Brew Review

Beer Review – Cigar City Hopped on the High Seas

Cigar City Hopped on the High Seas

Over the past five years, I have been to the Sunshine State (aka Florida) on five occasions, and the closest I’ve come to visiting the Cigar City Brewery was their mini brewpub in the Tampa Bay airport (sadly, there was no time to partake of their offerings). Thanks to my very positive experiences with their Jai Alai and Maduro Brown beers, I am ALWAYS looking for something new to try from this brewery. I’m currently on the hunt for Florida Cracker, but as of this writing, I haven’t been able to secure a can in Philadelphia. That being said, during a recent lunch time beer run to The Foodery, I saw something new in the refrigerator case from Cigar City that I’d never heard of , i.e. the can of Hopped on the High Seas that you see in the above photo, so I just had to pick one up for an eventual review.

Here’s the somewhat complicated story behind this beer taken directly from the Cigar City 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.

Cue the Salsa music because it’s time to get to my impressions of this beer…

  • Appearance: Lightly cloudy pale amber color with a thick off white head that rises to about an inch. The foam dissipates slowly and leaves a good bit of lacing behind.
  • Aroma: Tropical indeed! I can almost hear Tito Puente and his band in the background as the mango, pineapple, and citrus aromas tickle my olfactory. All I need now is a beach or pool side hammock, a palm tree, and a girl named Maria to keep filling my glass!
  • Taste: Lightly carbonated with a medium mouthfeel. Starts off with a subtle honey sweetness and transitions quickly to a soothing hop bitterness. From start to finish there’s a subtle sweetness in the background that keeps the hops from dominating the palate. The finish is somewhat dry with a lingering bitter aftertaste.
  • ABV: 7%

Hopped on the High Seas is definitely a tasty IPA. Well balanced and oh so drinkable, this is a beer that I would love to try on tap. The only question is, how does it stand up against their Jai Alai which is much more readily available in these parts? Perhaps yet another side by side tasting is in order!

15 replies »

  1. I just saw Florida Cracker at Beer Heaven on Columbus last week. They’ve had it every time I’ve been there the past few months, so if you get a chance check them out.

    The Hopped on the High Seas series is fantastic, I grab every variation I come across. Can’t go wrong with them. Cheers!


  2. I had one of the Hopped on the High Seas. I can’t remember which one. It was during this year’s Beer Madness, which ended up a bit of a blur for me. I can vouch for Florida Cracker, and I’m fairly suspicious of American wheat beers, in general.


  3. So I’m driving to the office today in a panic. You see, I was coerced under threat of general threat of immolation (which I’ve grown do dislike) into watching last night’s finale of American Idol. Full bore, Clockwork Orange toothpicks propping open the eyelids and all (filed end, plastic thank God). Confused at first at the lack of Moai or cylindrical carved wooden statues normally associated with idolatry, I assumed I was being forced to watch the wrong show. Soon enough, I saw J-Lo sitting on a piano being played by some scruffy guy and Nicole Kidman’s husband strumming a Les Paul beside her. Then there was some dude with huge funky glasses was playing bass. OK – still no idols to be seen but whatever.

    Uh… right – the panic…. OK, so the camera zoomed in on J-Lo’s thorax region (for those of you who prefer ant-specific references) and I’m pretty sure I saw a tiny sliver of nipple. No Waxing gibbous by any means but surely enough to spark a social media uproar. Anyway, I was bracing to observe just such an uproar as I drove to work and eventually fired up the Matrix Umbilicus….

    And then this! What?! No Bible Belt pandering prosthletizing (I misspelled that intentionally) outcry using the J-Lo nipple sliver as proof positive of society’s irreversible downward spiral into the Hellish pit of vacuous moral despair? Was the absence of hyperbolic commentary an indication that we, as Americans, may be inching closer towards European sensibilities regarding the public display of nipples? Perhaps. Or perhaps I was the only one who saw it. Who knows, what with those toothpicks propping open my eyelids a fleck of dust could have landed at just the right spot to create one of those nipple sliver phantoms. Kind of like those Virgin Mary on a Baked Tostitos sightings but hotter.

    Anyway, once I got over the shock of a lack of public outcry I noticed Edward Scissorhands on a craft beer can…I mean, Hopped on the High Seas (Caribbean…pirates… Johnny Depp…Edward Scissorhands – as if I had to explain that). Just so happens I had that on tap at The Beer Authority in NY a few weeks ago. Very nice IPA. Clean and balanced but with a pleasantly sweet, light mango syrupy middle and a modestly dry finish. More complex than Jai Alai (and without the threat of being smacked around by an irate Basque Separatist with a fraying wicket).

    As for Florida Cracker, I had one of those in country (Captiva Island) two summers ago. Probably the best domestic wheat I’ve had. Exceptionally crisp and flavorful. I don’t love the style but I liked that beer enough to have a few in the chilled research and fluid replenishment locker this season if I could find them here.

    I could go on – but just because you’re afraid I will, I won’t




    • J-LO nipp-slippage? That HAS to be more interesting than G-LO nipp-slippage. Sorry I missed it.

      Re: Florida Cracker, apparently, it’s made its way to Philly. Just need to secure a can or two! Stay tuned…


      • I think your replies are only encouraging him. At least, he provided a slight decoder to get to the Scissorhands tangent. Sounds like a great beer. It’s a shame they only had one can when you went to the Foodery. Or maybe, you only had one free hand to carry a single can.


        • It’s fun to poke the bear. And like you said, at least he gave us a clue this time around with the decoder.

          This was a tasty beer fo’sho! I’ll take a walk to Le Fooderié on Tuesday to see if they have any left. Me thinks you’ll like it.


  4. Sounds yummy! I have yet to try many beers from them because I have not seen them out in CO (I feel I have tried one before). However, my mom went to their brewery and said the beers were very delicious. I am going to try and visit when I am in Tampa this summer.


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