Brewery Snapshot: Cigar City Brewery in Tampa, Florida
I love to travel, and I love good beer. On occasion Often, these two passions collide. On a recent work trip to Tampa that appeared to be completely drab with Tropical Storm Andrea quickly approaching (read no chance for toes in the sand), I by happenstance stumbled upon Cigar City Brewing.
How I stumbled upon Cigar City Brewing
After a day of flying and client meetings I popped off at a Total Wine and More for some hotel room supplies. Wanting to find some tasty Florida craft brewery recs, I found a lady wandering the aisles with a clipboard in hand. She had to be an employee, right?
Wrong. But she was able to help… as long as it was beer I was looking for.
I asked what she recommended that was local. She told me to leave the store, drive around the corner, and visit Cigar City Brewery. Oh, and when not shopping local to remember Sierra Nevada. She worked for them.
I had read about Cigar City Brewery.
It ranks at the top, if not the number one spot, of the Florida craft brewery scene, and it was only a block away. So much for the evening jog I had planned (and no, Mrs. G. did not let me off the hook with 16oz curls). Beer flights here I come!
Now, I didn’t take a brewery tour. I didn’t tell them I wrote a blog. No insider information was provided and no free shit exchanged hands. I simply sampled two flights of beers (8 tasters total), that barely dipped into the 24 in-house craft brews available. (Note, all beers I selected are beers not available outside of Cigar City Brewery.)
As I sampled each brew I jotted down the first words that came to mind.
I think my notes provide a perfect summary of my Cigar City Brewing experience.
- Cucumber Saison (5%): Spring. Refreshment. Grass. Cucumber. Citrus.
- Wakatu Pale Wheat Ale (5%): Honey. Bitter. Sour. Juice. Muddy.
- Cervezas Frescas Series Horchata Ale (7%): Holy shit! Coconut. Robust. Sweet. Candy. This is 7%?????? Dangerously easy to drink!!!!!!
- Cuban Style Espresso Brown Ale (5%): This has coffee in it. Strong Coffee. Thin. One dimensional
- Red Oak Maibock (7%): Now that’s some wood! Splitter in my tongue wood! Candy apple.
- Cervezas Frescas Series Guanabana Ale (6%): Juice. Grass. Fruit. What kind of fruit is that? Pineapple? Guava? Can’t seem to pinpoint. Watery. Summertime. Tropics. Mmm…
- Homefront India Pale Ale aged on maple baseball bats (6%): Bitter hops. Sweet finish. Maple from bats? Unique.
- NITRO Whiskey Dry Irish Stout (5%): Watered down cheap whiskey. Flat. Cocoa.
My overall impression of Cigar City Brewing was quite high.
They are audacious in their bold flavors. The creativity and uniqueness of each brew was vibrant (Cervezas Frescas series anyone??? Oh, and let’s not forget the baseball bats!!!)
If you’re planning to visit Cigar City Brewing, I recommend making a weekend of the trip. The Tampa / St Petersburg metro area boasts over 40 breweries. Check out the latest hotel reviews of TripAdvisor!
What brewery have you stumbled onto by surprise and what was your impression?