Feb 24, 2017

Cigar City Jai Alai Aged on White Oak

Cigar City’s Jai Alai is pretty much a year-round staple in the Barley Blog HQ refrigerator. It’s a flavorful beer that is readily accessible and, well, it’s just damn good. But like many breweries, Cigar City saw fit to playing around with variations on the popular IPA — many variations across the craft world work with an equal measure falling flat. This can of Jai Alai Aged on White Oak (courtesy one of my coworkers) sort of falls in the middle of that spectrum.

I’m all for sampling and having fun with variations on a beer. It’s a great way for a company to experiment and keep things interesting, but sometimes it’s just best to leave things well enough alone — and that’s the case with this particular beer. I’m not sure if it’s the type of wood employed or the combination of flavors, but I’m just not a fan of how this one crosses my palate. Jai Alai Aged on White Oak is still a pretty good beer with plenty of hoppy goodness, fruit and welcome bitterness. The oak here, however, is more of a distracting character than a complimentary one, taking attention away from what I personally want in this particular IPA.

There was palpable excitement when this can first crossed my path and, as a fan of the base Jai Alai, I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, the flavor profile just didn’t suit my own personal preferences. Perhaps I really just mentally wanted the standard flavors though I do like a good wood-aged IPA. Regardless of my own thoughts, I do know there is enough of a market and fanbase for the company to keep producing this interesting variation — I’ll just still with their flagship offering instead.