|Wayne Wambles in Cigar City Tasting Room Via Skype|
#CigarCityLive as it was called started with an hour-long taped tour of each part of the brewery. In the presentation, Wayne led us to different areas of the brewery, from the tasting room to the brewhouses to the laboratory. In each place, we stopped to sample a different Cigar City beer. Also during the video, each (mostly sold out) Total Wine classroom was encouraged during this hour to submit questions for Wayne to answer afterward.
|Ed Roberts gives the Tour Agenda|
The Question and Answer period took place over a sample of Invasion Pale Ale. We learned that Wayne became a homebrewer in the early 1990s simply because there were no good beers on the shelf in his small town in Alabama. After only a few years, he was already brewmaster of a small brewpub, with pale ales and IPAs his go-to style. Asked for particular inspirations, he mentioned Sierra Nevada, Harpoon IPA and Sun Valley IPA specifically.
That led to a question about producing more beer in their Humidor Series. Wayne explained that obtaining the Cedar wood they use is getting harder and harder, though they are trying. Other questions ranged from why they chose to can over bottle to how we craft beer drinkers can get involved with the recent legislative issues that took place in Florida. Wayne said, "Vote, and don't vote for people that vote against craft beer!" I'll have to find a list of those people online.
After the Q&A ended with Wayne, Ed introduced two more beers brewed by Cigar City. We tried Rollin Dirty Irish Red Ale and Are Wheat There Yet, two beers contracted for Brew Bus, a company that takes groups from brewery to brewery and serves beers along the way too! Our final bonus beer varied from store to store, but the Plantation store got to try Jurata (Yoo-rah-tuh), a Baltic Porter brewed in collaboration with Coronado Brewing in San Diego (the beer was brewed at Coronado). It was a great choice to finish off the night, as Wayne told us that they try to do collaborations frequently and it's "one of [his] favorite things to do."
The event was a hit! Well organized, informative, and of course it didn't hurt that we were drinking beer from one of the most popular breweries in the country. One day I'll make it to Tampa, but as local Cigar City representative Phil Palmisano teased from his chair in the Boynton Beach store, "This is your dream tour, you don't have to leave your county!" Well played! I look forward to the next virtual event. Whoever thought of this idea deserves a raise!