Florida isn’t a very friendly state for craft beer. Case in point: they’re one of only three in the country that outlaws 64 ounce growlers, thanks to some shady political practices from back in the day. A recent bill aimed to change the law, but crippling stipulations were added on by politicians backed by donations from big beer distributors.
The bill would have prohibited craft breweries from selling more than a small fraction of their beer themselves, even on site at their own taprooms. Instead, they’d have to sell most of their output to distributors, then buy it back at a higher price, driving most of the smaller guys out of business. Stupid, right?
Luckily, the bill didn’t pass and Florida craft breweries live to fight another day. Which is great news, since it means that Tamps-based Cigar City Brewing can keep the East Coast awash in their popular IPA, Jai Alai.
Appearance: Orange-y amber, and very hazy.
Smell: Sweet and fruity from the heavy dose of aromatic hops.
Taste: A knockout burst of juicy hop flavors like grapefruit, orange, and mango that balance out the low-ish bitterness expertly. There’s a little bit of sweet maltiness at the end, but the hops are definitely the star.
Mouthfeel: Slightly thick, with medium carbonation.
Overall: If you like fruity, drinkable IPAs, you’re gonna love this one. It’s got the style’s signature bitterness, but also packs in so much orange and tropical hop flavors that you’ll want to drink the whole thing in two minutes flat — which we don’t recommend, since it’s got a very well-hidden 7.5% ABV. There’s no harsh earthy flavor that you’d find in a lot of bland IPAs, just a juicy blend of delicious fruit notes that terrifically show just how sweet and ripe hops can taste when used well.
If that sounds good to you, plug in your zip code here to find it nearby. But before you buy, make sure to check the bottom of the can to see when it was packaged. You want to drink it as fresh as possible, ideally within a month or two from the canning date.