Review Date 4/6/2014
Well folks, here it is! My first full-fledged Cigar City beer, Cigar City Hopped on the High Seas Caribbean-Style IPA. That name is as much a mouthful as a big fat stogie, and I’m not even done yet: my can says “dry-hopped with hop # 529” as well. I’m not so sure what a “Caribbean-Style IPA” is, but I have a feeling I’m about to find out.
Anyway, I’ve seen Cigar City beers in Georgia a few times in the past, but they were running around $14 a six-pack-so I passed on them. Recently, they’ve started showing up in cans for $10.99 a six-pack. Still high, I think, but at least a bit more reasonable. I did try their collaboration beer with New Belgium, Cigar City + New Belgium Lips of Faith Ale Brewed with Anaheim and Marash Chilies. I was underwhelmed. Not that it was a bad beer, I was just expecting more from it.
So, when I walked into Bullocks Liquors in Woodstock the other day, and they had one last six-pack of Cigar City Hopped on the High Seas Caribbean-Style IPA on the shelf, I figured that I’d better grab it. Apparently, Cigar City has done this beer before with different hops:
•Batch #1: Simcoe
•Batch #2: Ahtanum
•Batch #3: Citra
•Batch #4: Experimental Hop #529
•Batch #5: Kohatu
•Batch #6: Calypso
More on the beer, also from their website:
This 60 IBU Caribbean-style IPA was brewed at the Cervezas del Sur Brewery in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The mango tree-lined streets of Ponce put us in a tropical mood and Hopped on the High Seas is the result of that Caribbean feeling. High Seas is a 7% ABV IPA dry-hopped exclusively with one variety of hop; 165 lbs of them in fact! And since we wanted to put this beer in our favorite container, the 12 oz can, a sea journey was required to get the beer back to Tampa for canning. We took the opportunity to add the dry-hops to the refrigerated shipping container prior to racking. Which means this beer truly was Hopped on the High Seas. As the beer made its way home, the gentle motion of the ocean worked to infuse the luscious aromatics of the hops. The result is big tropical aromas and flavors, light balancing malt backbone and a clean bitter finish.
What’s up with the tropical fruits from hops these days? Everybody is talking about tropical fruits. That said, I did get them here, in a passion fruit sort of way. My can says “Drink Fresh! Do Not Age!”. I looked for the “Danger Will Robinson!” bit, but couldn’t find that. My can isn’t that old, having been packaged on 1/30/14 according to the stamp on the bottom of the can.
Cigar City Hopped on the High Seas Caribbean-Style IPA dry hopped with hop #529 pours to a bright orange color with a thick creamy head formation and an herbal, slightly citrusy lemon nose. Taking a sip I get some chewy caramel up front followed by a very aromatic herbal hop character with hints of passion fruit and a minty grassy buzz in the finish. The beer leaves a long dry bitter bite on the tongue for some time. I really love the bitterness here, and the citrus, passion fruit and mint. Then too, the caramel maltiness works very nicely with the hops, especially in a day when all too many IPAs are becoming thinner and thinner in body.
This beer was very good, my friends. I think all the hype around Cigar City is a bit inflated. They do brew some very nice beers, but heck, lots of breweries do these days. I will say though I am impressed with the dry hopping at sea on a container ship bit. Pete Brown would be proud.
I’ll be on the lookout for this one, brewed with the other hop varieties. Even if they did make up that bit about Caribbean IPAs, and I'm still not sure what Hop 529 is. I do know I like it, though.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.