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My friend Steve & I went to the Mellow Mushroom the other day to check out the lastest brews. I started with a Maharaja from Avery Brewing Co., while Steve started with a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. The Maharaja is an absolute hop monster, with a bold grapefruit taste amid the cascade hops. I had a sample of the Bigfoot, and it was really good on tap as well.

Our bartender, Bill, recommended that we try out a couple of the latest beers from Cigar City Brewing. We each had a sample of the Jai Lai IPA & Bolita Brown (they were just tapped out on the Maduro Oatmeal Brown). The Jai Alai is one of the smoothest tasting IPAs I have ever had, and the Bolita Brown was comparable in taste to a classic English Brown Ale. As I had the Maharaja earlier, I decided to go with a pint of the Bolita Brown, as did Steve. I’ve also heard great things about the Maduro, which along with the Jai Alai is considered their signature beer, and will be sure to check it out next time it’s on tap.

Before calling it a day, we both finished up with a Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout, which is a easy drinking sweet stout.

Cigar City Brewing is scheduled to open for tours next month, and I will definitely plan to make a pilgrimage there. This brewery has become my new favorite in the Tampa Bay area.

p.s. Kudos to Mellow Mushroom for having some really good tap lines. The beers always have a great pour and are very fresh. The food menu is excellent as well, especially the pizza, salads, and meatball appetizer.

Beer Review:

Jai Alai IPA; Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; India Pale Ale; ABV: 7.5. One of the smoothest tasting IPAs around. A nice balance of piney hops & malt.

Bolita Brown; Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL; English Brown Ale; ABV: 9.0. Comparable to classic English Brown Ales. Big nutty taste with hints of light chocolate, sweet malt, & caramel.

Maharaja; Avery Brewing Company; Boulder, CO; Imperial India Pale Ale; ABV: 10.5. An absolute hop monster, with a bold grapefruit taste and a nice dry finish.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Chico, CA; Barley Wine; ABV: 12.3. Classic barley wine. Complex & hoppy.

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout; Bell’s Brewery, Inc.; Kalamazoo, MI; Sweet Stout; ABV: 6.5. Smooth, very drinkable sweet stout.

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