cigar city brewery is putting together some really fantastic & widely acclaimed brews as of late. hop heads seem to really love the jai alai IPA & CCB is starting to gain a lot of nationwide buzz as one of the premier microbreweries in the US.
now if you’re a reader of FYBW, you know my palette tends to lean towards the sweeter end of ales as opposed to the bitter. i like a little hoppy funkiness in my belgians (like your st. feiulliun’s biere d’amite brewed in conjunction with san diego’s green flash).
in my mind, hoppiness doesn’t always lead to a satisfying drinking experience, particularly as we roll into the hotter summer months. honestly, my first thought after having a hot day in the yard isn’t, “god damn, get me a bitter IPA!”
truthfully, i’ve felt a little left out in the heat with most of cigar city’s brews, which is a shame because they’re my local brewery.
so imagine my surprise when i stumbled across a hoppy CCB beer which i’d drink at the drop of a hat.
cigar city’s limited run tropical heatwave wheat ale is a seasonal brew that coincides with WMNF community radio’s annual ‘Tropical Heatwave Music Fest’ which takes place in the streets of ybor city in may. the line up of tropical heatwave is stylistically varied, from indie, world, soul, jazz and r&b, the line ups are as eclectic as WMNF’s playlists. you may not like one band, but there are plenty of others on the lineup that make for an overall great experience.
with the caveat that many of CCB’s brews are not my tastes, i should append it by saying that one of my hot faves presently is CCB’s Florida Cracker wheat. now in wide distribution, it’s got a nice, light golden color with a clear body, a hint of sweetness with a nice spicy coriander presence that seems to dance around your tastebuds with with every sip. an easy drinking, fully satisfying flavorful wheat beer that works well sitting in a biergarden on a summer afternoon.
tropical heatwave builds on the idea of this fantastic wheat ale base, and then add a little something that frankly i didn’t expect to like in the mix-hops. kohatu hops from new zealand, to be exact.
i wasn’t excited, but the proprietor of my local beer store said it was right up my alley.
when poured into a pint, you can see the cloudiness & minimal head & lacing in the glass-it frankly looks just like florida cracker, just cloudier. a little piney scent is present upon first sniff as I put my mouth to the pint.
as it hit my palette, a similar spicy presence in florida cracker laced my taste buds, and then it hit-pineapple, with just the slightest undertone of sour pine on the finish.
seriously? pineapple? pine? this shouldn’t work.
but it does. yeah-it was fantastic and totally unexpected how all the disparate flavors, tastes that i traditionally don’t like, work in concert together, not unlike the festival upon whose namesake it shares. it’s got a little bit for all, and at 5.2% ABV, it’s not too boozy for a few in the late afternoon.
since it’s a limited seasonal, make sure you pick up enough four packs to stockpile through the summer. you will not regret it.