Cigar City Brewing – Jai Alai


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The unicorn is a mythical creature that was supposedly one of the hardest animals to capture. But if you brought a virgin to it, the unicorn would lay its head down in the virgin’s lap. Well, for the longest time I have thought that Jai Alai from Cigar City Brewing was this mythical white creature.

My friend Tom has talked about Jai Alai and how it is his favorite beer, but just can never find it. He told a tale of having this beer years ago and always wanted more, but could never touch a hand to another delicious can due to it being scarce in the North East part of the United States. (I started to think that like the unicorn, Tom must of had this beer when he was a virgin and now that he is no longer as pure as his younger days, this beer was no longer worthy of being in his lap… or hand… or hell.. you know what I mean.)

He would call all over the state of PA and NJ hoping that someone… anyone… would have a case of this special brew that he said tasted like the nectar of the gods (Well, maybe he only said that it tasted damn good, but after so long, like I said, this beer started to take on a reputation of mythical proportions!).

For some reason this beer was just never leaving the magical land of Florida where it is brewed.

Then, one amazing day, I was walking through my local beer distributor (Frank A Smith – Highly recommended for people in the Montgomery/Bucks county area in Pennsylvania!) and saw the case of Jai Alai. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes in disbelief. I may have even pinched myself. I then picked up the case of beer, went straight to pay for it and to put this in Tom’s beer fridge as a surprise. Of course this 24 pack quickly became a 23 pack before it made it there. (Finders fee right people?)

So now this once scarce beer has been in my fridge just waiting to be drank. I waited to try it — hoping that it was not hyped to ridiculous limits. Expecting an amazing beer only to have it fall flat on its face would have been a disappointment. To take a sip and spit it out in disgust would have been horrible.

So I finally caved in and popped the top. The color was a great burnt orange. The smell was rich and hoppy with a fruity twist to it. I then took my first taste and the hops came rushing over my taste buds. It left my lips tingling and not being able to taste much else. Once I took a few more sips and my taste buds mellowed out, I was able to taste the caramel flavors in the middle and the beer started to have a really nice smooth finish. I started to taste the hints of fruit more and more as I drank the unicorn of beers. It made me want to go back again and again.

Cigar City’s Jai Alai totally lived up to the mythical proportions that my friend Tom hyped it up to be. I will most certainly be buying another case of this soon. But instead of going in Tom’s fridge, I am pretty sure it will go directly into mine.