you are a craft beer enthusiast, Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Florida is one brewery you need to be familiar with. This fairly small operation has only been around since 2009, yet they are cranking out brews that can go toe-to-toe with any of the big boys. Though they are currently only available in a handful of markets nationwide (including New York and Northern Virginia), they are expanding rapidly. The beer I will be presenting you with today is their flagship, Jai Alai IPA.
This IPA, named after a sport once very popular in Florida, comes in a spectacular looking green and orange can. Popping it open, you can smell even more Florida influence right off the bat. Your senses are attacked with smells of fresh citrus peel, mango, and pear, much different from your west coast IPAs which have more of a pine aroma. Make sure you pour this one into your favorite beer glass in order to really bring out those beautiful scents. With the first sip of this beer, the Florida theme comes full-circle. Juicy citrus flavors rush in, covering your palate with tastes of fresh grapefruit, followed by just a hint of malt. This refreshing brew finishes with a perfect hop bitterness, enough to remind you that this is, in fact, an IPA.
While this wonderful brew may or may not be available at your local haunt, it is available all over the state of Florida, along with other large markets such as New York and Atlanta and they are constantly expanding. So, next time you and the family decide to hit the beach in Florida, or you find yourself on an east coast business trip, make it a point to find this beer. The fresh citrus taste of this IPA makes it a perfect summer beer, but the 7.5% ABV is enough to keep you warm in the winter.