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My vacation is officially over and I have left sunny Florida behind.  Although the area we were visiting isn’t exactly a beer mecca, I did manage to find a few noteworthy brews despite not having a lot of time to go seeking them out.  One of my favorite spots near our destination is a little shop called Maggie’s Attic in Mount Dora and I highly recommend checking this place out if you’re in the area.  I’m by no means a regular, but they’ve definitely treated me right the few times I’ve gone.

Beer Name: White Oak Jai Alai

Brewery: Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL)

Style: Oak Aged IPA

ABV: 7.5%

Description: A variant of the brewery’s populate Jai Alai IPA brewed with white oak spirals said to impart notes of vanilla, coconut, and (just a touch of) dill.  Enjoyed on draft.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy light amber body topped off by a foamy almost off-white head.

Smell: Juicy citrus notes accompanied by vanilla and a slight piney bitterness.

Taste: It started out with citrus sweetness mixed with subdued piney hops and a mix of light cracker and caramel malts.  Shortly after these initial tastes a light yet distinct vanilla and coconut presence came over the beer.  On the finish a bit of oak came through as well while the vanilla and opening flavors slowly blended together.  Full disclosure: I couldn’t quite pin down the coconut on my own until I read up on the beer that night and had a major AH-HA! moment.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium body with a little less than moderate level of carbonation.

Hype: I don’t know how the locals feel about it, but this was a beer that I have heard some buzz about over the years and was excited to have a chance to try it out.

Overall: I liked this a lot and found it to be a really interesting take on an IPA.  The oak and vanilla notes added by the aging process really set this apart as something unique.  I am certainly glad I got a chance to try this.