Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We beer fiends live for the thrill of the hunt, and for the fulfillment of that hunt with treasures that we know are once in a lifetime. You may know of Tampa, FL’s CIGAR CITY BREWING; I certainly do, mostly be reputation. This is a brewer who started out making beers on the proverbial edge of brewing experimentation, and delivered a marketing strategy based on barrel aging and scarcity. Their “Humidor Series” has made many a beer pilgrim weep with unbridled joy. Me, I’ve tried two of their beers so far, both in New York or thanks to the kindness of New Yorkers – JAI ALAI IPA and IMPROVISACION. Both big and beautiful, and both scoring a 7.5 on the HJ scale.

This one also came to me in a trade with MCM, a New York denizen who has supplied me with some of my best east coast discoveries to date. It’s called 110K + OT, BATCH #3 – and according to Beer Advocate, it’s supposed to be a West Coast-style IPA. No friggin’ way. Sure, take a look at my photo – it looks like one: still, silent, thin-headed and a little deadly. And oh yes, it’s very hoppy. But this deep copper brown ale trends far more heavily into the oaked-up, sweet caramel realm – no, make that salty caramels, cooked for hours in a vat full of delicious booze. Yum. It’s a total tongue coater, leaving your taste buds covered in a thick, hearty oak syrup. True genius, made in a small batch one time – and never again. Beers like this is why I’ve turned beer consumption into my most dorkified hobby. 8.5/10.