Jai Alai IPA | Cigar City Brewing

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Jai Alai IPAJai Alai IPA
8,221 Ratings
Jai Alai IPAJai Alai IPA

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pours copper in color with notes of citrus and tropical fruit in the aroma. Flavor has upfront citrus bitterness with a hint of caramel and citrus and tropical fruit hop notes in the finish.

70 IBU

Added by cjgator3 on 12-05-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,221 |  Reviews: 1,589
Reviews by FtownThrowDown:
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice reddish amber in color. Nice quarter inch of frothy head forms on the pour. Leaves very nice, spotty lacing on the entire inside of the glass.
Smell is floral, citrusy hops. Smells very enticing and welcoming.
Plenty of hop goodness in the flavor. Nice bitterness in the flavor.
Medium mouthfeel. Very nice and easy drinking. Would like to have a brewery like Cigar City local to me. They are very creative and solid in everything they do.
Will continue to seek out more of their beers.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #45 (Oct 2010):

This ale puts its foot on the border of IPA and Impy IPA, a blurring of the lines. Clear copper hue, impressive lacing but coming from a highly hopped beer ... not a surprise. Big hop stink, heavy citric of ruby red grapefruit and tangerines ... faintly catty with some taffy undertones. Hops smack down hard, though some caramel and biscuity flavors from the malt appear; aside from that, it is a full-on palate bashing of citric, earthy pine, tobacco and wild herbs with a tropical fruitiness to compliment. Seriously epic beer, we can only hope a pint of it is waiting for us at the gates of hop heaven.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

And the new wave of IPA begins- fruit forward with both hops and esters; fused together with a seamless web of maltiness, citrus, tropical and orchard fruit but without compromising dryness, crispness or drinkability. I like where this is going!

Pouring a mid-amber honey-like color, the ale seems a touch darker because of its unadulturated haze. A very formidable ivory head forms on the beer and retains very well with sticky lace all around.

Aromas are hop-balanced between caramel malts, citrus and spicy hops, and alcohol. Lightly fruity and yeasty notes weave within the alcohols. Its a soft and appealing scent that seems slightly English-like.

Graham cracker breadiness, caramel flavor, and spicy alcohols set the stage while the orange zest, ruby red grapefruit, and pineapple hop character bounce off the glass is vibrant and assertive fashion. Bitterness does much more than just balance out the malts but never really demand attention away from them. Again light fruity notes make me think of English Ales- non descript but fruity nonetheless.

Medium creamy and medium sweet, the beer starts out with a hearty malty tone that waits until the last second to crispen up and dry out. Still, the finish hold onto a lot of sweetness and weight despite the adequate carbonation. The aftertaste brings an alcoholic and hoppy-dry memory of the beer; I just wish this had happened at mid-palate and then carried through.

Its quite remarkable the effect that these deeply citrus and tropical flavored hops have with the embedded starch and yeast all have on this new wave IPA taste. Its a smoother and more balanced approach will appeal to a wide range of beer drinkers- even those who have traditionally steered away from hoppy beers.

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Photo of EveningCordial
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured from can into snifter.

A- Pours a nice light amber. Medium amounts of carbonation and lacing. Small half finger white head.

S- Tropical and citrus fruits. Super fresh and fruity. Lots of pear, mango, even some orange. Not much pine or grass, but some resins very lightly detectable.

T- Just like the smell, this ale is very fruity. Lots of tropical layerings giving it a very fresh and drinkable taste with just the right amount of lightly detected malts and resins. This IPA is super juicy but the light bitterness reminds you its def an IPA.

M- Light bodied, some detectable carbonation, otherwise Id be slamming these like juice boxes. Crisp and clean finish.

O- Lives up to the hype. I hope I run into more of these, as they put a smile on my face. Great warm weather ale, as its very refreshing. A home run by Cigar City.

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Photo of illpass78
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint on draft at Brass Tap in Oldsmar, Florida.

Appearance: Pours a murky copper/gold with a short white head. Ringed lacing.

Aroma: Huge citrus presence. Oranges, mostly.

Taste: Delicious, citrusy, slightly resiny IPA. Classic hop bitterness. Oranges and fruit dominate up front, while a solid malt backbone and hop bitterness kick in on finish.

Mouthfeel: Dangerously sessionable at 7.5. Definitely an easy drinker.

Overall: Excellent IPA. Find it and enjoy it. Stands up to some of the best.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright gold with a fluffy white head on top.

Kind of a weak nose, but I get lemon peel mostly.

It tastes like a hop-charged honey sickle - the honey being subtle. There's also a bright citrus taste and bitterness that lingers after the swallow (lemon peel, orange rind, pineapple, tangerine).

It's kind of chewy which is nice - not in a stout kind of way, more of a hop chewiness. Awesome carbonation and bright "prickly" feel.

Overall this is a great IPA. It's like a hop nougat. It's worth seeking out, especially for the price. Dangerously drinkable. I will definitely buy again.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

An outstanding beer and an outstanding IPA. Significant amount of carmel malt. Very, very juicy and sweet. Tons of orange and tropical fruits. A unique flavor and associated aroma that I can't pinpoint, but would describe as kind of musty/earthy, but not an "east coast" thing necessarily. More like a dank, wet pine tree. Low bitterness in the finish. Comes across a little more balanced than some others in case you are looking for a hop bomb. Reminds me of Deshutes Fresh Squeezed a bit. I also have found that I enjoy this more from the can than poured, which I have only had happen with a few beers. I think it is because the aroma is a weaker point, where the flavor is significantly better. A world class IPA, but be warned, it does seem to fall off drastically after a few weeks. Finding it fresh never seems to be a problem though. Hands down my favorite beach/hot weather IPA

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Photo of humuloner22
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am generous on reviews at times but I have reserved the really high scores for outstanding beers. This one is one I have wanted to try for a long time and thanks to a fantastic trade I have acquired this one. I might have to keep this one hot on the pipeline! Jesus its good!

Look: Perfect color for an IPA in my opinion, they range from all over the place but this one sits on the darker side of that fence and I tend to like those better. This one is a reddish amber color with a bit of copper in there. Head remains pretty solid throughout the pour.

Smell: Sweet not overly so, you can detect some malts in there, but this beer is fantastic in the aroma. Nice tropical fruits, mango, papaya, guava, maybe some passionfruit in there as well. Its not as intense as the flavor will give up.

Flavor: Holy shit this is the best tasting IPA I have ever had no doubt. It blends everything I like in this style of beer. Its sweet but not overly so, its got a nice resinous quality to it, but its balanced by the malts, this is a hugely balanced beer. Its on the assertive side more than pseudosue or Zombie Dust, but then those are technically Pale Ales. This beer is not too bitter but bitter enough. Super enjoyable great mouthfeel, not sticky but not overly drying either. I want a case next time I go to the beach!

Overall: Thus far this is the best IPA I have ever had. No doubt. It is rated highly and for good reason. I have a few more CCB beer waiting for me, but those are a completely different style, but if this is indicative of what this brewery can do, I am happy to trade again for just about anything! This is truly an outstanding IPA!

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.91/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a quite hazy, copper-orange with lots of carbonation. Also, a white, foamy head that leaves lots of lacing.
Citrus hop abound! Also a resin smell and floral. Awesome!
Taste is amazing! Follows the nose. A wonderful combination of citrus hop and malt in which the hop comes through. Mouthfeel is creamy for an APA. Also hoppier than most APA's. It kind of reminds me of some food dipa's with the slight funk.

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Photo of Winzlow
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An outstanding example of the IPA class of beers. Living near Tampa, I receive very fresh samples of Jai Alai (pronounced: "Hi Lie"). Last sixer was 7 days in the can - wife says that tonight's sixer is dated 7 days old as well (she called from store to ask if date was OK). From the pop of the top - you KNOW this is going to be something special. The aroma fills the room! Fruit - citrus and wow! I understand that CCB uses Ahtanum hops for aroma - and one can tell. Head is off-white and lacey. Taste has to be experienced.... It is the World Class IPA that other IPAs try to be - just like the Bros say. A deliciouse beverage that is up there with the ABV pushing the IIPA boundry - but it is not noticed due to the sensory experience of the beer. A bit pricey - but worth it. Not my everyday beer - but a sixer on Friday is to be expected in my home (and it IS Friday!). This is my favorite IPA.
Drink fresh. Drink Local.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pale amber body, slightly hazy; fat tan head as high as you wanna make it; lace drapes left behind

S: like the bitter pith of pale and tropical and citrus fruits; some sweetness like of caramel

T: slightly chewy, fruity and lightly bready; milk caramel sugar sweetness under a well-balanced hop front bringing lots of mildly bitter citrus notes

M: a solid medium body with an incredible smoothness despite the crisp hops; fuzzy carbonation, very refreshing and clean-finishing

O: another top tier IPA - all accolades are appropriate - if there weren't so many great IPAs I could rave, but suffice it to say that this is right there with many of the best in the style, such as AleSmith's IPA, Union Jack, and Flower Power.

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Photo of pubscout
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cigar City's Jai Alai enjoys a stellar reputation-- and with good reason. This is an exceptionally well balanced beer with a deft hand managing the balance between hoppiness, malt and citrusy notes. I can only imagine the pairing of this beer with equally well made empanadas or deviled crab cakes-- both of which Ybor City produces with deserved pride. If you can find this beer, get it for the true IPA lover in your life. Unless that's you. Then don't share it at all.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Coppery tangerine with several slow bubble streams leading up to a quality crown of pale khaki colored foam. Head descent is slow and lace deposition is extensive; even more so as more of the glass becomes available. Solid all around.

The nose is tropical fruity with a (slight) background contribution from caramel malt. The hop bill isn't made available, but Simcoe and/or Amarillo might be present. If power and pungency ramp up with foam meltage and beer warming, then the 4.5 will be granted.

Jai Alai IPA is a lupulin lovers India Pale Ale. This is clearly a fresh bottle, as the hops are bright and bold, giving the malts a breezy 'see ya sucka' as they blow past, dig into the tongue, and hold on with tenacity. And yet...

... there is some semblance of balance as the bitterness begins to ease up with warming. Mostly pale with a small contribution of caramel is my preferred malt profile for the style, which is exactly what JA IPA delivers. The hops are still tropical fruity with loads of white grapefruit peel. Centennial is probable and Simcoe is now doubtful.

The mouthfeel does pretty much everything right, from the soothing effect of the malt sugars... to the buzzsaw-like rasp of the hops... to the enlivening carbonation. Not special, but damn good.

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA is a hop-soaked treat that doesn't overwhelm its malt support. In other words, it's right up my alley. Thanks to ktrillionaire for not 1, not 2, not 3... but 4 bottles of this wonderfully delicious Sunshine State elixir.

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Photo of mig100
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My first Cigar City beer and unsurprisingly it's a very malty east coast IPA. Resinous hop and citrus flavors make themselves present at the front of the tongue and finish with the creamier malty characteristics at the back. A very nice change of pace from some of the west coast hop bombs.

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Photo of McGiblets87
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a truly amazing IPA. After a few years of wanting this beer finally had a trade go through for Jai Alai and the year of so of waiting was well worth it.

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Photo of PhilsPils
4.89/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From a can into a pilsner glass at Trump's place in Doral, Florida. I would say this is one of the three best IPAs I have had the pleasure of drinking. Wonderful juicy hops with tons of tropical fruit but also a dankness that reminds me of our storm/canning/pickling cellar when I was a kid in Oklahoma. That part seems more like a DIPA and is always welcome in any IPA I drink. If you haven't had one, put it on your bucket list. You'll be glad you did. CIGAR CITY...send it to Houston!!

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Photo of beersampler6
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very nicely surprised by this beer - was worried that with its hype and reputation the reality couldn’t possibly live up, but I was wrong. Nice golden color with some moderate head and lingering lacing. Smells mainly of hops, more fruity than floral. Tastes of some citrus hops - orange zest, lemon zest, grapefruit - as well as floral hops, caramel, malt and a trace of herbal hops. The more intense hoppiness was definitely balanced by the malt backbone. Finishes clean with just a little bitterness but it was very pleasant. Mild mouthfeel, decent carbonation throughout even as the beer warmed.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cliff's Notes to Cigar City Brewing's Jai Alai

Appearance: Hazy orange amber body. Creamy off-white head that holds remarkably well and leaves short but solid walls of lace completely round the glass.

Aroma: Gently caramelish malt base in the nose, infused with spicy/peppery, and grassy/leafy/floral hops. More English than American.

Flavor: As expected, it delivers a rich, round maltiness that offers an edge of dextrinous, medium caramel sugars. The hop flavors cling to that, move through it, and are supported and sprung forward by it. Solid bitterness, but not overly brutal at all. Finishes dry with receeding malt and rising hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium/full in body. Dextrinous. Crisp but not biting (smoothed by the fullness of the malt).

Drinkability: There are several components that seem to dance in a circle here, continually nodding and giving space to one another, yet existing mainly as one. The malt dominates and steps forward but then needs the hop bitterness and spiciness to keep it in check and steps back. Nicely balanced. Full flavored. Oddly compelling in its heavy-handed finesse.

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5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After this last experience, I had to edit my review... First let me say, some of the cans I've had have been perfect 5's in every category. But then some have been about 4.5. I think the key is having one less than 3 months old and letting the can sit at room temp for about 20 minutes or so before you pop the top. If you get it right, Jai Alai, judged in the category of IPA, has the potential to blow your mind! This review describes Jai Alai at its best.

Canned on 3/8/17, enjoyed on Memorial Day 5/29/17. 2nd fresh 6 pack in October 2017.

L: Can said pour gently so I did. Poured a beautiful bright, almost glowing, golden yellow orange. A little cloudy. Clean, thick and dense white amber head, lots of sticky lacing. Even the graphics on the can look hoppy and dank! (the old graphics)

S: Mellow, rich, fruity hops with a very nice citrusy grapefruit twang. Citrus, apricot, mango, white grape peach. It's got some dank in there too. Can't keep my nose out of the cup!

T: Fruity hops on the front, pleasant, citrusy and clean. Excellent, smooth enjoyable bitterness. Very good! Not too piney, bitter or sweet but a good dose of them all. This is what I think of when I think of the perfect IPA. SO GOOD!

F: The most resinous and hoppy oiled IPA I've ever had. Just enough carbonation. Medium to full bodied. This must be the threshold of an IPA/DIPA. Amazingly drinkable.

O: It's IMPERATIVE that you let this one warm up. I had a couple that were straight out of the fridge and they weren't nearly as good. When you hit the right temperature, Jai Alai is a bold yet balanced IPA that pushes the limits in every category while remaining very friendly and welcoming. The end result is a very flavorful and drinkable IPA that should be experienced by everyone. Definitely one of my favorite IPA's if not my favorite. Wishing they had a DIPA as readily available. Found a six pack on the shelf at Publix for $10. Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade, Motueka, Centinnial and CTZ hops.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Translucent, slightly hazy dark orange, almost copper, with a creamy, off white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: Quite sweet, both fruity and malty. Juicy blood orange, candied orange peel, mango and pineapple, very biscuity malt with brown sugar, and grape jelly, with woody and herbal undertones.

T: Upfront, you get the candied orange, orange marmalade, some mango, pineapple, and hints of apricot. In the middle, a big push of brown bread, bordering on brown sugar and caramel. On the finish, I get a very distinct grape jelly flavor, though whether this is from the yeast, hops, malt, or some bizarre combination, I do not know. Finishes with a very faint bitterness, some grapefruit and orange peel, just enough to balance it out, although this remains a mostly sweet IPA.

F: A nice, smooth, almost creamy body, with ample carbonation. Drinks very nicely.

O: A really interesting take on IPA.

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Photo of Holderness
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Canned 14 days ago.

L — Amber-orange body with total clarity. Three fingers of soapy off-white head produced with moderate pour. Good retention and some lacing
S — Sweet floral, pine resin, orange pith, dried mango, touch of caramel malt
T — Caramel, citrus rind, floral, woodsy earthiness, honeydew melon. Semi-sweet. Decent amount of lasting bitterness, but nothing too overwhelming
F — Medium mouthfeel, medium carb. Some fluffiness and creaminess
O — Glad to be seeing some limited distribution of this in MA! Great value for the quality @ $12/6er of 12oz cans and definitely tasty when fresh


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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz can,into a Cigar City IPA Spiegelau glass.

Thick frothy,white,1 1/2 finger head that retains well,and leaves a beautiful lacing on the glass.The poor created a beautiful cascade,that went from the top,to the bottom of the glass.Dark gold / amber in color.Moderate carbonation,that rises fast.The light coming through the glass is plenty,but it is distorted light,and there are alot of small particles floating around.

The nose is very hop forward,you have alot of citrus,and pine aromas.This was the beer that got me started on craft beer,and it was because a friend told me it smelled like really good weed lol.And that fragrance still holds true today! Some earthy notes as well from the hops.

The palate follows the nose,very hop forward IPA.Pine resin,grapefruit,some sweet malts to balance it out.I also get some earthy hop notes.A very nice bitter back end to finish it out.This is a great tasting IPA.

The body is medium,with a good amount of punch from the hops,and the carbonation.Medium dry finish,very smooth going down.

This is a go to IPA for me ,living in the state of Florida.Looks great in the glass,smells amazing,has that great IPA taste without too much bitterness,and feels great going down.This is the beer that got me into craft beers,and I am truly going to miss drinking it when I move to Massachusetts.

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Photo of JLaw55
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is all fruit and hops. There are layers of citrus, tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango, and a nice hop presence on the back end. Not a super hoppy IPA, but a great representation of the fruit forward side. My favorite type of IPA.

Would Drink Again: Yes
Would Purchase Again: Yes

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Photo of RAFH
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely wonderful and delicious beer I received from my Dad and Sherrie when they were in Florida for this last year's winter vacation of 2017. They gave me a 12 ounce can. Tried it right away and was not disappointed at all. Tangy and tasty..... More than any IPA I've ever tried. A MUST HAVE! Thanks Dad and Sherrie!

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Photo of topofthehops
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Okay, it's not as though we need any more reviews of this acclaimed brew. But after cracking open a can a few minutes ago I was moved ... nay, INSPIRED to rate it, having never done so before. I live in the Baltimore area, where I've never seen it available. Luckily, my mother-in-law lives in Fort Myers, so I grab-n-guzzle a sixer (from the nearby Publix) whenever we visit. Every time I get reacquainted with Jai Lai it's like deja vu all over again. It's just SO delicious. And that's all I have to say about that.

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Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 8,221 ratings