Tasting: August 11, 2014
Beer #: 577
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog – my theme of late has been my rising inventory of beer and the race to enjoy my hop-centric goodies before age erodes the experience. The last few weeks have been quite the run and while I still have multiples of some of these legends left in my fridge, I have to press on. While my inventory crunch has caused me to double up some beer within a single post – there are some beers that reputation warrants a stand alone post and this beer – Cigar City’s Jai Alai fits that bill.
Hailing from Tampa Bay, Florida, Cigar City Brewing is aptly named as a tribute to the cigar manufacturing history of Tampa Bay. On the subject of tributes, this particular beer is homage to a by-gone cultural piece of Tampa Bay – jai alai – a fast-paced game played on a court with curved mitts and balls traveling at speeds of up to 188 miles per hour. I don’t know all the nuances of Jai Alai but as a kid, I recall a Jai Alai facility in Milford, Connecticut. I also know Jai Alai was a popular because there was legal wagering involved but I assume the casinos in Connecticut (and possibly Florida) have killed the sport.
Cigar City are not available in New Jersey and certainly limited in Pennsylvania and New York so a six pack of Jai Alai was a somewhat of a surprise find at Cable Beverage a couple of weeks ago. I’ve already cracked open a couple of these and it’s just time for me to write my summation of my experience. My first can wasn’t what I expected. I found it to be hop-dominant with very little malt backbone. My second can was a much better experience and was more in line with my expectations. I better play it safe and go for a third.
This one is a bit like my first – Jai Alai is herbal/grassy, full of grapefruit. Has a hint of breadish malts. Crisp mouthfeel – very astringent. A nice drinkable beer at 92 points for me.