Friday, December 14, 2012

Cigar City White Oak-Aged Jai Alai IPA

Type: IPA
Origin: Tampa, FL
Price: ?
ABV: 7.5%
NSP: ?

The next Cigar City present from John.  I had the regular Jai Alai at GABF, but it was late enough in the evening that I just remember it being tasty.  But, as with all of Cigar City's efforts, this one's got a pretty good reputation.

The pour just exploded, but I'm not sure if that's because the beer's carby or because I misjudged how much was left in the bottle when I upended it.  But in this case it's OK- I don't mind spending a bit of time just smelling it while the head dies down, because the nose is really unique and remarkable.  The oak character is quite strong up front, but that doesn't mean it stands alone- there's a really nice fruity hoppiness.  It kind of smells like mango covered in vanilla and lemon and pineapple juice.  Wow.

The flavor is, to be brief, really fucking delightful.  Less briefly, it's got all the same characteristics as the nose- lots of vanilla, mango, pineapple, and lemon.  I'm also getting an interesting coconuttiness.  The vanilla and coconut are things that you don't generally expect from an IPA, and they make this beer stand out from the rest.  If it sounds sweet, it indeed is a bit, but the hop bitterness is just enough to haul back on the reins.  Put it all together and it's a beer you could happily drink the shit out of while sitting on a tropical beach somewhere snickering at poor saps who have to bear frozen snot while scraping their windshields at 6AM.  And at a robust 7.5%, you'll be passed out and sunburned as hell before you know it.

At this point in my beer-drinking career, it's not all that often that I run into something that's simultaneously totally unique and absolutely delicious.  High marks.  John, I'm going to need more of this.  And by that I mean a monthly shipment from Tampa to my fridge.

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