Friday, February 17, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXXXV)

A special vacation edition of the Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the laid back folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you find the whiskey, wine, and beer you need to relax and rest in style.

After having spent the past ten days in Miami, I’m happy to report that the ability to procure craft beers in the area has improved dramatically. It used to be difficult to find anything but easy drinking lagers and pilsners around these parts. Imported beers from Europe and Latin American took up most of the space on store shelves and the limited selection of regional beers were almost always bland and inoffensive. You could get some beers that weren’t available in Minnesota such as Yuengling Traditional Lager (from Pennsylvania), but that hardly satisfied the craft craving. Yuengling is a decent choice if nothing else is available, yet it reminds me of Grain Belt in being just a notch above the macro brews.

Things are much better these days. A visit to a local liquor warehouse offered a treasure trove of craft beers, many that are not available in Minnesota. This included various brewers from up and down the East Coast including but not limited to:

Cisco (Massachusetts)
Dogfish Head (Delaware)
Harpoon (Massachusetts)
Heavy Seas (Maryland)
Red Brick (Georgia)
Sea Dog (Maine)
Smuttynose (New Hampshire)
Stoudt’s (Pennsylvania)
Terrapin (Georgia)

There are also more Florida-brewed offerings available than in the past including tasty beers from Holy Mackerel, Inlet, and Cigar City. The latter brewer is located in Tampa Bay and has an interesting back story:

Cigar City Brewing was founded with two goals in mind. The first to make the world's best beer and the second to share with people near and far the fascinating culture and heritage of the Cigar City of Tampa.

From its past as the world's largest cigar producer to its Latin roots and the many other diverse peoples that call it home, Tampa draws on many sources to develop its unique culture.

At CCB we are fascinated by Tampa's history and suspect you will be too.

Even though this beer is not currently available in Minnesota, our special edition beer of the week is Maduro Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing:

Maduro is a Northern English-style brown ale with some American affectations. Maduro is higher in alcohol than the common English brown ale and features flaked oats in the malt bill which imparts a silky body and works to mesh the roasted, toasted and chocolate components together in Maduro's complex malt profile. The end result is a remarkably full-flavored yet approachable and sessionable brown ale that pairs well with mild to medium cigars.

12oz brown bottle. Label has various shades of brown and a design that very much looks like a cigar label.

STYLE: Brown Ale


COLOR (0-2): Ruby brown. 2

AROMA (0-2): Sweet toasty malts with a hint of smoke. 2

HEAD (0-2): Off-white with good volume and lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Rich malty flavors up front with a clean bitter finish. Like the smell, it features flavors of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and smoke. Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body. Decently drinkable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Roasted, smoky flavor lingers pleasantly. 2

OVERALL (0-6): I’m not much of a cigar guy, but if I were I definitely could see this beer pairing nicely with a quality stogie. The flavors are rich, elegant, and complex. Yet the beer isn’t overly heavy and proves refreshing and quaffable. It went down well on temperate Miami nights and I think it would work equally well in less tropical Minnesota. If you get down to the Sunshine State (spring training starts soon) be sure to get your mitts on a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale. You won’t be disappointed. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16