Beer Review: Cigar City Jai Alai

After months of hearing about how good Jai Alai from Cigar City Brewing was, I finally made the trip to Florida to try it. Was the beer as good as I heard?

Jai AlaiABV: 7.50%
IBU: 70
Style: IPA – American
Brewery Description: Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt whilst the ball travels at speeds up to 188mph! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dubbed this game, with its ball traveling at racecar speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a bustling Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. Pair Jai Alai India Pale Ale with Beef Empanadas, Deviled Crabs and other spicy dishes.

It’s a regular release from the brewery sold in 6-packs of cans. This was poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: When poured into a glass, the beer appeared a hazy copper orange. There was good carbonation with a finger and a half of foamy head; there was good retention and lacing.

Smell: As expected, the citrus is the star; it’s primarily oranges, but there are hints of other fruit. You also get a slight malt aroma.

Taste: Again, the citrus is the main aspect; you get the orange with hints of grapefruit and lemon. The hops are very present, but they offer little bitterness that you find with most IPAs. You also get a little bready malt taste.

Mouth: This has a medium body that leaves you refreshed and not full. It finishes smooth, again opposite of most IPAs.

Overall: This might be one of my all time favorite beers; so much so that I had a co-worker bring me back a six pack from her trip to Florida. The citrus is my favorite feature of the beer and this is something you can have a few of, which is dangerous at over 7% ABV. Now if they can just get it distributed in Missouri.

Jai Alai 2The Beer Advocate score is 94 (Outstanding – 1367 reviews) and the Bros scored it 100 (World-Class); amazingly it’s not currently on their Top 250. Untappd has it as 4.033 with over 128,000 rankings.

This is definitely a 5 out of 5 for me and probably cracks my top 5 all time.

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