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!