Cigar City Brewing | White Oak Jai Alai
Most in the craft beer world are familiar with Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA. However, there is a White Oak-Aged version that might not be as well known. Unlike Jai Alai that is available year-round, White Oak Jai Alai periodically comes out throughout during the year.
Being in Chicago it’s difficult enough for me to get any variety of Cigar City let alone the rarer offerings. However friends who travel, are the best kind of friends. So recently when a friend was heading down to Florida he brought me back the not for tourist variety of White Oak-Aged Jai Alai. I’ve had the normal Jai Alai, but this variety definitely had a distinctively unique profile due to the white oak aging process.
It possesses a different type of bitterness than normal Jai Alai. I found it to be a bit more bitter than the original, while still exhibiting an underlying vanilla flavor, but luckily the strong citrus flavor that makes Jai Alai so popular is still prevalent. It’s hard for me to pinpoint specific fruits, but Cigar City typically utilizes mango and pineapple into their brewing process.
The beer pours almost identical to Jai Alai. It’s a hazy medium orange color with very little head. There is less carbonation in white oak Jai Alai than the base IPA due to the aging process.
I would recommend trying the original Jai Alai first so you have a base to compare to. Both beers are excellent and highly sought after, especially outside of Florida. It’s a rare treat to get to have Cigar City in Chicago but if you can get a chance to try white oak Jai Alai I highly recommend it.