It's probably easier said after a few
A Review of Jai Alai IPA by Cigar City Brewing
Posted on 8/8/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
Since it has been so flipping hot here in the south, I have been stepping away from my preferred stouts lately, and venturing deeper and deeper into the world of the IPA . When you enter into this often bitter and bold realm, you can rest assured that you will be experiencing two certainties. The first is that you are going to find some really terrible offerings out there. The second is that you will find a few well done examples of what a quality IPA should be. Luckily for us, the Cigar City Jai Alai IPA falls into the second certainty category.

When you pour it into the glass, I would highly recommend taking an extra moment to observe this one. If no one told you, you would swear that you were looking at an Imperial IPA. The color eventually ends up being a burnt orange in the glass. Now why do I use the word ''eventually''? Take a close look at the helpful picture. That's not the light playing tricks on you. If you notice, there looks to be a burnt orange layer settling into the golden brown layer on the bottom. If you haven't put two and two together yet, that means we have an unfiltered one here kids. And that fluffy white head sitting on top? Get used to it. It'll be with you til the delicious end. The first aromas that you pick up on are some very big citrus hops. Grapefruit to be sure, and even some orange zest peeks through. Then surprisingly, they step aside and let some really nice floral hops notes come through. It's a very nice transition to experience. And just when you think you've got it all figured out, a sweet, malty caramel smell hits you that was completely unexpected considering the big hops profile on the front end.

Going in for that first sip, it's hard not to brace yourself for an all out oral assault. From everything your eyes have seen, and nose has smelled, it's just a natural assumption. But a funny thing happens when you tilt the glass upwards. You are treated to a big mouthful of balanced goodness. The flavor train follows right in line with the nose of the beer. The citrus hops are what greet you first, though I also picked up on a bit of pineapple in there as well. There is a bit of a bitter bite that takes some getting used to, but it is counteracted quite well by a sweet caramel tail end. A medium amount of carbonation ends up having to work hard, but does its job well in moving this otherwise big feeling beer along. Just the slightest hint of a sticky feeling is left behind, and you end up with an overall satisfied mouthfeel.

Cigar City has been building a good reputation for some great brews, and the Jai Alai IPA should only add to that reputation. It is a really well done IPA. That being said, I think beer drinkers from any camp could find some enjoyment from it. It's not overly aggressive, so the beginners are safe. It's a great study in layering and balance, while at the same time offering up some great flavors. The more experienced drinkers can just settle in with this one and enjoy it for being a good, quality IPA. It has pretty much everything you look for in a highly drinkable IPA, with none of the usual drawbacks. So if you're lucky enough to come across this one somewhere, just cut to the chase and drink it. You won't be sorry.

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Jai Alai IPA by Cigar City Brewing
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