American Craft Beer Week is finally over, and this past weekend had no shortage of events to draw you into the spirit of craft beer.
On Saturday night, to celebrate one of the biggest names in Florida beer, Cigar City, the Coffee District in Delray Beach offered up its taps to the Tampa based brew house. Beer lovers from all over flocked in, and many made it the after party for the Delray Beach Old School Beerfest earlier that night.
So, how did it go?
The brewery brought in quite a number of unique brews to the party, including a few of the Torcedores series, which has allowed individual Cigar City staff members to develop and produce their own beers.
As they've said on Facebook, "We decided to let each of the brewers do their own thing without going through the usually tyrannical Wayne. We call it: The Torcedores Series. A torcedor is a cigar roller! We figured the tie-in was perfect. We plan to have many beers available in this series coming up!"
If the CCB offerings weren't your thing, there were also offerings from other commercial breweries, including Tampa Bay Brew Bus Rollin' Dirty Red, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Dogfish Head Positive Contact, Due South One Across the Bow, and B.Nektar Zombie Killer to keep your palate interested.
An hour or so into the event, Phil from Cigar City hosted a raffle, with everyone who ordered a CCB beer receiving an entry. Some great CCB swag was given away, including a coveted work shirt, glasses, and a pink hat.
To the beers! We grabbed our glasses and primed our livers to see how some of these offerings stacked up.
- Oatmeal Raison Cookie Brown Ale
Deep reddish-brown color, almost no head. Notes of cinnamon, vanilla and oatmeal on the aroma. It smells exactly how you'd expect an oatmeal raisin cookie themed beer to. Very mild carbonation, light body, slight raisin taste, but mostly a traditional brown ale feel with a small spice aftertaste.
- Nick Streeter's Scottish 60 Shilling
Great red scotch ale color, a teensie-weensie aroma of caramel. Drinks easily with only a mild lingering toasted bread taste. Otherwise, this beer just kind of exists.
- Jade Saison
Cloudy and dark yellow with a fluffy head. Lemon, pepper, and perfume come off the aroma, though not in a bad way. Taste is definitely floral, slightly yeasty, and lemon zesty. Refreshing, and almost close to being a witbier. No farmhouse funk or other potentially-interesting saison-like flavors are very noticeable.
- Caramel Graham Cracker Brown Ale
Another brown ale experiment, this one was dark brown in color, with cinnamon, honey, and biscuit on the nose; surprise, it smells like a graham cracker! The body was light, and had cinnamon again, but there was a bit of liquorice flavor that was both off putting and seemingly out of place. Slightly bitter on the finish, similar to a Maduro.
Overall, the beers felt a little underwhelming considering CCB's stock core offering are so well put together. Could it be because these are newer recipes that haven't had the chance to be perfected? Or is it now my own expectations are getting in the way psychologically? Now, they were not bad or undrinkable in any way, oh no. There was just that 'wow' factor that didn't pop. Beyond that mild criticism, though, lies a continuation of beer experimentation from Cigar City, and that, definitely, is a very very good thing.
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