TRP visited Cigar City Brewing in April of 2012. This had been a destination for us for a while now and was the one brewery we couldn’t miss visiting before we left the state of Florida. We had been able to try their Maduro Brown Ale before at beer fests but heard they had much more to offer and we heard right.
Cigar City started their brewery in 2008 with just two goals ”The first to make the world’s best beer and the second to share with people near and far the fascinating culture and heritage of the Cigar City of Tampa”. In a rather short period of time they have established themselves as a brewery that is constantly putting out innovative beers. Their legendary Hunahpu Imperial Stout is brewed with a combination cocoa, vanilla, and chili’s is released just once a year at the brewery.
As far as the goal of sharing Tampa’s culture and heritage, all of their beer names use local themes. Maduro’s name borrows from Tampa’s cigar manufacturing history and the Jai Alai IPA is named after the popular Spanish sport that used thrive in the area. The success of Cigar City has helped to revitalize the Tampa beer scene that now features 9 breweries with several more on the way.
CCB takes great pride in their tasting room and boast that it has been a big factor in the success they have had. It is open seven days a week and is open longer than a lot tasting rooms which allows locals and visitors alike plenty of opportunity to stop by and try some beers that you wouldn’t get to try elsewhere. When we visited they featured 17 taps of their own beer and and additional 5 for guest beers.
I would recommend the Vanilla Maduro to any one who will listen but all of their beers are solid.
Tip: Wear closed toe shoes when you take the tour. Anyone wearing open toed shoes have to wear bags on their feet for the duration of the tour.