Cigar City Brewing//White Oak Jai Alai

Most breweries have a line of core offerings that are available to their fans all year-round, but more valuable to the craft beer drinker are the beers that are only available seasonally. These seasonal beers are usually more expensive to produce and a way for the brewer to offer something that’s a little more fun and exciting to the end consumer. Such is the case with Cigar City’s White Oak Jai Alai, a variation on their year-round Jai Alai India Pale Ale offering. This beer is only available twice during the year and when it’s released into the wild, it’s usually purchased rather quickly. Luckily, I was able to locate a four pack so I could enjoy the magic of this beer. Here are my thoughts:


First of all, the can for this beer is probably my least favorite aspect, because, well, the Jai Alai can is just not appealing to me in the first place. So, adding a wood textured look to the can in black and white really makes me hate it, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts and luckily, the stuff on the inside is incredible.


I poured this beer into a pint glass and immediately you notice the amber, orange color with a little bit of haze and about two finger widths of fluffy white foam resting on top. There’s a bit of light lacing on the glass as the beer settles. One thing that sets this beer apart to me is the fact that this beer smells very different than the original Jai Alai. There’s still a little bit of those orange and pine aromas, but with this version, you get a nice dose of vanilla in the nose. This small change is what does it for me with this beer. That little bit of vanilla ties everything together and mellows out the nose. It’s almost like sherbet or something with the orange notes from the hops and the vanilla from the oak spirals. Just incredible.


Taste is yet again another masterpiece from Cigar City. You get those great notes of orange and pine, but like the nose, you get a nice taste of vanilla that smoothes the flavor out. You get a nice taste of the oak as well and it makes this beer so easy to drink. Up front it’s all orange and pine, but as the sip continues, you start to pick up that vanilla and it carries you through the rest of the sip. I seriously love how this beer tastes.


As far as mouthfeel, you would think that with it being oak-aged that it would be heavy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This beer is soft on the tongue with the carbonation and the hop bite at the end sticks to the back of your cheeks and gives you that twinge that a good, juicy IPA should.


Overall, this beer is incredible and every time I see it, I freak out and buy it immediately. Like I said earlier, it’s a seasonal offering so you won’t be able to sip on this one all year long. Find it. Drink it. Repeat.


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