I would like to take the time to give some praise to a few brews I have tried from Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, Florida. I am always one to support local breweries; these new beers have been hitting the shelves at my store in Gainesville and I have been delighted by the unique tastes they have to offer. The first is “Maduro oatmeal brown ale”. I love dark beers and enjoy good full-bodied American brown ales such as this one. I drank this one only slightly chilled to ensure its entire flavor potential. I took a moment to savor the rich mahogany hues that enveloped the glass when I poured it. The first whiff was heavenly. Imagine a fresh maduro cigar right out of the wrapper: dusty chocolate, almost like a truffle with some woody notes. The first sip was equally fantastic. It was incredibly smooth with some roasted malts, espresso, and just the slightest hint of wet tobacco leaves. Could this be a liquid cigar? Try one yourself and find out!
The second beer—the name alone intrigued me—was the “Humidor Series Cedar Aged IPA.” This one came in a hefty 22-ounce bomber with an attractive label. The word that really compelled me to this beer was cedar. I love cedar. It is great for cooking, the smell is intoxicating, and it is a taste I have never encountered in my beer . . . until now. I had to pull out my big Duvel goblet for this one. It poured the standard fizzy auburn IPA color. The aroma was what I expected and hoped for, a big peppery cedar smell with underlying piney hops and a flash of citrus. The taste was equal to the smell with some hard-hitting cedar giving way to some tropical fruitiness and some spicy hop undertones that gripped to the sides of my tongue with a touch of acidity in the finish. This was a nice twist on the traditional India Pale Ale.
Adam Shugan, assistant manager, Gainesville