Travelling leads to opportunity. Sometimes, however, that opportunity can only be slightly indulged; that, my friends, is today’s lesson. Today’s trip was from Bonita Springs to Gainesville; along the way, we decided to stop at Cigar City for a quick dose of whatever they had to offer. Like they could let us down.
Since there was more driving ahead of us, we went for a couple of the samplers. The first one was all lighter hoppy beers: Invasion Pale Ale, Itsa Pale Ale, Stine’s Hoppy Wheat, and Mosiac IPA. Of the four, Itsa Pale Ale really stood out for the combination of malt and hop flavor; the others were good, but nothing revolutionary on our palates. The Mosiac IPA was less exciting than we expected—the Nugget parentage seemed more prominent than the Simcoe, which was the inverse of most descriptions.
Our second sampler had less vision: it was a mish-mash of beers we wanted to try, and included Tony Jannus Pale Ale, White Oak Jai Alai, Neal’s Black Saison, and Kalevipoeg Baltic Porter. The White Oak Jai Alai was mainly to get some more, since it is so delicious and we have so few opportunities to drink it, while the Tony Jannus was to round out tasting all the hopy beers. I chose Neal’s Black Saison (big surprise, I know) and Elli picked Kalevipoeg Baltic Porter. The fruity yeast character and the dark malt clashed in the saison—it needed better balance and to choose a direction rather that trying to do everything. The baltic porter was good, but needed a cleaner, more lager-like finish. Still, all were enjoyable.
On the way out the door, we grabbed a couple of 750s and a growler of the Itsa Pale Ale to take with us, and headed for Gainesville. All told, we were at Cigar City for a little under an hour. While more time would have been nice, there is always next time. Plus, good times were waiting in Gainesville.