Cigar City Brewing continues to thrive from its home in Tampa, Florida, with limited, unique batches of unforgettable beer. Locals and northwest brewpubs alike utter Cigar City Brewing’s name with reverence. (Thanks, Kathleen!)

Whole Foods Lifestyle Center hosted a Cigar City Brewing tasting last July, during which a few Cigar City Brewing reps shared several of their classic brews; Patio Pils, Jai Alai IPA, Tocabaga Red Ale, and Maduro Brown Ale. So great time to share the beer love with CCB’s beer release calendar and on the heels of Whole Foods Market’s Second Annual Battle of the Brews!

Beer tastings usually call for beers to be served from light to dark. Otherwise, the lighter notes in the blonder brews, like the Patio Pils, would be completely lost if preceded by something like the Maduro Brown Ale. The Patio Pils is a Pre-Prohibition Pilsner with a lovely golden color, super-light malty notes, and a slight sweetness. Patio Pils is an easy-breezy brew that can appeal to a wide variety of beer palates and pairs well with strongly seasoned food and meats.

The Tocabaga Red Ale is on the borderline between malty and hoppy with a mild red-gold color. This ale has an interesting light citrus tanginess; almost bitter at first, but smoother with each sip. Jai Alai IPA lures and woos with an almost up-front, fruity aroma, but the first sip has a familiar hoppy kick that keeps me at arms length. Thank goodness for the Maduro Brown Ale  with its smooth malt flavor. This ale has a slight coffee bite that mellows with each sip, dark porter-like shade, and a body that’s steps lighter than oatmeal stouts. Maduro can be a treat with dessert or do very well on its own.

If you’re interested in more CCB goodies, check out their 2013 Release Calendar for reappearing classics and special releases. Also keep the Whole Foods Market events calendar in your feed rotation for more Whole Foods Market Meet the Locals events and tastings. A big thank you to Christine (RandomHangers.com) and her husband for introducing Adam and I to Meet the Locals!

Whole Foods Market Orlando • Cigar City Brewing 2013 Release Calendar