I rarely come across a beer that makes me stop and be thankful for my life. It’s even more uncommon for me to come across a brewery that does the same. I have yet to find another company like Cigar City; a company who consistently makes quality beer with a standard for excellence that I can really get behind. I’ve written on the Maduro, a magnificent Brown Ale, and the Florida Cracker, a par-for-the-course Belgian White Ale, although I don’t enjoy the style. Now I’m finally getting the opportunity to write on my one of my favorite beers EVER.
The Jai Alai is easily my favorite beer in the U.S. and if I don’t have your attention by now, you might not enjoy the rest of this entry. Some of you may say “Brett, is it really that good? It seems like you’re making a fuss over something that is so minuscule in the grand scheme of things.” False, this is about much more than just a beer. This is about people taking pride in their product and making it something that people like myself can get overwhelmingly excited about. This is about creating something that can inspire cult followings, influence opinions, and open the minds of people who don’t realize that they could enjoy an IPA.
The Jai Alai is consistently rated at the top on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer with scores usually landing in the high 90s, and rightfully so. A lot of people don’t place a lot of stock into these reviews by Regular Joes, but the common folk are the people who are buying the beer, so if you can satisfy them, you’re doing your job right.
Upon pouring, the beer showcases its beautiful, hazy copper coloring with about two fingers’ width of an off-white, foamy head. The head descends slowly and leaves a good bit of lacing around the glass, even more so as you drink your way through. The aroma is really strong in the way of tropical citrus: a super fresh aroma of grapefruit, orange, and lemon. The hop character is not as noticeable, but still detectable in the way of Citra and the other usual suspects. One thing that you don’t get that is somewhat common in some IPAs is that grassy or earthy hop character. Overall, the nose of the beer really makes me think of Florida. Good job, Sunshine State.
Flavor is where this one really shines. With the taste almost mirroring the scent, you are basically punched in the mouth with citrus flavors and a well-balanced ratio of hop and malt. Up front, you get some standard bitterness with an instant creamy character from the perfectly dialed carbonation. As you continue, you begin to pick up those great citrus flavors; there’s a juicy quality to the flavors that really drive home the taste of fresh fruit and make it easy to drink. The malt character smoothes the entire flavor profile out and makes it something that you can’t wait to take another sip of. As it finishes, you continue to get that fruit juice quality along with a nice hop aftertaste that doesn’t really show up until the end. The flavors of this beer are, in my opinion, perfectly molded to make this the end all be all of citrus forward IPA beers. Seriously, this is what legends are made of.
Mouthfeel is the next best part of this beer. The carbonation lends itself to enhancing the already amazing flavors of the beer. The beer is able to rest on your tongue without the carbonation affecting how you take in the flavors as it sets on your tongue. Overall, if I could only drink one more beer for the rest of my days, it would be this one. Everything is so perfectly executed and crafted to be exactly what it’s supposed to be. There’s no fluff. There’s just a great beer made by people who took the time to really have something to be proud of. With Cigar City beginning to distribute through the state of Alabama, there is no reason that everyone that considers themself a beer lover shouldn’t try this one. So, my parting words are these: find it, drink it, and repeat.

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