If you are luck enough to live where Cigar City is available, I’m now intensly jealous of you. While I love my New England breweries, every once and a while, something comes along that makes me long for more geographic freedom. This is one of those breweries.
I also have a quiet passion for farmhouse ales and saisons, which seem to be rare wonderful (albeit sometimes expensive) treats. I was lucky enough, though, that my Aunt Karen brought this one back for me from a trip. When I first saw a giant fish on the label I was skeptical… until I saw the tiny Cigar City label. Then I grinned from ear to ear. This is my first Cigar City brew – up until now I knew the Florida based brewery only by reputation.
The Sea Bass is described as a pugilistic dark-bodied Farmhouse Ale. So, I’ll take that to mean that it’s a dark Farmhouse ale with… some fight in it?
It pours a cloudy/murky dark brown (like dark chocolate in color- still brown, not quite black) and lots of foamy head. There is quite a bit of yeast/sediment in the bottle, too. The smell is exactly what I love about Farmhouse ales – that little undercurrent of vinegar shrouded in other things. A touch of yeast, some grapefruit almost, and fruit. But there is definitely a bit of tartness there, and it’s one of those brews that I would be content just to inhale for a while.
The taste doesn’t let me down, either. A fruity, almost spicy finish with a little bit of that vinegar tartness to round it off. Not drying, but really satisfying after each sip. A really nice example of a Farmhouse Ale, with just a little bit more deepness than its lighter-hued relations. It reminds me, vaguely of Catherine the Great or even La Folie, but not to the tart extremes that those two brews reach. It’s just – good. If you live in Florida, go get some… (sulks with envy).