457. Cigar City Brewing – Minaret ESB

Cigar City Brewing - Minaret ESBAbout three weeks ago, I returned from my family vacation to Florida.  While there, I visited Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, and brought back several of their beers.  I had their Maduro Brown Ale and the Jai Alai IPA while I was there, and brought this growler back from the brewery (along with a few others I haven’t reviewed yet).  Of the beers I sampled in their tasting room, I knew I wanted to bring this one back.  Of course there were a few others I wanted, but they didn’t sell growlers of those.

Location: Poured into a Stella Artois glass from the growler at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 5% ABV, ~ 170 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s rusty-reddish brown in color and pretty clear. It looks to have a fair amount of carbonation in it, although there’s no head, just  a ring the bubbles around the edge of the glass. It’s got a light malt aroma with hints of tea, caramel, and tobacco.

Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouth feel is crisp.  Up front it was crisp with some earthy maltiness.  In the middle, the malt flavors come though more with some caramel flavors and the slightly spicy, earthy hop flavors come though as well.  If finishes with a very balanced mix of malts and hop bitterness, giving a mix of earthy hop bitterness and caramel, tea, and tobacco like malt flavors.  In the aftertaste, the caramel and tea-like flavors last for a minute or so.

Food Pairing: This had an interesting mix of earthy flavors, and since it’s a British style beer, I think I’d pair this with a meat pie, or something like beef stew.  The beer is light enough to help wash down the hearty meal, yet the flavors would mix nicely with the meal.

Overall Impression: When I tried this at the brewery, I was impressed with the complex mix of flavors in this beer.  Perhaps the name made me think of it, but the flavors reminded me a bit of a cigar box with some woody and tobacco-like notes.  Unfortunately, I noticed they had faded a bit over the last few weeks, but it was still a good beer.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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Author: Kevin

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