After burying Cigar City for their Cedar Aged Jai ALai India Pale Ale, I come to praise them for their Jai Alai India Pale Ale aged on White Oak. This beer is fantastic. It pours a nice cloudy orange, with some vanilla, mild hops and oak in the aroma, all balanced by some malty sweetness in the taste. This is not a ‘hop bomb’ IPA. The hops are too subtle for that, but for all of their subtlety, they are quite complex, with some pineapple, mango and even coconut notes. The mouthfeel is initially quite creamy but finishes on the dry side, similar to a saison. This tasty and interesting IPA restores my faith not only in Cigar City, but in all of humanity. As lousy as the Cedar Aged Jai Alai was, and it was damn lousy, the White Oak Aged Jai Alai is damn fine, 8/10.
The Review I’d Write If I Really Loved This Beer: Florida’s Cigar City is at the top of their game here. They have taken their already excellent Jai Alai IPA and have added a dimension of flavor by aging it in cedar barrels as opposed to the traditional oak barrels. The cedar aging adds an earthiness to this beer that amplifies and accentuates the subtle hop and malt notes. Outstanding beer, fifteen out of a possible ten points!
The Review I’d Write If I Really Hated This Beer: Ugh! Shit! What the fuck is that taste? Cedar? CEDAR!?!? Who the hell puts CEDAR in beer? Jesus Christ, cedar is good for lining humidors and gerbil cages, and this tastes like cedar infused gerbil piss! What? I have to give this gerbil piss a score? Are negative numbers possible? Why the hell not? Who makes the fucking rules around here? Fine, zero out of ten, and that is generous. Now get this shit out of here!
My Actual Review: I certainly did not love this beer, and while I did not hate it as much as Review #2, my actual review is closer to the ‘Hate’ review than the ‘Love’ review. The cedar aging, which at first seems like an interesting twist for an IPA, starts to taste weird by the fourth or fifth sip, and by the time you reach the bottom of the bottle it is overwhelming and unpleasant. This is probably one to share with friends, as it might be better in small doses. There are hints of a good beer here, with some nice hops aroma, a velvety head, and a nice mouth feel, but the cedar just kills it. Cigar City makes some very fine beers, but this is not one of them, 3/10.