Friday, June 14, 2013

Cigar City Humidor IPA

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

My buddy John's back with more Cigar City, and he's a share-a-holic, so here I am back with another Cigar City review.  CCBC's Humidor Series beers are all aged on Spanish cedar, the wood used to construct cigar boxes- cedar, cigar boxes, humidor, Cigar City, you get the idea.  The base beer for this is Jai Alai, of which I've only had about an ounce while at GABF.  But I've had a full bottle of the White Oak-Aged Jai Alai (which was tremendous), so that should provide a good reference/comparison point.

This is maltier than I remember the WOA Jai Alai being, but I think I'll chalk that up to memory error, because looking at the pictures they're pretty much identical, allowing for variation in the ambient light.  The wood is very noticeable in the smell, but it's got a different character from first and foremost impression is that there's less vanilla.  It also smells almost spicy, like it'd go really well with Indian food.

The wood's also pretty prevalent in the flavor, but unfortunately, the hops are kind of one-note, mainly just bitter, which was not the case with either of the two previous versions of Jai Alai I've had.  It seems to get grassier (following my primary memory of straight Jai Alai) as it sits in the glass, which is good.  But in my opinion, the WOA version dominates this one in straight sets.

I think this would be very well-suited to a complementary meal, like the Indian food I mentioned.  But by itself, I find it a bit dull.  There seems to be a bit of a quandary in wood-aging IPAs- you'll pick up flavors from the wood during aging, but you'll also necessarily lose some hop freshness.  I'm not sure I'm really in favor of sacrificing fresher, cleaner hop flavors in favor of wood, but that's just a matter of preference.  I guess this just makes the WOA Jai Alai that much more remarkable, because in that one they managed to get great oaky flavor while also maintaining deliciously fresh hop citrus.

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