They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor

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Cigar City Humidor Series India Pale Ale


ABV: 7.5%
Origin: Tampa, Florida, USA
Website: www.cigarcitybrewing.com

Humidor Series

As the crowds poured into the Colorado Convention Centre on the opening night of the Great American Beer Festival, the queues soon began to form at some predictable locations, such as Lost Abbey and Russian River. But I also noted a long line for Cigar City, a brewery from Tampa, Florida, that I’d not encountered before, who were presenting their beers on an intriguing display of real tobacco leaves. The next day I discovered the reason for the interest, when 750ml bottles of this extraordinary IPA  turned up as a match to the main course at the Brewers’ Association media lunch.

Brewer Wayne Wambles introduced the beer by explaining that, as well as bringing top quality brewing to what had previously been thought of as a craft beer desert, founder Joey Redner also aimed to celebrate Tampa’s unique culture and history as a gateway to Cuba and a major centre of the cigar trade. Thus the beer names and the propensity for ageing in wood also used to make cigar boxes.

This bottle conditioned and slightly hazy light amber ale, which pours with a thick and creamy pinkish-white head, is based on the brewery’s Jai Alai . The beer is aged on Spanish cedar, a wood that is neither Spanish nor cedar but a member of the mahogany family native to the tropical and sub-tropical Americas, more correctly called cedrela. Still, it has a definite cedary note that contributes to a very pronounced, unusual and distinctive aroma — spicy and leafy with figs, herbs, dried grapefruit peel and a paraffin and furniture polish note that reminded me of a well-used garden shed.

A beautiful malty palate is also very complex with more dried herbal flavours, seed and orange peel notes and rich wafts from a well-stocked wooden spice cupboard. A lightly marmaladey and nutty malty finish is mature and balanced, with developing but not overstated pepper and grapefruit hop notes. As expected for an American IPA, the hopping is assertive, but wonderfully offset and mellowed by intriguing nutty and woody flavours. The beers was a gorgeously indulgent sensual pleasure to drink, and one of the best I’ve tasted in a long time.

Only established in March 2009, the brewery has almost quadrupled its production, based on a philosophy of constantly pushing boundaries. “Beer is food,” said Wayne, “not a replacement for food”, quite an intriguing observation to make at a beer lunch. He went on to comment that the day he gave up experimenting should be the day he gave up brewing. Let’s hope it’s a long time coming.

Read more about this brewery’s beer at ratebeer.com: http://www.ratebeer.com/brewers/cigar-city-brewing/9990/

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