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It’s been a little while since I posted my last review, so it’s time to get caught up. While I was away, I took a trip down to Florida to visit family and got to sample some goodies that I don’t get up here in Massachusetts. I didn’t have an opportunity to go full on beer hunting, so what you’ll see here represents the things that caught my eye at a little shop called Maggie’s Attic in Mount Dora.  In addition to having a good selection of beer and wine to bring home, they also have a few tap lines and an assortment of wines to drink on site.  My wife and I had a wonderful time there, so much so that by the time we had finished our beer and wine purchases, I missed out on recording the individual pricing of my beers!  As such that part of the review has been left out this time around.

The first installment of my 2014 Florida beer experience will look at three beers from the folks at Cigar City Brewing.

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Beer Name: Jai Alai

Brewer: Cigar City Brewing

Style: IPA

ABV: 7.5%

Description: Year-round IPA featuring citrus and topical fruit tastes.

Pour Info: Poured from a refrigerated 12 oz. can into a Miller Lite pint glass. I didn’t have much in the way of glassware to work with while on vacation, and this was the best option. The can was dated 10/21/2014 and was consumed on 11/17/2014.

Appearance: Pours a light amber color with a fluffy white head that slowly dissipates while the beer is consumed.

Smell: Offers a fruity burst of citrus smells and a sweet malt base.

Taste: Citrus and tropical fruits blended with fresh hops backed up by lightly sweet malts. Very drinkable and just enough hops come through to impress that yes, this is an IPA.

Mouth Feel: Medium body. Drinks very smooth with just the right amount of light to medium carbonation.

Hype Factor: Somewhat high seeing as this is THE Florida IPA I was aware of when going down for my visit. I’ve had this once before on my last trip to Florida, and it impressed despite being having been drunk at the last minute and semi-cold. It did not disappoint this time around and judging by its presence at Publix (the local grocery chain) it seems pretty easy to obtain in the Florida beer market.

Overall: Very nice drinking and rather refreshing. Upper tier IPA.

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Beer Name: Hotter than Helles Lager

Brewer: Cigar City Brewing

Style: Munich Helles Lager

ABV: 5.0%

Description: Cigar City calls it their take on a thirst quenching German lager, employing sweet malts balanced by Hallertaur Mittelfruh hops.

Pour Info: Poured from a refrigerated 12 oz. can into the same Miller Lite pint glass used above. Can was dated 10/17/2014 and was consumed on 11/17/2014.

Appearance: Pours a pale yellowish amber color. A foamy white head formed, but it was quick to dissipate.

Smell: Clean and doughy. Otherwise about what you would expect from a lager/pilsner.

Taste: Light floral taste accompanies a pretty standard and crisp lager.

Mouth Feel: Light and smooth with moderate carbonation.

Hype Factor: Moderate. I wanted to branch out into some more of Cigar City’s offerings, and at first thought this might have been a pepper beer. Turns out it was something on quite the opposite end of the spectrum, but the can made that very clear, so I knew what I was getting into.

Overall: Not a bad beer, but it was by no means remarkable for me. Seemed like a fairly standard light lager/pilsner type beer that I image would make an awesome lawn mower beer or would drink great on a Florida beach mid-summer. I’m thinking that perhaps I had this one slightly out of season (indoors with the temp “only” in the low 70s) to fully appreciate it.

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Beer Name: Maduro

Brewer: Cigar City Brewing

Style: Brown Ale

ABV: 5.5%

Description: Per the info offered by Cigar City, this is their take on an English style brown ale. They added flaked oats to the malt bill in order to balance the other components of the beer and bumped up the ABV slightly higher than is typical of the style.

Pour Info: Poured from a refrigerated 12 oz. can into my friend the pint glass. Can date was 9/26/2014 and this one was also consumed on 11/17/2014.

Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown with a thin bubbly whitish/tan head that clears off pretty quickly.

Smell: Roasted malts with hints of coffee.

Taste: Much like the smell, there is light roasted malts with hints of coffee and some chocolate notes. These all blend together quite well to give the beer a nice flavor but also make it rather mild drinking.

Mouth Feel: Medium body and carbonation.

Hype Factor: Moderate. This was another Cigar City brew I was interested in trying and was quite happy to see it available on the shelf.

Overall: Brown ales can be very hit or miss for me depending largely upon how balanced the roasted malt taste is in comparison with the rest of the beer. This particular one was spot on in that the roasted taste blended in well with the rest of the flavors and was overall nicely mild. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up again when given the chance.

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This wraps up the first set of beers I’ll be looking at from my Florida trip.  I have a few more reviews in the works that I will get up shortly and perhaps even a book review or two coming up.

Cheers!

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