Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale | Cigar City Brewing

305 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Cubano-Style Espresso Brown AleCubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This rich brown ale is redolent with Cuban-style roasted espresso beans, sweet caramel and toffee and hints of dry nuttiness. Cuban Espresso is a popular drink in the Cigar City of Tampa owing to its many Sicilian and Cuban immigrants. The beans for Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale are roasted locally by Mazzaro's Italian Market and Deli in St. Petersburg to our exact specifications.

25 IBU

Added by tpd975 on 05-26-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 305 | Ratings: 1,322
Photo of ToasterChef
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes. Sampled from a fresh growler I split with BlessedBeBeer. This beer is mostly opaque brown, but it appears translucent at the bottom of the glass (I'm drinking this out a Maine Beer Co. flute). It has a tan soapy head. As I consume the beer, it leaves behind some good lacework and film. It has a huge coffee aroma, almost as if someone dumped some coffee into the growler before sealing it. All kinds of roasted malts will greet your nose when you take the aroma in. I can taste a bit of sweetness up front; it reminds me of granular sugar (maybe because that is what I would put in coffee to sweeten it up). The coffee flavors come in at the finish and last a long time. There is a lot of coffee bitterness. In effect, it's like drinking an alcoholic cup of coffee. It has a lighter body and low carbonation. There is almost no coating left behind in terms of texture, but there is a lot of flavor that remains in my mouth after I swallow. This is a pretty drinkable beer, but there is a lot of coffee flavor, probably more than in any other beer I've tried. The 32oz growler that Cigar City offers is perfect for this beer. Any more of it and you'll want some friends to share with.

 1,208 characters

Photo of aepb1
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a light tannish head

S- Coffee, very strong coffee nose, so much so, not much else can work its way through really.

T- Coffee again! this time some creaminess comes through, milky-like

M- Medium bodied and certainly creamy. Low carbonation, nice and easy

D- If I wanted beer and coffee, this is it. There's nothing offensive and it's an interesting take on a brown ale

 391 characters

Photo of AgingWarrior
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at Cigar City Tap Room.

Pours a dark brown with about a finger of dark tan head. The head dissipates into a layer rather quickly, but hangs around until the very end.

Smell is incredible! Is this Starbucks?!? Strong espresso in the nose, with some hints of brown sugar.

Taste is as good as the smell. Strong coffee taste on the front, but with a slight vanilla taste and some bitterness on the end.

Tastes ever so smooth and creamy.

This is a very drinkable brew and at 5.5% abv you can enjoy several.

Highly recommend!

 542 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32oz growler courtesy of ktrillionaire - thanks dude! Served in a FoBAB pint taster glass.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of ecru foam that dissipates to a thin collar and some light film. Dark brown that's lighter at the fringes. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - Espresso! Some cocoa, brown sugar, and cookies too. You can tell the beans in use is pretty high in quality. The roasty bite from the espresso helps offset the sweet base beer (unlike Zhukov, where bitterness is multiplied by bitterness).

T - Taste again has lots of espresso flavor, with some nuts and milk chocolate as well. I'm pretty sure there isn't lactose sugar in this, yet I'm somehow convinced that this "coffee" has cream & sugar added to it.

M - Soft, low carbonation. Medium body that is slightly milky in character. Simultaneously sticky and roasty finish.

D - This was pretty enjoyable. A couple of us finished off the growler pretty quickly. The low ABV helps here, even though the beer is pretty flavorful. Biggest point of comparison is Coffee Bender, but I think I might like the Surly offering a touch more.

 1,096 characters

Photo of cbak999
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured of tap at Kickbacks in Jacksonville. A small tan head quickly disipates to a rim around the glass. Dark almost black in color. Smell is all coffee. Taste is expresso and hop. Nicely balanced. This is a very drinkable brown ale at 5.5 percent. Very pleased and will be back for more! Another great Cigar City brew.

 320 characters

Photo of phishgator
2.52/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this is pint glass. Big espresso nose before you even see the glass. This one is completely opaque, but not black. It is more of a dark brown with little head. The alochol is hidden in the coffee aroma and taste. A night capper of a brew because of the overpowering astingence of the coffee. Not their best offering.

 320 characters

Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 6/5/10.

Served in a snifter, it appears a dark brown color with some redness about that looks to be a very deep ruby color when held to the light. A finger of creamy head covers the top of the brew and coats the glassware. Aroma of this brew has a roasty nose of fresh espresso blended with some smokey notes. Dare I say it actually is reminescent of a cigar? Taste includes coffee blended with the cigar/tobacco flavors previously indicted by the nose. This tobacco flavor lingers in the mouth. This brew has a light feel with a mild level of carbonation. At times it feels a bit watery but it makes up for it with lots of flavor.

 656 characters

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to urwithdave for hooking me up with a growler of this. Poured from the growler into a Cigar City snifter.

A: Pours a nice amber hued dark brown color with about a finger of a light tan foam head. The head stays around for a while accompanied by some moderate lacing.

S: smells like some fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Subtle hints of vanilla and chocolate bring up the tail end of the aroma.

T: More coffee, lots of coffee. Sweet but with just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Again here some vanilla and just a touch of chocolate interplay with the coffee. There is a bit of roasted malt in there as well but the coffee is clearly the star here.

M: a perfect level of carbonation paired with a nice medium body make this one real smooth on the palate.

D: At 5.50% this might not qualify as a "session" beer but it sure is drinkable. This growler will be empty in no time flat. I could drink this with a nice breakfast, or anytime really. It's great that this is gonna be on full time at Cigar City. Now if they would only bottle it as well. This is absoutely one of my favorite beers.

 1,111 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not sure how different this is from the other version, but this was the description at the brewery today. I'd chalk up the discrepancy between this and my score for the other one as a newbie overrate.

Pours deep black with some mahogany highlights. Nice tan head.

Smells of straight up espresso. I happen to love cuban espresso, so this is quite a treat.

Taste follows the nosw with a little more cream. The finish is sweet with hints of figs. All bitterness seems to come from the coffee.

The feel is light by CCB standards, yet still a bit creamy.

Drinkability is quite high. If you like espresso.

 608 characters

Photo of garuda
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby brown, but fairly translucent when it gets down to it. Arrived with almost no head on it, but I conjure up a little bit of a tan head with some swirling, but it doesn't stick around long. Minimal spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Big roasted coffe, espresso aromas, with bits of dark chocolate, vanilla and only a touch of wood as it warms.

T - Follows the nose with a bit more vanilla flavoring and sweet roasted malts.

M - Medium body, good low carbonation level that I enjoy for a brown ale. Nice and creamy across the palate.

D - Easy going down, makes a good after dinner drink. A delicious brown ale, I was just hoping for a bit more complexity.

 669 characters

Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy brown color with some tan head and lacing. Scent is of a fresh cup of espresso - dark roasted coffee, not quite burnt, with touches of sweet cream. Taste follows scent - no real grainy or hop notes to speak of, not quite as powerful as it could be. Medium bodied, which makes this one a little more drinkable than your typical thick espresso stout.

 362 characters

Photo of koopa
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on tap at Capone's in Norristown, PA on 4/18/10.

Appearance: Pours black with a 1 finger khaki crown that yields moderate retention and little lace.

Smell: Espresso - burnt malt and a hint of cream.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

Drinkability: Good despite the burnt roast flavor that I don't enjoy.

 351 characters

Photo of gunnerman
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, pours a reddish brown with a fluffy head that leaves a bit of lace on the glass. Smell is of tobacco, chocolate, coffee and sin. Taste is just like the smell, I can taste large amounts of tobacco and coffee mixed to a bit of sweet hop bitterness. Slight carbonation really adds to the great texture and flavor. Overall this is a very impressive offering and one of my all time favorites, Cigar City is simply putting out amazing brews.

 461 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown with a nice tan head and decent retention.

S: Plenty of dark-roasted espresso beans along with hints of chocolate, slightly-roasted malt, and a bit of toffee.

T: Loads of crisp espresso and coffee flavors with some chocolate and sweet malt.

M: Very nice and creamy with an excellent amount of carbonation.

D: Very tasty and goes down very smoothly. Another masterfully-crafted brew from CCB.

 426 characters

Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a taste of this when I was at the brewery, figured I might as well grab a growler.

A: Dark brown changes to an amber red in the light, very thin and quickly fading head.

S: Ground breakfast roast coffee, cocoa powder, brown sugar, creme brulee. Lots of complexity, really smells great.

T: Cocoa powder, slight cider taste, caramel, weak coffee. Mild bitterness, like burnt cookies. Leaves more of a coffee aftertaste than flavor.

M: Medium carbonation with a thin body. Very typical brown ale; oats didn't add much body.

D: Quite good if you are in it for the nose. Flavor is subdued enough to make it an easy drinker, fairly low unnoticeable ABV, but an aroma that makes you want to have enough drink. Interesting to say the least, but a little thin in the flavor department.

 785 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives with a translucent brown color and a nice one finger head that tracks spots of lace around the chalice

Smell: If there is a more awesome coffee aroma on a beer, I have yet to encounter it

Taste: Brown bread and coffee, up front, with a developing chocolate aspect by mid-palate; even fudgier after the swallow with the coffee returning to match the chocolate in the finish

Medium: Medium body with moderate carbonaton; not as creamy as I would have thought given the oatmeal

Drinkability: Most other brewers blend coffee with stout or porter but Cigar City has gone in a different direction, using a brown ale base - extraordinarily different

Thanks, Ravishing44, for the chance to re-visit

 716 characters

Photo of John_M
4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's the other day.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color wiht good head retention and lacing. The nose is very impressive in this beer, and shows considerable coffee grounds, chocolate and vanilla. There's also a hint of leather and tobacco in this interesting beer. Flavors replicate the nose, though given the richness and intensity of the nose, I was a bit let down by how light and thin the flavor profile was. Drinkabilty is pretty good, with the alcohol well disguised. There is a hint of earthy bitterness in the finish which is interesting.

The beer smells better then it tastes, but ultimately I'm kind of impressed with what Cigar City seems to be trying to accomplish. I'm not a huge fan of american brown ales, but these guys are starting to make me stop and take notice of the style. Impressive.

 828 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful medium to dark brown color... Ample amounts of light leak into the glass from all angles... Loaded with moderate paced carbonation... The light tan head fades in rapid fashion leaving little to no lacing...

S - Mild brown sugar... Muted dark roast coffee... Caramel... A hint of rich milk chocolate... Perhaps even a touch of vanilla...

T - Brown sugar... Caramel... A muted hint of dark roasted Italian coffee... Toffee... A kiss of milk chocolate... Wonderful balance and a good bit of complexity given the style...

M - Medium bodied... Smooth... Loaded with pringly carbonation... Slightly chalky finish... Consistent sip after sip...

D - This one is quite simple to sum up... It's a better than average American Brown Ale with a tinge of coffee... I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to drink again, but I'm not sure you're missing much if you aren't able to procure a glass for your self...

 918 characters

Photo of vacax
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared courtesy of Andrew. Pours a rusty copper color with a brown-tan head, not too big but nice retention on it. Smells of espresso, vanilla, chocolate malt, roasted malt, and cream. Tastes of cocoa, coffee beans, vanilla, toasted marshmallows, and toasty malts. Medium to lighter in body but the carbonation matches it, low and mellow, enhancing the complex but mild flavors. As such, this is a very easy drinker and I would have been inclined to drink a pint of this if it were readily available. I have had more than a few varieties of Maduro Brown but this one is superior to the rest.

 599 characters

Photo of mullenite
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glassware - Shaker Pint

Appearance - Interesting mahogany brown color with about a 1/4″ of cream colored head sitting on top. Spotted lacing on the glass on the glass all the way to the bottom..

Nose and Taste - Smell and taste are straight up Cuban coffee, lots of medium roasted coffee and some creamy sweetness. It isn't the typical dark/French/Vienna roast coffee flavor but a much more mild city roast. My half Cuban wife said it tastes like carbonated Cuban Coffee to give you an idea.

Mouthfeel - Like the Vanilla Maduro I find this one a bit thin in body and slightly overcarbonated. I really wish it were thicker.

Overall - Pretty drinkable, being so thin it does go down easy but I would rather drink less and have the beer be a bit thicker in mouthfeel.

 774 characters

Photo of Lerxst
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a very dark brown with a creamy, thick head that has good retention and leaves some nice lacing. Looks real good.

S-Smells like a cup of dark roast coffee with a bit of chocolate. Not a terribly complex nose, but it is pleasant.

T-Coffee and roasted malt, cocoa powder, a hint of vanilla. Very interesting. The flavors work well together.

M-On the light side of medium body, yet very creamy and luxurious. Great mouthfeel.

D-At first I thought the strong coffee nose and taste would make this a one and done, but this one went down easily and I could have had another without a problem.

A great job by the folks at CC.

 631 characters

Photo of weeare138
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Kickbacks Gastropub in Jacksonville...
Appears a hazy dark brown with a light tan head. A creamy head of froth. A huge amount of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cream, cocoa, espresso, and lactose.
Taste is of the aromas with a sugary, wood like flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, and dry.

 321 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden on 3/23/10.

A - A well-carbonated brown hazelnut liquid with burgundy and ruby hues appeared in my glass, complete with a finger's width of beige foam on top that reduced to a quarter inch of retention but yielded plenty of decorative spotted lacing around the glass.

S - Aroma blends coffee and chocolate notes with a heavy cream character reminiscent of half-and-half. As the liquid warmed up a bit, the aroma became more complex, as roasted malt notes, vanilla bean and an earthy hop character emerged. I even get a sense of weasel turds, akin to Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch, which I wasn't expecting. However, there is definitely something present that is eluding me, which strikes me as a cross between slightly expired milk and a hint of basement odor.

T - Opens with a bitter coffee character, which then segues into a creamy milk chocolate aspect paired with a hint of vanilla bean sweetness. Earthy hops appear in the backend to reveal some herbal characteristics, and gain strength with each passing sip as the liquid reaches room temperature.

M - Smooth bodied with a slight oily texture and light carbonation, though a little bit more carbonated than your average nitro pour. Slight stickiness on the palate. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and residual sweetness on the tongue.

D - Quite a tasty brown ale overall and certainly not too heavy-handed with the coffee character. The addition of chocolate, vanilla and hop bitterness kept this brew from becoming too one-dimensional. Enjoyable but not mind-blowing.

 1,566 characters

Photo of DosBeerigos
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

C. Clear
H. Dark Brown
N. Smells like straight espresso coffee

Ok this is another one of those I think I might accidentally attempt to order this beer at Starbucks instead of at a bar. Straight coffee on this one, although it is very refreshing and light bodied. Unlike the Wake N' Bake from Terrapin this beer is smooth, light, and not very filling. There is a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon lingering around the taste of the beer. This bee is pretty dangerous.

 465 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured with a small head of white foam on top of a brown body with good clarity. The foam settles slowly and leaves good lace.

S - Aromas of brown malt with some toffee and light caramel. A little bit of chocolate in the background and some mild coffee.

T - Brown caramel and toffee malt flavors up front with some light coffee character. The malty caramel sweetness blends with the espresso and creates an impression similar to that of a blended iced coffee drink. It finishes with lightly sweet caramel and coffee balanced by light bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately light carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Smooth with lots of complex coffee and caramel character. The coffee is assertive but well balanced by the malt and doesn't overwhelm the palate. This is a very nicely made beer, the coffee highlights the best qualities of the base beer without overwhelming it.

 895 characters

Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
4.08 out of 5 based on 1,322 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.