Jai Alai IPA
Cigar City Brewing

Jai Alai IPAJai Alai IPA
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IPA - American
Ranked #35
Ranked #914
4.29 | pDev: 9.32%
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
Jai Alai IPAJai Alai IPA
Notes: Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt whilst the ball travels at speeds up to 188 mph! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dubbed this game, with its ball traveling at race car speeds, "the merry game." Tampa was once home to a bustling Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. Pair Jai Alai India Pale Ale with beef empanadas, deviled crabs and other spicy dishes.

65 IBU
Reviews: 1,815 | Ratings: 9,045 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MikeFischer04:
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MikeFischer04 from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Came across this beer while golfing with some hosers (duffers) in FL. It was my gateway into the world of IPAs. Out of the 30+ IPAs I've tried since then in VA, only a few beers compete. The taste is light malt and heavy hops with a citrusy balance. The aftertaste is what makes this hoppy beer gold. The fact that jai alai made it's way to VA (wegmans) justifies my rating. Golden amber ipa with a flavor that can't be beat.

Jun 16, 2018
More User Reviews:
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Jan 21, 2011
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

May 14, 2010
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EveningCordial from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

Sep 07, 2014
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humuloner22 from North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +14.9%
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!

Dec 07, 2014
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titty_mcbitty from Tennessee

4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Jan 24, 2018
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illpass78 from Maine

4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Jun 04, 2016
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GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

4.91/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Jun 02, 2016
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WesMantooth from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An outstanding IPA. Very, very juicy and sweet. Tons of orange/tangerine and tropical fruits. A unique flavor and associated aroma that I can't pinpoint, but would describe as candied orange that’s musty/earthy. A different level of citra hops. Like a wet pine tree with a nice amount of bitterness that balances the sweetness and is lower in the finish. Comes across a little more balanced than some others in case you are looking for a hop bomb. 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. 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

Mar 12, 2015
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
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


Jun 05, 2018
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brureview from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cigar city has been long awaited in my area.
Poured a semi-cloudy golden color with a 4F head in a Spiegelau IPA glass.
Good head retention.

Pine, fragrant, floral aroma.

Excellent MF. Smooth, viscous, easy drinking , which transitions well to the taste: citrus and tropical fruit.

I really like the smooth, moderately bitter finish which rounds out the character of the beer.

If this beer was regularly available it would be my go to IPA.

Jun 02, 2018
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Nehal from California

4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very good beer.

A clean bronze color with 1.5 finger head. Taste of fresh bread, It is a maltier and mild to medium hops. it is not that hoppy like other IPA. Notes of citrus and tropical fruit. Certainly you can have it in summer. medium sweetness and bitterness coming from the bite. Lingering malt feel after the bitterness is gone.

If you find it it will not disappoint you.

Jun 16, 2018
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pubscout from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Jul 25, 2017
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mig100 from Texas

3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

My first Cigar City beer and surprisingly 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.

Apr 25, 2015
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Aug 04, 2010
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Greywulfken from New York

4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Oct 20, 2013
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flaskman from New York

4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Well poured from a 12 ounce can 45 days new into a tulip glass. Looks clear orange with a modest head but excellent lacing. Smells sweet and juicy. Tastes even better. The first sip was sweet and smooth. Thick mouthfeel and sticky on the lips. It tastes tropical with just the right touch of malt to keep it in check. It is sweet and fruity with a very slight bitter finish. A winner in my book. I have nothing negative to say about it.

Jun 05, 2018
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Joey1215 from Florida

5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this stuff! So tasty! If you've never had it, you have to try it. On my second 1/2 barrel keg and I'm still not tired of it. It's one of my favorite go to beers!

Jan 18, 2019
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Winzlow from Florida

4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

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.

Jul 08, 2016
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Bis4beer70 from Indiana

4.75/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The second micro brew i got while in florida...loved it! Quite possibly among the best AMERICAN india pale ales i've ever had...shared one w/my brother in-law,Bob (he enjoyed it too,& that man KNOWS beer-even lives in the PNW too!)...One of the highlights/best things to say about it,is that the Jai Alai has a fine, non-lingering after taste & is one of the top two beers i had while on vacation in 2015...tampa beers! cheers!

May 04, 2015
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dar482 from New York

4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a hazy reddish amber orange.

The aroma has a punch of sweet dried mango, juicy peach along with some sweet citrus orange peel. A good amount of caramel malt sweetness in there as well.

The flavor follows with a clean IPA hoppiness. It hits with pineapple, mango and tropical fruits in the front, then there is a bready sweetness along with it. The finish has a bit of pine in the end, but is mostly of grapefruit peel. In general, the beer has this tangerine note and a sugary candy sweetness.

This is a smooth drinking IPA that flows well from tropical hoppiness, to a good malt body, to a reasonable bitterness on the end.

A very exceptional IPA.

Oct 28, 2013
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RAFH from Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
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!

Apr 20, 2017
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Tigerbrau from Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dangerous at 7.5%. So delicious; could crush a 6pk like nothing! Not among the very best ipa's I've had, but clearly stands above the majority out there! Wish I had this on the regular here in Louisiana as it would be a repeat but often.

Jun 27, 2018
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CwrwAmByth from England

4.67/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Fortunate enough to try this on tap at Craft Beer Co Covent Garden. Big, heavy hitter. Resinous, fruity, spicy hops held up by a huuuge body of dry, caramel malt. Clean yeast leaves you with an immensely long hoppy finish. Amazing stuff. Getting it in good condition like this means I can really see the hype over American IPAs.

Jan 28, 2016
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barfootbandit from Maryland

5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers and favorite IPA so far. I've had it on tap, from the bottle, and from the can; delicious every time. Malt and hop characteristics are well balanced and a hearty 7.5% ABV compliments this pairing. Smells of tropical citrusy hops and has a clean finish, not too hoppy. Overall taste is crisp and has notes of tropical fruits. Overall a well balanced and fantastically executed IPA. While both are world class IPAs I prefer it over Heady Topper, just sayin.

Feb 07, 2015
Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 9045 ratings