Collaboration beers are a big hit or miss for me. More times than not, I find myself seeking out only collaborations between bigger breweries in hopes that they will produce an amazingly intense brew. Although, that’s not always the case. I had heard several months ago that Cigar City, one of my personal favorites, and Terrapin, another favorite of mine, were joining forces to create a Double IPA; that’s about the time I started to get excited. Two of these powerhouses of hop forward and beautifully executed beers coming together to brew what was sure to be nothing short of perfection; then it was released. Review after review I read stories of people hating what they had spent good money on; saying that the beer was just awful and questioning how two great breweries could come up with something so… not great. I decided to try it for myself in hopes that everyone else was wrong, but, as I suspected, they weren’t. Here are my thoughts:
I poured this beer into a regular pint glass after I had let it chill for a whole day. The color in the glass was a lightly hazy golden orange color with a good bit of visible carbonation running along the sides of the glass. A finger width of off-white foam settled at the top of the glass and reduced to a thin layer with some splotchy circles resting on top of the beer with a small amount of lacing was collected on the glass. The smell was something that I wasn’t really expecting, because it was just straight ginger. I know on the side of the glass it read ginger and apricot, but the apricot was hidden pretty seriously because all you’re getting from this is fresh ginger. Although it’s not a terrible thing, I just wasn’t ready for that. I was hoping for a nice blend of ginger and apricot and maybe some mildly citrus notes in the background. Instead, the background had some piney, almost resin like aromas mixed with a bit of a caramel malt character that was barely noticeable; I had to make it half way through the beer before I started to pick any up. This was the beginnings of my extreme disappointment with the beer, and sadly, it didn’t stop there.
Taste was the real downfall of this one and honestly, I’ve only read a handful of reviews that were positive on the flavor. As soon as you take the first sip, you get a nice bit of caramel malts and sweetness from the grains, but then an avalanche of ginger bombards your mouth and takes over. I mean, this was so much ginger it was almost unbearable. That apricot flavor that they speak of on the side of the bottle, yeah, I didn’t get much of it if any at all. There were hints of it on the back end every now and again, but nothing too noticeable. As you finish out each sip, you start to pick up some of the pine and resin hops again and it just adds to the bad flavor from the ginger. There’s a lingering bitterness that isn’t too friendly and the finish is dry beyond belief. If the flavors of the ginger and apricot would have been blended a little better and still kept the caramel and grain notes, I would have been all over this, but the ginger was just too overpowering and made it impossible to enjoy.
Mouthfeel was one of the better aspects of the brew. Carbonation was really nice and the body was much lighter than you would expect from a Double IPA with this sort of ABV (9.05% to be exact.) There was a warming finish that I think added a bit to the dryness and the carbonation level and maybe even the ginger. Overall, this was the most redeeming quality of the beer.
This one was a miss for me, but if given the opportunity, I would probably drink it again. I don’t know, I think my dislike for it mainly stems from my dislike of fresh ginger. The flavor, to me, is just too overpowering and really blocks out any of the other flavors chances of shining through. Like I said earlier, I would love to see this beer have the flavors blended a little better, because then it would be out of sight. If you’re a fan of fresh ginger and herbal hops, this beer has the potential to be right up your alley. It can be found in four packs, which is if it’s still available because I’m a little late on this one. You can’t get it right every time and, this time, Cigar City and Terrapin may have struck out. Better luck next time, guys!

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