I originally tried this paired with a Tres Leches cake during the final course of a beer dinner at Padrino’s Cuban Restaurant just outside of Orlando. After trying it, I knew that I would have to find some bottles so I could do a further review. I typically am not a huge fan of brown ales and it really takes something extraordinary for me to even comment about them. This one of the reasons why I was so surprised with how much I enjoyed this.
Appearance – A medium shade of brown. I could see completely through this although it was dark. Not cloudy at all.
Smell – After opening the bottle, the coffee smell wasn’t coming completely through. But after waiting for a few minutes for the temperature to rise, it really developed nicely. The coffee smell was there, but not overpowering. I’ve never tried a Cubano Espresso roast by itself, so I can’t comment on similarities, but the smell was a sweet coffee smell with hints of vanilla lingering in the background. I also noted a small amount of maple syrup.
Taste – No hops or bitterness at all. At first contact, you would recognize the roasted malt, just as with most brown ales. However, there is nice subtle hint of coffee, vanilla and crème that comes through. Drink this slowly and witness the flavors develop more as it warms. There is absolutely no alcohol burn or presence, as this is a very low ABV beer.
Mouthfeel – This is a very drinkable beer. It has the body to let you know it’s a brown ale, but is not heavy by any means. I could easily drink many of them during one session.
Overall – I feel that this was an excellent offering from Cigar City. I feel that due to the sweetness and coffee notes, it’s a great beer to pair with desserts. However, it’s versatile and can be enjoyed at any time. Heck, I’d drink this with breakfast. Being a really big fan of coffee beers, it was nice to try a different take on one. Typically coffee is associated with stouts, but Cigar City clearly was able to reach an equally complex beer without adding all of the alcohol when making this one.