THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Florida Vacation Pt. 2 (or so)… Cigar City IPA and Cigars!

by Harvey Gold on October 31, 2012


As we prepare to head back up north now that we know West Virginia with it’s three feet of October snow is passable…We’re baaaaaack! In Part 1, we discussed how the heat and the drinking culture of the south lead to the popularity of low ABV, affordable, mass produced lighter beers. We also had not, as of yet, found a Floridean craft beer in Okeechobee. So, with that understanding, this time we brought along a few of MY session beers,  Stone Levitation Ale (4.4%) to at least tide us over in the event we , yet again, came up short in our search. October, it was just pushing past 80 instead of 100 degrees down here, and the Levitation was great, but some significantly higher alcohol content  Pyramid Outburst Imperial IPAs that also tagged along did just fine as well.

But we then hit the Floridean Motherload!!! Well, that might be an exageration, but we did finally get our hands on a 6 of Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA, out of Tampa. At 7.5% ABV and 70 IBU, the Tale of the Tape had it weighing in as a solid IPA. Though the back end bitter was somewhat lighter than I would have expected, this is a truly tasty beer. The one thing distingushing it in nose and tongue, was what we detected as… PEACH! Some reviewers probably correctly identify it as papaya, others speak to your standard issue citrus, and many, perhaps as a nod to the southern geography and culture, suggest pineapple and other tropical fruits, but for me (and another unbiased taster), it was peach. Not cloying or overly fruity or sweet, just a way of expressing the hop /malt choices and balance, this Jai Alai drank as a very, very nice IPA, alone, with food, and as in this pic, accompanying a nice Arturo Fuente Cubanito.

This cigar was recommended to me by a Tobaconist at the Festival Flea Market in Pompano Beach, FL as being in the same arena as the Cohiba Black Pequenos I’ve tried and paired before. A nice enough smoke for a little guy, not quite as peppery as the Cohiba, but an appropriate recommendation.

Before I close, at The Tobacco Place, my big discovery last time here in Okeechobee, I came upon a tin of 6 natural wrap Madura Padron Corticos. Also smoked with the Jai Alai, a lttle more peppery like the Cohiba, maybe the best of the three. I’m not enough of a stogie sophisticate to say for sure, but yet another little guy that smokes like a big guy and found to be really tasty… and while I might have looked for a little more hop bitter to relieve those draws that were particularly spicy and hot (gotta draw on this one slow and gentle) the nicely balanced Jai Alai continued to taste just fine with this cigar as well.

Chefs Boo on the left, Warren second from right.

So, along with Boo and Warren’s ribs (with both sauce and dry rub), whole pig, and pork loin, this has been our most satisfying trip to date here in the land of pig hunts and bass boats.





{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

carol November 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm

The beer looks awesome, but even better–the pork. Nothing goes better with beer than pig (bacon, ribs, loin, whatever.) Welcome back to winter.


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