I received a 12oz bottle from a friend in Florida (thanks, Matt!). I poured it into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date.
Appearance: A hazy shade of dark copper/orange, though it almost glows
in the sunlight. There is plenty of visible sediment floating in the
liquid. Pours to a small, white, frothy head which doesn’t completely
dissipate and leaves nice lacing.
Smell: Strong aroma of cedar, garlic, and something akin to tomato sauce. Not your usual IPA scent.
Taste: Given the name of the brewery, it’s no wonder Cigar City wanted
to create a line of "Humidor Series" beers - which is some of their
regular offerings aged on Spanish cedar. I’m not really sure what the
point of that is, since cedar doesn’t really complement beer all that
well and this beer is a good example of that. The cedar completely
overwhelms the base palette and makes the beer rather one-dimensional.
To describe the beer as spicy is a bit of an understatement. Not spicy
in a hot way, just spicy in a peppery way. It tastes of fresh ground
black pepper and garlic. The malts and the hops are pretty well
obscured. There is some piney bitterness on the back end, but it’s not
enough to counteract the cedar flavor. What’s weird is I actually used
to like this beer, but I haven’t had it in about 2 1/2 years.
Interesting how my palate has changed over time.
Drinkability: If you can appreciate the flavor, you’ll have no trouble
drinking Cigar City Humidor Series IPA. The mouthfeel is rather calm,
comfortable and smooth on the finish. There is a spiciness that lingers,
in fact, I can even feel it on my lips. The body is pretty hefty at
7.5% ABV, though there’s no alcohol component per se. This probably
would be a great beer if the situational pairings were perfect, but
otherwise it’s too odd for my taste.