Light the Cigar

Cigar City Brewing is the newest brewery of note that will be distributing in the Southern California market. Stone Distributing trucks will be hauling beers including Jai Alai IPA, Maduro Brown Ale, Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale and their newest year-round offering Guayabera Citra Pale Ale.

Market opening launch events will be popping up onto calendars for late February, March and April. Cigar City Brewing reps will be coming in from Florida to spread the word about their beers.

Is it the Recipe?

The same beer being produced at multiple locations was once only the purview of Big Beer. But distribution and breaking into a market is becoming harder and harder. The first due to a non-level playing field in regards to smaller distributors and the latter due to the sheer number of breweries out there.

And the way to break into a highly populated locale like California or a brewery heavy area like Portland or Denver might be extending beyond just collaborating with a brewery in either of those cities.
Cigar City Brewing and Perrin Brewing Company are both under the umbrella Corp with Oskar Blues leading to a functional way to see how to lightly broach a market. Perrin will be brewing Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City of Florida. In Michigan.

Obviously, some connection would be needed. A local L.A. brewery isn’t going to send a recipe and a brewer to Ohio, for example, and hope for the best. But as breweries form around a stable nucleus, the recipe becomes less sacrosanct and in both terms of creativity and replication.

I can imagine a time where Boulevard beers are on tap at Firestone and not because kegs drove all the way to Paso Robles from St. Louis.

How Bizarre


I know that this beer won’t be coming to shelves or taps in LA but I had to post the label up due to one thing.  Can you spot it?

If you said, “Caramelized Plantains”, then give yourself a pat on the back.  Maybe if this collaboration between 5 Rabbit and Cigar City takes off, it will start a trend that will eclipse pumpkin beer!

Even if not, this looks like a fun beer to get a taster of.

Sean Suggests for June 2014


Last month was a little light on the ABV, for June, we are cranking it up a notch.  Starting with a dry hopped beer that is not to be missed followed by a pair of collaborations on the darker side.  Enjoy!


Brasserie Dupont/ Cuvee Dry Hopping 2014 6.50% ABV

“Every year Dupont’s Master Brewer, Olivier Dedeycker, makes a special dry-hopped  version of  the brewery’s world famous Saison Dupont. For 2014, he chose the famous English hop, CHALLENGER, renowned for its balance of bittering and aromatic qualities. Importantly, they were cultivated in Belgium by the farm that supplies Olivier’s Golding hops. Using only hop flowers (no pellets, please), he added them to the late boil and dry hopped in cold maturation. ”


AleSmith with Cigar City/ Ramblin’ Rye Brown Ale 8.50% ABV

“Alesmith and Cigar City have once again partnered up for our second coast-2-coast collaborative brew, a delicious rye brown ale.

Worn out and tongue-tied from rhyming countless beer-centric names with “rye,” we knew it was finally time to quit rambling on and figured “Rye bother”…let’s brew. The result is a rich, malty Roggenbier that is riddled with notes of chocolate and biscuit that perfectly compliment the soft spiciness of the rye. Grab a pint and toast to the coasts.

This balanced and complex brew pairs best with smooth cigars and life-long friends.”


Unibroue for Trader Joe’s/ Vintage Ale 9.00% ABV

“Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those of you who appreciate flavorful, bottle-conditioned ale with character. This year’s vintage: a rich, dark and full-bodied ale with a fine and generous coffee-colored, beige foam. It’s ready to enjoy right away and you may also wish to cellar a few bottles. It will evolve interestingly well, developing more complex flavors as the years go by.”

Review: Maduro Brown ale from Cigar City


From the can from Cigar City. Love to see more cans because I feel a bit better carbon footprint wise.  Checking in on Ratebeer I see that Damn, there are a lot of different versions of this base beer. And I am just now trying it. Back to focusing on the shadowy figure on the can.  A definite milk chocolate aroma on this one. The taste has both a nice carbonated zing to it and some creaminess as well. More milk chocolate taste here. Followed by a touch of caramel. It is more on the thin side but that doesn’t stop this beer from being complex and a really nice sipping beer.


Review – Jurata from Coronado & Cigar City

jurata front

Thanks to the kindness of the people at Coronado Brewing and Coronado PR, I got to taste the second of the collaborations between San Diego and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.

Jurata is a Baltic-esque / Polish version of the mermaid.  Akin to the one gracing the Coronado labels but in much colder waters than San Diego.

Now I have had a few Cigar City collaborative beers thanks to Congregation Ale House having a special night but this is probably the best of the bunch.  I did not care for the Widmer Gentleman’s Club beers (especially at their price point) and the Tropical Tripel was a mess.

Jurata pours a dark brown with hints of black.  There is tons of lacing as the head recedes.  Smells almost like a milk stout.  Notes of sweet chocolate are first on the scene.  The taste adds a touch of smoke to the equation which tones down that milk chocolate domination and the carbonation really helps in that regard as well.  Hint of cigar in there too.  With a touch less sweetness would be rated even higher.

Later this year, I will be able to compare this against the Eagle Rock Brewing / Maltose Falcons version

jurata back

CC and CAH

Today, I will be talking craft beer events in Los Angeles in my posts.  So break out your Calendar app and start typing.

cah cc

On Thursday, the second to last day of January you can sample from a Cigar City Collab Flight Night at the Congregation Ale House in Pasadena
Being such Cigar City fanatics we had to find a way to have an event! Five beer flight includes: NNB Cigar City Ale, De Proef Tropical Tripel, Coronado Last Spike and all Widmer Collabs. CC beer starts flown’ at 7PM.

Cucumber Saison

I have heard of cucumber soda (too scared to try it) but up until I saw this Cigar City label, I did not know of anyone else popping a cuke into a beer. I am sure it will give more ammunition to the grouches who say that craft beer has jumped the shark but the correct fruit or vegetable matched with an appropriate style can work wonders and accentuate the positives of each ingredient.

Case in point, The Bruery’s Sour in the Rye with kumquats. Everything melded perfectly. And maybe the cucumber will too.

Your Help is needed…

….to pound some sense into some Florida politicians and to keep Cigar City beer flowing to the people of Florida and beyond.

Read this short bit from noted beer writer Sean Nordquist:
“Cigar City Brewing, located in Tampa, Florida, opened a tasting room last year to much success. By being able to extend their hours of operation and sell and serve beer on-premise, this local business was able to increase their employee count from 2 to 22. Serving award-winning craft beer in a comfortable and friendly environment, they have operated without incident, which few other establishments can claim. In a short time, Cigar City has achieved national (and international) recognition for their creative and consistantly excellent craft beer. In a state that has been often referred to as a “beer wasteland”, the fact that their beers are highly sought after is a testament to what owner Joey Redner and head brewer Wayne Wambles have been doing.
Now they are facing a huge problem. For reasons known only to themselves, members of the Tampa City Council have voted to not make the wet-zoning (required to allow the serving of alcohol) permanent, which would essentially force the closing of the Tasting Room. As Joey has said, this means “no more special events, no more limited release parties, no beer for sale – at all – at the Tasting Room.”
So as the citizenry, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard. Tell the Tampa City Council not to vote for killing jobs. Tell them not to vote for limiting growth. Tell them to reward success and not punish it. Tell them that local businesses are watching. And so are those that might wish to do business in Tampa in the future.”

These are the three members of Council who voted against Cigar City:
Gwen Miller
Thomas Scott
Curtis Stokes –

These are those Council members who voted for Cigar City:

Mary Mulhern –
Yvonne Yoli Capin –
Joseph Caetano –

Finally, the member who was absent. Let Charlie Miranda know you support CCB and craft beer and are counting on his yes vote on December 2nd.

Go to Save the Cigar City Tasting Room!