This week I am returning to my collection of Cigar City beers (Tampa, Florida) which I purchased online and wanted to review while they are fresh. Last week I reviewed the Maduro Brown Ale and based on the hype of this brewery I was not completely thrilled. I am excited to see what I have in the White Oak Aged Jai Alai India Pale Ale. I quite enjoyed the regular Jai Alai IPA (sorry no review on that one), so I am definitely curious to taste this oak aged version.
As a somewhat educational note, the term Jai Alai refers to what was known as the “Merry Game” or “World’s Fastest Game” which was once very popular in the Tampa area. This sport of Spanish origination is a mix of lacrosse and racquetball/squash (well, that is how I would describe it). Four players are on an indoor court about the size of basketball court with a wall at the end and sling a ball back and forth at very high speeds against a wall with a basket type sling (think lacrosse but shorter and deeper).
Now back to business with a quick look the specs on this beer. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV and 70 IBU, White Oak Aged Jai Alai is part of the Cigar City’s year round selection. My serving will be from a 12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.
The appearance is a cloudy copper with a thin layer of head which sticks around for a couple of minutes.
Aromas are dominated by oak with a sprinkling of pine, vanilla, and raw sugar.
Tastes I pick up are the expected oak followed by vanilla, citrus, pine, and some bitterness followed up with more of the oak.
Mouth feel is very smooth with a medium body and a satisfying amount of carbonation. Very nice.
Overall, this is an outstanding beer which reminds me of a hopped up version of Innis & Gunn Original. The oak aromas and flavors are strong, but it is needed to keep up with the hops. Aromas are very enticing and complex. The mouth feel is so smooth and with perfect carbonation. I will rate the Jai Alai White Oak 4.5 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.
This beer shows me why Cigar City has received such praise and I feel that this particular beer will appeal to most beer drinkers. Additionally I see this as one of those beers with the potential to convert white wine lovers with the oak/chardonnay type flavors giving them something familiar while introducing to hops. I believe I may have mentioned this with Innis & Gunn too.