Tasting Notes: Partner Ships IPL from Heavy Seas Beer and Cigar City Brewing

CCBHSIPLPour_edited1000This week’s installment of Tasting Notes gets a double dose of styles and breweries as we have a look at Partner Ships IPL from Heavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) and Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida).

This very special IPL (India Pale Lager) comes to us as the latest installment in Heavy Seas Beer’s Partner Ships Series, a lineup of limited releases that “features beers produced in collaboration with other regionally and nationally recognized brewers in the spirit of friendship, creativity, and adventure.”  Heavy Seas teamed up with Cigar City Brewing this time around to brew a golden lager that combines “bready malt aromatics” with a sizable hop bill (Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe & Mandarina Bavaria) that one might associate with an American India Pale Ale.  Thanks to “late addition kettle hops followed by extensive dry-hopping”, the 7.8% ABV Partner Ships IPL comes together to provide “full citrus and tropical fruit flavors and aromas balancing a soft bitterness.”  Partner Ships IPL is available now in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Sea Beer’s distribution area.

Now that we have worked our way through the details behind Partner Ships IPL, let’s dig a little deeper by pouring a glass and getting into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Partner Ships IPL from Heavy Seas Beer & Cigar City Brewing

Appearance:  Partner Ships IPL pours a yellow-tinged copper in color and is wearing a solid two fingers of creamy white foam.  When held to direct light, the color brightens intensely to reveal a beautiful, deep golden.  Pristine in clarity, the beer displays an abundant carbonation presence plugging away within.  Head has good retention, but it does eventually reduce down to a lasting and lush half finger that leaves behind wide sheets of lace on the glass.

Aroma: The first note to hit the nose is a solid, spot-on lager maltiness that has a nice and comforting bready quality to it.  Starting with an earthy, floral character predominately comprised of piney and grassy notes, the hops creep forward, slowly build, and finish with a citrus flourish of lemon, grapefruit and tangerine.

Taste:  In this arena, the hops strike first with a bright pop of grapefruit, orange and lemon zest.  That initial citrus hop bite softens to expose floral, grassy and piney tones just before a second fruity wave rises to engulf the palate with notes of tangerine and tropical fruit.  The beer closes with a slightly sweet, pilsner malt breadiness and just a bit of booziness.

Mouthfeel:  Medium bodied with a soft carbonation, this IPL has a good amount of weight to it but still remains highly drinkable.  The expected bitterness is there, but it is subdued and nicely balanced by just the right amount of sweet malt character.  That 7.8% ABV brings a little heat, but it does not take away from the experience.  The aftertaste leaves behind some tangerine zest and a touch of alcohol.

Final Thoughts:  The greatest takeaway from our experience with Partner Ships IPL was the remarkable way that Heavy Seas and Cigar City retained the soul of a beautiful lager in a beer that had its hop bill pumped up to true American IPA levels.  In a hybrid style where the malts are often nothing more than an afterthought these days, this IPL’s Pilsen and Vienna malts are distinctly present and play just as much a role as the hops.  Sure, it causes the alcohol to intrude on the flavor a touch, but it does so in a way that does not damage a profile more abundantly filled with delightful floral, bready, earthy, fruity and crackery notes.  Even at that 7.8% ABV, Partner Ships IPL possesses a level of drinkability that allows for one person to easily crush a 22 oz. bomber in a sitting or sip on all day while in a cookout or get-together kind of atmosphere.  This is a beer drinker’s beer, and that’s something we all can get behind, right?  Be sure to check out Partner Ships IPL before its limited run comes to an end.  Prost!


Brew Bus and Cigar City Brew Rising Hope IPA to Benefit National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Brew-Bus-Brewing-logoBrew Bus Brewing (Tampa, Florida) and Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) have announced that they will officially launch Rising Hope IPA, a special collaboration release brewed to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, on September 1.

When the folks at Brew Bus Brewing and Cigar City Brewing got together to create Rising Hope IPA, they wanted this beer to be known for more than just being an India Pale Ale “featuring notes of Gooseberry and Grapefruit with a hoppy finish.”  No, they wanted Rising Hope IPA to be “renowned for its outstanding character” since it has been brewed to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and all proceeds from the sales of this beer will help the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation “fund research for less toxic, more therapeutic treatments for children battling cancer.”

Rising Hope IPA will be packaged in 12 oz. cans, and both breweries will host a Kick-Off Party for this beer and its cause at Cigar City Brewing (3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, Florida) on Friday, September 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The breweries have also promised to release details on how you can get this beer outside of the launch event, so stay tuned for that information.

**UPDATE 9.6.17**

When & Where to Get Rising Hope IPA

  • Friday, September 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cigar City Brewing (3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, Florida) – Rising Hope IPA Kick-Off Party
  • Friday, September 1 at Brew Bus Brewing (4101 N Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida) – Available for purchase in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans ($11 each) and on draft. Rising Hope IPA is available while supplies last
  • Friday, September 1 at Cigar City Brewing (3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, Florida) – Available for purchase in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans ($11 each) and on draft. Rising Hope IPA is available while supplies last
  • Wednesday, September 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Independent Bar & Cafe – Tampa (5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida) – Rising Hope IPA Party Benefiting the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation
  • Friday, September 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at C. 1949 (6905 N. Orleans Ave., Tampa, Florida) – Rising Hope IPA and Brew Bus Spotlight

**UPDATE 9.6.17**

No matter how you secure it, just remember that 100% of the proceeds raised from the sale of Rising Hope IPA will be donated to benefit the amazing efforts and cause of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.  That fact alone makes this a can’t miss release because “you could save a lot with this beer, like the lives of children battling cancer.”  Prost!

LOKO Cuisine and Ichicoro Unite Once Again for Eggs & Kegs: IchiLoko

LOKOlargeOn Sunday, September 17 at 10:45 a.m., LOKO Cuisine and Ichicoro Ramen will head back to the Fermentorium at Cigar City Brewing (3924 W Spruce St, Tampa, Florida) to collaborate on a second edition of Eggs & Kegs: IchiLoko.

For IchiLoko: Round 2, the chefs of LOKO Cuisine and Ichicoro Ramen will combine their talents to honor Oktoberfest with a four-course brunch that merges the culinary traditions of Germany and Asia.  The menu will consist of the following inventive dishes:

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To cover the “kegs” side of this event, Cigar City Brewing will be pouring their Oktoberfest German-style Festbier and “other delicious beers.”  All attendees will receive one beer ticket “good for any pint or snifter of equal value.” If you would like a beverage other than beer, Ginger Beard Coffee will also be on-site with nitro-infused cold brew coffee and nitro matcha green tea on tap (coffee & tea not included in ticket cost).

Tickets for this installment of Eggs & Kegs: IchiLoko are available now for $32.10 each, and you can purchase yours by clicking here.  Ticket cost includes the four-course brunch and one pour of beer (pint or snifter of equal value).  Physical tickets will not be issued, but your name will be added to a paid list once the purchase process is completed. FYI: Everyone in your party will have to check in under the purchaser’s name at the door.

Friendly word of advice: If you wish to attend IchiLoko, we suggest that you secure your tickets as soon as possible because this event will be limited to just 60 seats due to the Cigar City taproom being closed for remodeling.  Make it happen and we hope to see you all there!  Prost!

Cigar City Brewing Prepares for Red Banner Release of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout

unnamed (8)On Tuesday, August 1 at 11 a.m., Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) will celebrate the annual release of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout by hosting Red Banner Day 2017.

Each year, the good people at Cigar City Brewing honor Georgy Zhukov, arguably one of the finest generals of World War II, with the release Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout.  With “notes of espresso, chocolate, dark toffee and hints of blackstrap molasses”, this “monolithic” Imperial Stout has impressed craft beer lovers the world over by being “fudge-like without being cloying, roasty without being acrid, and built to develop further complexity over time when properly cellared.”

Although this beer will see distribution throughout Cigar City Brewing’s full distribution area, the brewery will properly recognize the release of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout with Red Banner Day 2017 on August 1.  Not only will this event act as your first opportunity to try this year’s vintage on draft, you will also be able to purchase an “unlimited quantity” of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout in 22 oz. bottles.

Although Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout is more than capable of carrying an event on its own, Red Banner Day 2017 will feature much more than just one beer.  To start, this event will also act as the first release of Cognac Barrel-aged Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout.  Short in supply, this “barrel-aged masterpiece . . .  balances its espresso-like roastiness with a soft licorice-like sweetness and pronounced vanilla from extensive aging in French oak.”  Cognac Barrel-aged Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout will not see distribution, and will only be available for purchase on draft and in 750ml bottles in the Cigar City Brewing Tasting Room. The brewery expects this offering to sell out quickly and has set a limit of two (2) bottles per person.

In addition to Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout and Cognac Barrel-aged Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, Cigar City Brewing also plans to tap “numerous specialty treatments” of Marshal Zhukov’s throughout Red Banner Day.  Throw in the fact that Cigar City will have a food truck on site all day, and now you have an event that truly has everything you could possibly need to properly enjoy a stout-laden day at the brewery.

Stout lovers, Red Banner Day 2017 is guaranteed to be an epic-level event and you will experience some serious regrets if you miss this one.  Don’t be that guy or gal left lamenting the day after.  Do what you must and join us at Red Banner Day so that we can raise a collective toast to the return of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout.  We hope to see you all there.  Prost!

Vital Information for Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout (2017) from Cigar City Brewing

Release – Limited/Special, launching August 1, 2017
Style – Russian Imperial Stout
ABV – 11.2%
IBUs – 70
Ingredients – Roasted barley and English hop varietals

Recommended Glassware – Tulip or snifter
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft

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Heavy Seas and Cigar City Brewing Collaborate on Partner Ships IPL

35031085885_4e10682b3e_kHeavy Seas Beer (Baltimore, Maryland) has announced that IPL, a special collaboration beer with Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida), will release in July as the next installment in the brewery’s Partner Ships Series.

The brewers at Heavy Seas and Cigar City Brewing recently got together to create India Pale Lager (IPL) as the second release of 2017 in the Partner Ships Series, a lineup of limited releases from Heavy Seas Beer that “features beers produced in collaboration with other regionally and nationally recognized brewers in the spirit of friendship, creativity, and adventure.”  IPL is a golden lager that showcases the characteristics of a sizable hop bill –  Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe and Mandarina Bavaria – alongside “bready malt aromatics.”  Thanks to “late addition kettle hops followed by extensive dry-hopping”, the 7.8% IPL provides “full citrus and tropical fruit flavors and aromas balancing a soft bitterness.”

IPL is a limited release that will officially launch in July.  You can expect to find this offering in 22 oz. bottles at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and throughout the rest of Heavy Seas Beer’s distribution footprint.  Like all releases from the Partner Ships series, the supply of IPL will be incredibly limited.  Keep that in mind when this brew releases next month and get it while you can.  Prost!

Vital Information for Partner Ships Series: IPL from Heavy Seas Beer & Cigar City Brewing

Release – Limited/Partner Ships Series, July 2017
Style – India Pale Lager
ABV – 7.8%
IBUs – 48
Hops – Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, Simcoe & Mandarina Bavaria
Malts – Pilsen, Vienna & MFB Special Aromatic Malt
Availability – 22 oz. bottles
Beer Finder – http://hsbeer.com/beerfinder



Cigar City Brewing Adds Colorado to Distribution Network

ccb-logo-2colorCigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) has officially announced plans to begin distribution in the state of Colorado effective immediately.

Distribution was obviously on Cigar City Brewing’s agenda this year as Colorado now marks the fourth new state to receive deliveries from the brewery in 2017.  To ensure that this new market launch is a success, the brewery has partnered with the following distributors to cover the state of Colorado: RMC Distributors, Coors Distributing Company, High Country Beverage and Mountain Beverage Co.  Craft beer fans in Colorado will be happy to find 12 oz. cans of Jai Alai IPA, Maduro Brown Ale, Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale, Invasion Pale Ale and Tampa-style Lager available on shelves now. During the launch, the brewery will also be sending several specialty draft releases such as Marshal Zhukov’s Penultimate Push and Margarita Gose.

Speaking of the launch, the brewery will be hosting several market launch events across Colorado from May 15 through May 18.  In addition to the distributor reps, quite a few Cigar City Brewing representatives are making the trip to be in attendance – Brewmaster Wayne Wambles, COO Justin Clark, El Lector Neil Callaghan, and Brand Manager Lucas Widrick – so the Colorado craft beer community can receive a proper introduction to the brewery’s “brand and its award-winning beer from the people who know it best.”  The Colorado launch events currently scheduled are as follows:

Monday, May 15 – Denver

Tuesday, May 16 – Fort Collins

Wednesday, May 17 –  Vail, Colorado Springs & Longmont

  • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Launch Party at Vail Ale House (2161 N Frontage Rd W, Vail, CO 81657)
  • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Launch Event at Brass Tap (13271 Bass Pro Dr #110, Colorado Springs, CO 80921)
  • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Pint Night at Parry’s Pizza Longmont (1232 S Hover Rd #100, Longmont, CO 80501)

Thursday, May 18 – Denver, Northglenn & Highlands Ranch

If you happen to be a craft beer lover in the Colorado area, now is the time to start getting excited.  Make sure you hit up one or several of these launch event to raise a glass with the Cigar City crew and give them a proper welcome to the great state of Colorado.  Prost!


LOKO Cuisine to Host Oeste Cubano Q Dinner at Cigar City Brewing

CUBANO-FRONTAt 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, LOKO Cuisine will set up once again in the Fermentorium at Cigar City Brewing (3924 W. Spruce St, Tampa, Florida) to host the second installment in their Oeste Dinner Series, Cubano Q.

Chef John LoScalzo of LOKO Cuisine developed the Oeste Dinner series as a means of celebrating the culinary history and traditions of West Tampa.  Since Cigar City Brewing also draws a good amount of inspiration from this region, LoScalzo made the very easy decision to partner with the brewery so that he may pair his dishes with the most appropriate beers available.  For Round 2 of Oeste, LOKO Cuisine’s Cubano Q will be “a Cuban infused BBQ spread that will tantalize your taste buds with sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavors.”  This seated, family-style dinner event will feature the following menu of six dishes:


As attendees enjoy the elaborate meal above, they will have the option to pair it with Cigar City’s Margarita Gose, Guava Grove Sour Ale, Guayabera Pale Ale or Pilsner.  One pint or snifter of equal value is included in cost of the dinner, but attendees will have the option to purchase additional pours throughout the event.

Tickets for Oeste Cubano Q are $50 (plus tax) each, and you can purchase yours now through the LOKO Cuisine website (click here).  The cost of the ticket allows you to enjoy the full menu and one pint or snifter of beer.  Like all LOKO Cuisine events, seating is extremely limited.  With that in mind, lock in those tickets as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss out on what is sure to be an amazing dining experience.  Prost!

Cigar City Brewing and LOKO Cuisine to Host Jai Life Eggs and Kegs Event

lokocuisinelogoOn Sunday, May 21 at 11 a.m., Cigar City Brewing (3924 W. Spruce St, Tampa, Florida) and LOKO Cuisine will join forces once again to bring their fans Jai Life Eggs and Kegs, a Jamaican-inspired brunch that showcases the culinary versatility of Jai Alai India Pale Ale.

Eggs and Kegs is an ongoing series of food and beer pairings where Chef Loscalzo of LOKO Cuisine designs an imaginative themed menu centered around the flavor and aromatic profiles of a chosen beer or beers.  Taking place in the Fermentorium at Cigar City Brewing, Jai Life Eggs and Kegs will feature “a Jamaican inspired 4-course spread made to complement the hoppy goodness of Jai Alai IPA.”  For this event, Cigar City Brewing will be offering two variants of Jai AlaiWhite Oak Jai Alai and Jai Alai treated with Fresh Grapefruit Zest, as options to enjoy with the following menu:

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In addition to all of the amazing food and beer, Jai Life Eggs and Kegs will also feature Citra Hopped nitro infused cold brew coffee from Ginger Beard Coffee and an ambiance properly set by the music of Bob Marley and other artists of the reggae genre.

Tickets for this event are $32.10 each, and you can purchase yours now through the LOKO Cuisine website (click here).  The cost of the ticket allows you to enjoy the menu items above and also includes “one (1) pint or snifter of beer of equal value.”  Seating is limited for this event, so be sure to secure your tickets before they sell out.  Prost!

Cigar City Brewing Expands Distribution to North Carolina

CCBJaiCigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) has officially announced that it will begin shipping 12 oz. cans of Jai Alai IPA and several other offerings to North Carolina effective immediately.

Ever since Cigar City Brewing was founded in 2009, the brewery has always taken a very cautious and selective approach when it has come to expansion of distribution.  Considering that the brewers have crafted their award-winning beers with priorities set on quality, fine ingredients and freshness, the folks at Cigar City certainly do their due diligence to ensure that their offerings can be properly represented in any prospective market.

With that said, the news that North Carolina has now been officially chosen as the eighth state – and only the second new state in over four years – to see distribution from Cigar City Brewing should be that much sweeter to the craft beer community of the Tar Heel State.  The brewery has signed with numerous distribution partners (Skyland Distributing Co., United Beverages of North Carolina, R.H. Barringer Distributing Company, Long Beverage Inc., Carolina Distributing LLC, Healy Wholesale Co Inc., Atlantic Shores Distributors, Coastal Beverage Co. and City Beverage Co Inc.) to supply the state of North Carolina with the following five beer offerings:

  • Florida Cracker Belgian-style White Ale – Citrus aromas of oranges and lime leaves mingle with bubblegum and dried flowers on the nose of this hazy and refreshing Belgian-style White Ale. High carbonation and herbaceous bitterness quench the thirst while lemon-lime esters and flavors of Valencia orange add unique depth of flavor and complexity.  ABV – 5.5%  IBUs – 18
  • Invasion Pale Ale – Tropical aromas dominate the nose of this approachable, low alcohol pale ale with distinct notes of mango, tangerine and soursop. On the palate, a moderate bitterness is tempered by flavors of navel orange and clementine and a dry, bread-like malt quality that makes this Pale Ale at once approachable and incredibly flavorful.  IBUs – 5%  IBUs – 36
  • Jai Alai IPA – An intense bouquet of tangerine and candied orange peel entice the nose while flavors of clementines, Valencia orange and subtle caramel provide counterpoint to an assertive bitterness and rich malt character. Bold hop flavor and aroma from six different hop varietals is front and center in this flavorful American IPA.   ABV – 7.5%  IBUs – 70
  • Maduro Brown Ale – Maduro is a Northern English-style Brown Ale with some American affectations. Maduro is higher in alcohol than the common English Brown Ale and features flaked oats in the malt bill which imparts a silky body and works to mesh the roasted, toasted and chocolate components together in Maduro’s complex malt profile. The end result is a remarkably full-flavored yet approachable Brown Ale that pairs well with mild to medium cigars.  ABV – 5.5%  IBUs – 25
  • Tampa-style Lager – Inspired by traditional German lagers, our Tampa-style Lager is brewed with German malted barley, Hallertauer hops and an authentic Bavarian lager yeast. We combine these ingredients to create a style that’s quite unique to our hometown of Tampa, Florida but will find admirers wherever a crisp, dry and flavorful lager is called for. Familiar to generations, it’s truly a beer that’s made for drinkin’.  ABV – 4.5%  IBUs – 22

The beers listed above will be available in 12 oz. cans at launch with draft beer expected to follow shortly behind.

To properly introduce themselves to craft beer fans in North Carolina, “numerous Cigar City Brewing representatives . . ., including Cigar City Brewing’s El Lector Neil Callaghan and Brand Manager Lucas Widrick,” will attend a series of launch events beginning the week of March 20 (apologies for being a bit late, but full list of event dates and locations available below).  Be sure to check out one of the many events over the next week or so to give Cigar City Brewing a hearty welcome to North Carolina.  Prost!

Cigar City Brewing’s North Carolina Launch Events

Raleigh, North Carolina

Brevard, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina



Coronado Brewing and Cigar City Brewing Release Conquista IPA Collaboration

conquistabeachCoronado Brewing Company (Coronado, California) recently announced that they have joined forces with Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) to combine their award-winning skills in the creation of Conquista IPA.

In an act of unity that brings the East Coast and West Coast IPA together, Wayne Wambles – Brewmaster at Cigar City Brewing – partnered with Ryan Brooks – Brewmaster at Coronado Brewing – “to brew a west coast-inspired IPA featuring Polaris, a new German varietal prized for its complex pineapple and herb notes.”  To ensure that these hops were nothing but quality, Brooks ventured to Germany “to hand-select the Polaris hops used for this beer.” Equinox and Simcoe hops were then added to Conquista IPA’s recipe to yield a hop-forward beer full of “earthy, resiny, ripe mango, and herbaceous notes.”

“Wayne and I both love IPA’s and we wanted to brew something we’d enjoy drinking,” says Ryan Brooks, Brewmaster, Coronado Brewing Company. “We knew we wanted the beer to be dank and juicy, and we definitely achieved that with Conquista.”

Conquista IPA is available now in 22 oz. bottles and on draft.  This limited, collaboration release can be found at select craft beer-friendly establishments in Florida, California and throughout the rest of Coronado Brewing’s distribution network.  Track down a bottle of Conquista IPA and enjoy the best of both coasts thanks to the talents of Coronado Brewing Company and Cigar City Brewing.  Prost!

Vital Information for Conquista IPA from Coronado Brewing Company & Cigar City Brewing 

Release – Limited/Collaboration, launches late February 2017
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.5%
IBUs – 55
Featured Hops – Polaris, Equinox & Simcoe
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Distribution – Coronado Brewing’s distribution area
Beer Finder – https://coronadobrewing.com/brew-finder-2/