What you need to know: Cigar City is one of the hottest breweries in America. With double digit growth last year, the team from Tampa, Florida continues to turn out creative and complex beers. At this point in the game, creativity is subjective amongst craft brewers and somewhat of a hard characteristic to obtain. An IPA brewed with papaya, a pineapple Kolsch, and apple Saison are all fine examples of that creativity. Since opening in 2008, Cigar City has already brought home multiple awards from The Great American Brew Fest and continues to brew with a simple mantra — “To make the world’s best beer and to share with people near and far the fascinating culture and heritage of the Cigar City of Tampa.”
Location: Tampa, Florida
Available in DC Market: Limited Availability ( Churchkey , Schneider’s and several others have been known to occasionally offer limited selections. )
Beer #1: Tocobaga Red Ale (7.4 % ABV)
Beer Advocate: 92 (99 Reviews)
Rate Beer: 98 Overall, 100 Style
Notes: Named for a Native American chiefdom (don’t worry…I didn’t know that was a word either) that once lived in the Tampa Bay Area, this hoppy red ale pours amber in color with up-front notes notes of citrus, resin and caramel. A sticky overall mouthfeel complements hop bitterness and a bit of bready sweetness. This brew has a long dry finish to complement the robust up-front flavors. Also, did you know the Tocobaga were the only Florida natives to grow maize? I’m learning a lot writing this, I have to say.
Beer #2: Kalevipoeg Baltic Porter (9% ABV)
Beer Advocate: A- (10 Reviews)
Rate Beer: 97 Overall, 90 Style
Notes: No, I can’t pronounce it either. Brewed to celebrate Cigar City’s 1,000th batch, this ballsy Baltic packs a hearty 9% into a slightly sweet and roasty, chocolate-laced package. With hints of dark fruits and a mild alcohol heat, this beer is a unique representation of the Baltic style. If you drink a few and then try to say “Kalevipoeg,” you’ll probably fall over and hurt yourself. You’ve been warned.
I’m not sure it’s possible for me to give Cigar City a better endorsement. These guys are easily in my Top 10 list of American breweries and will certainly be a stand out at this year’s event. Please come back after SAVOR and tell me how right I am for once…
This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2012 SAVOR participants.
Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.