In my 30+ years of existence, I never thought there would come a day when I used “litter box” as an adjective, let alone a positive one to describe the aroma of a beer. But for a big, fruity, juicy, grapefruit and lemon dominated nose like the one accompanying the hazy orange deliciousness that is Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA, it is a fitting description.
As a beer nerd, I was on the lookout for this beer leading up to our 2011 Walt Disney World trip. Cigar City Brewing doesn’t distribute Jai Alai anywhere around where I live, so I planned to seek it out in one of the liquor stores near WDW property so I could give it a try. But I got a pleasant surprise when; after a 17+ hour drive overnight from Pennsylvania, being unable to check into our hotel early, and being forced to sleepily trudge around Downtown Disney until Raglan Road opened for lunch; I was rewarded with Jai Alai right at the top of Raglan Road’s bottled beer list, and quickly thereafter in a glass next to my Bangers and Mash (NOTE: I forget if it was actually atop the list, but it makes for better storytelling. Go with it.). It was just what I needed – Dry and bitter with a solid malt backbone, lemon and grapefruit and mango shining through, blending nicely into a lingering, sticky bitter that latches itself to the back of your tongue like a 3-year-old who’s riding Pirates of the Caribbean but is afraid of the dark. Oh, and the 7.5% ABV did its job in aiding my post-drive afternoon nap. [Editor’s Note: Jai Alai IPA is no longer available at Raglan Road, but it remains widely available at Walt Disney World. A full list of locations where it is currently available is below].
For me, Jai Alai is one of those hidden gems that’s actually available rather readily throughout property. It flies a bit under the radar since it has a limited distribution (only 6 states), and unless you know to look for it, can get lost in the variety of offerings at the World. If you’re an IPA fan, be sure to look for it. You can get Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA just about anywhere. Be sure to enjoy this local Florida beer while at WDW.
David Juart’s Rating for Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai IPA
Aroma 8/10 Appearance 3/5 Taste 8/10 Palate 4/5 Overall 18/20
Can from House of 1000 Beers. Pours hazy orange with filmy, white head. Huge hop nose, litter box., lemon and orange. Dry and bitter, nice malt back bone, lemon and orange, lingering sticky bitter. Clean and ridiculously drinkable
Check out a list of over 1000 beer ratings from David Juart over at ratebeer.com.
According to Beers and Ears, Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA is currently available at the following Walt Disney World locations:
Beach Pool Bar (Grand Floridian); Captain’s Grille (Yacht Club); Citrico’s (Grand Floridian); Crew’s Cup Lounge (Yacht Club); ESPN Club (BoardWalk); Laguna Bar (Coronado Springs); Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner (Hollywood Studios); Territory Lounge (Wilderness Lodge); The Wave of American Flavors (Contemporary); Top of the World Lounge (Contemporary); Whispering Canyon Café (Wilderness Lodge); Yachtsman’s Steakhouse (Yacht Club)