Based in Tampa, Fla., Cigar City Brewing was founded in 2007 by Joey Redner. The brewery has been producing beer in Tampa since January 2009 and currently produces over 60,000 barrels of beer annually. Before starting Cigar City, Joey Redner held jobs at Dunedin Brewing and as a beer writer for the Tampa Bay Times.
Redner hired Wayne Wambles as his brewmaster in 2008 and the first batches were brewed, starting with Maduro Brown Ale and then following up with Jai Alai IPA and Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale. Since the beginning, the facility has brewed over 1,000 different labels.
Cigar City is known for some highly ranked, acclaimed and awarded beers that are highly sought after, including Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout and Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, which use Marshal Zhukov’s as the base beer and adds ancho and pasilla chili peppers, vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon.
Todays review is one of its rotating releases, Invasion, a 5 percent, 36 IBU pale ale brewed with Amarillo, Galaxy, Motueka, Pacifica and Simcoe hops.
Poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass, I immediately enjoy the sight of a lightly cloudy light gold color with a finger of fizzy white head and spotty, random lacing adhering in no particular pattern. Sporadic aerated bubbles rise to the top consistently all the way through the drinking process.
Aromas seem somewhat muddled, but I pick up nuances of mango, pineapple, lemon, bread and citrusy yeast elements. The taste mimics the aroma and amplifies the citrusy lemon, while delivering a slightly confusing background of tropical fruits, malt, graham crackers, freshly baked yeast rolls and a bitterness that reaches the limit without overdoing it.
The mouthfeel is crisp, with a lot of acidic feel from the citrus and an ample amount of earthiness. Balance is decent and the flavors meld together okay, carbonation is on point and the 5 percent ABV plays no factor, even as the beer starts to warm.