It’s time to make my “triumphant return” after a rather lazy, unforced hiatus, and what better way to do that than with a local Florida beer? Since it came out a couple years ago, Cubano Espresso has been one of my favorite Cigar City beers. Brewed with coffee from Mazzaro Italian Market, cacao and vanilla, it packs a lot of flavor punch for what would otherwise be a relatively modest brown ale at 5.5% ABV.
One whiff in the snifter, and it’s plain to tell exactly where this is going. It smells like a mocha latte – you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a glass of iced coffee. I get no hint of “beer” at all, which could be a little off-putting but for the fact that I love the aroma of coffee. And this smells like good coffee, too – like cold brew-at-Panther Coffee good.
Taste follows aroma. No doubt, this is a coffee-forward beer, and easy to predict whether someone will like it or not. Coffee fans will, coffee haters won’t – it’s that simple. The chocolate and vanilla help lend an impression of sweetness, which leads to a remarkably clean, mineral-dry finish I like. It’s still not the most refreshing beverage out there, but with that dryness and low ABV, it’s an easy drinker. I’ve already worked through the 4-pack I bought a few weeks ago, which is high praise considering my beer-ADD.
I could see this going well with grilled meats, with a little char – think that would tie in with the coffee. Alternatively, drink it with dessert instead of a cup of coffee! Maybe not so much with fruity desserts, but anything chocolate/vanilla oriented.