Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cigar City Brewing

Firkin Around...Tampa, Florida.
Beer is brewing right in our backyard of South Florida.  Right smack in the middle of Tampa.  Cigar City Brewing takes its name after the nickname of Tampa.  It's from a time and place when cigar manufacturing was the mainstay of Tampa.  Ybor City, the city within the city of Tampa, was the heart and soul of the cigar manufacturing trade until 1959 when Fidel Castro ascended power and trade ceased between Cuba and the United States.  Cigar making had flourished in Tampa until then, but has never been quite the same since.

It's all about the beer...and the hardware.

Cigar City's many awards
With all that rich cigar heritage, it was simple to see how the name of this young and fledgling brewery came about. And, they might be a new kid on the beer block, but they have already made a name for themselves by snagging numerous awards for beer making in the state of Florida.
Tap room seating

They even have a 2009 GABF gold medal in the Wood and Barrel Aged Beer category for their Humidor Series IPA.  No small feat in that they beat out 32 other entries in the category.  If that doesn't impress, couple it with the fact it was their first GABF entry!  Looks like the new kid has already garnered some street cred.

Growing a new tradition...Beer City?

Many new breweries have been popping up in Tampa and the surrounding area.  With Cigar City's early success and tasty brews, will it be long before Tampa gets a new nickname?  I don't know if that will happen but one thing's for sure, cigars and beer can coexist in harmony, especially here in the Bay Area.

Cooling down in Tampa town.

We started our day in the "Tasting Room" with a flight of four:
  • 110K+OT Batch #3 - a piney sweet, one off original Double IPA batch.  The 110 is the # of IBU's hops punch you taste
  • Vanilla Maduro - a luxurious brown oatmeal ale with sweet hits of vanilla that goes down oh so easy and smooth
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookie - raisin, brown sugar and oatmeal will remind you that "C is for Cookie" but don't forget, "B is for Beer"
  • Cubano Expresso - with your eyes closed, you won't be able to tell this ale from a freshly opened can of Bustelo, Pilon or La LLave

We also cooled down on this 94 degree scorcher of a day with a pint of the award winning Humidor Series IPA.  They have double and half growlers of anything on tap for sale.  We took home a half-growler of the Humidor IPA, grinning with delight all the way out the door.  This place is so accessible to the greater Tampa Bay area, it would be a shame if you didn't stop by when in town.  So support your local brewer and Hav-A-Tampa made beer!

Firkin Local Brewery!

Cigar City Brewing Company
3924 West Spruce Street
Tampa, FL  33607
813.348.6363 ext 206

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Friday, July 16, 2010

First Time Home Brewing - Enjoying (Part 4 of 4)

Firkin Around...The Kitchen.

It's finally beer!

And it was good. Very satisfying for a first effort. Looked smelled and tasted like a lager.

One or two more of these batches and then on to all grain experiments. Cheers!

Firkin Making The Beer!

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Time Home Brewing - Sampling (Part 3 of 4)

Firkin Around...The Kitchen.

Anxiously awaiting the opening of the first beer.  Not sure what to expect, other than success if all the instructions were followed.  And follow them I did.  The outcome of this batch will most likely make me want to continue or forget about home brewing.  Okay, I know this is pretty foolproof, but it is still nerve racking for the new brewer in me.

This beer has gone from two weeks in the fermenting tank, to two weeks of bottle conditioning and only twenty four hours of chilling (lagering).  It most likely needs a few more weeks conditioning at room temp and lagering in the fridge.


It is difficult to detect carbonation. Here goes nothing.....

Pop!  Hey, that's a great sound!  Now for the moment of truth. Will it taste like beer?

So, here's the question.  Is it beer yet?

While it was nicely carbonated and had a clear body, the taste was still a touch on the sweet side with an apple wine flavor.  I think that is what they referred to in the instruction book as "cider flavored".  We will call it a success for now, knowing that we cheated it a few extra weeks of conditioning.  In two more weeks, when it has reached the full 6 weeks recommended, we will crack open one of the liter PET bottles and try again.  With a bit more time and luck, we should nail this down as a nice lager.  Stay tuned.

Firkin Making The Beer!