Brew Review: A Hazy Seasonal Adjustment — Cigar City Brewing

Although Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing has brewed several small-batch Hazy Double IPAs in the past and released them through its Spruce Street Tap Room in Tampa over the last few years, a new release, The Benwood, is a brand new recipe and represents the brewery’s first foray into wide distribution of a Hazy DIPA.

This new ​DIPA makes use of some of the same ingredients and processes that ​made the brewery’s Fancy Papers ​Hazy ​IPA: a British Ale yeast that’s more ester-producing than the American Ale yeast used to ferment Jai Alai IPA, and the addition of wheat to the grist.

As a consumer’s tastes in IPAs continue to shift to more fruit-forward hop flavors and aromas, it can become a challenge for a brewer to find a good mix to continue to innovate.

“It’s been a difficult but exciting challenge to continue to find new and interesting hop combination​s,” said Sean Sasscer, CCB’s Director of Brewing Operations.​ “Using more expressive yeasts can help drive that fruit-forward profile that the consumers look for, but they can also lead to homogeneity if all of a brewery’s hop-forward beers are using that same yeast.​”​

The Benwood will be on shelves this July, August, and September​, giving the brewery another portfolio feature that is new for wholesalers and retail outlets to have something on hand from the brewery that is new to sell and help generate consumer interest​.

​”Our seasonal line-up changes each year and we’re thrilled that this beer adds a new dimension to our 2020 release calendar, said Neil Callaghan, Cigar City’s Brand Manager​. “It’s a beer that sits nicely alongside two of our year-round releases: Florida Man Double IPA, a more traditional Double IPA, and our newest year-round offering, a Hazy IPA called Fancy Papers​.”

The hops that feature prominently in this beer’s recipe are Strata, Galaxy, Motueka, and Mosaic, all distinctly fruit-forward hops.

“Consistent flavors, aromas, and turbidity levels in Hazy IPAs and Hazy Double IPAs can be difficult to maintain, and with The Benwood, we’re able to deliver these qualities to our wholesale partners, retailers, and beer lovers​,”​ ​Callaghan​ said.

Sasscer said another challenge is trying not to be generic in fruitiness with no specific fruit quality apparent.

​”When trying to develop new and exciting flavors it can be challenging to create an idiosyncratic beer​,” he said.​ “We still make a lot of more classic IPAs, and we also make a lot of juicy IPAs, so the majority of the time the consumer gives you the sandbox to play in and you make tweaks inside that framework.”

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