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Cigar City Brewing
Active Beers: 215
Beer Ratings: 23,716
Beer Avg: 3.89
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar ]
3924 West Spruce St
phone: (813) 348-6363
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-26-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 134 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
I'll put this simply: I wish I lived closer to Cigar City.
The Atmosphere is top-notch. There's a bar up front to sit at where I've seen some bottle shares going down, and that's where you can order growlers and pay for your beer. This then opens up in the back to the main bar where they have their tapped offerings with a decent amount of seating.
The Quality is perfect. It's a clean, comfortable bar area serving world-class beer.
The Service has always been fantastic. I was able to talk to one of their bartenders for a good 10 minutes when I was learning about their beers and their release schedule because it was a non-crowded Sunday afternoon. He was very knowledgeable and helped recommend some tapped beers that I really enjoyed.
The Selection is incredible. They normally have 20+ beers on tap that includes their regular lines, occasionally some special brews, and they normally have a couple one-off batches as well, for example the Pineapple Right-Side Up Lager the last time I was there. They also have some glasses and other swag.
They don't serve food, but often on the weekends they'll have a food truck. They had a burger food truck outside the first time I went, and it was delicious.
I luckily took a job in Sarasota recently, so I get to visit here a couple times a year now. I'll be sure to visit every single time I'm in town. This is the quintessential example of what a brewpub should be.
09-24-2013 14:50:10 |
More by smartassboiler
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
This was my second time at the brewery, with the first being about 2 years ago. I remember a good selection of draft beers back then, along with some very tasty brews on tap (110k+OT, Zhukov's, etc), friendly staff and an open atmosphere and good prices. Things have since changed.
Firstly, Cigar City has expanded a LOT since my first visit. There is an entirely new tasting room, with no less than 24 different beers on tap. Regular offerings, Marshal Zhukov's, nitro stouts with coffee, sours, strange flavors, you name it and they have something for you to try. Talk about variety to choose from! The original room is now primary a retail area and growler filling station, with a few coolers of bottles to pick through. There is a gentleman from Cuba who sits at a station and hand-wraps cigars from imported tobacco leaves, which are taken for aging and then displayed and sold in the tasting room (a synergistic marketing partnership I would say). The tour guide was excellent and had some candid thoughts on the brewery's history, line of thinking, etc. Samples on the tour were generous and it was extremely affordable (~$5), as is most everything in the tasting room. I did have to sit through a list of how many awards they had won and a bit of bitter rumination from the guide about the beers that beat them out in certain competitions. Not fans of losing an award really it seems. I did have the opportunity to meet the owner who was popping open a 4-pk of The Alchemist's Heady Topper in the tasting room. Joey seemed like a nice enough guy and a half glass was happily shared (even when a sip is all that was requested) so I tip my cap to Joey for keeping the "beer is for sharing" philosophy alive, even when its the #1 BA rated beer at stake. What I am noticing though is that, despite saturation issues with product volume in FL, there are other developments with this brewery that mirror the craft beer "black market" snobbery that is so distasteful these days. I also noted some MASSIVE swings in the quality of the brews that Cigar City is putting out, from the fantastic, wooden delight White Oak Jai Alai to the ash tray and cedar pond water that they tapped on cask called a Humidor Marshal Zhukov's. They are pushing the boundaries of beer for sure, but they do not seem to know when to say uncle and toss something that tastes nasty either. I will leave the tasting notes to the beer reviews though.
I guess with success in the craft beer industry comes a bit of nose lifting too. Cigar City keeps a stock of items which are not for sale to the general public until the Catador's have had their share and only if there is anything left over. This is perfectly legit. However, how they handle inquiring minds who are interested in their more esoteric brews says a lot about your brewery too, especially when you have to turn folks down. It is better customer service not to set out a bunch of items in full display to all customers and then to explain that they dont qualify to purchase these items on display. A bit more tactful to seperate these from the retail shop displays, but this is minor. On my last trip by before leaving town, I dropped by to pick up a bottle of the Forgotten Island quad (aged in Rum barrels), of which there were 18-20 left for sale in the fridge earlier in the day (and had been that way all week). I asked if they had any bottles left and was told that the last bottle had been sold today, which is believable I guess, until you see four to five cases of the bottles sitting behind the counter, some of which are sweating from having been pulled from the fridge to make room for the less popular Gentleman's Club co-op with Widmer that was being loaded earlier that day by an employee. When I inquired about those bottles, there was a bit of a snarky "we have no more for sale" reply, and that was the end of that. Several bottles of the 2013 batch of 110k+OT were visibly sitting around, although the bartender/growler filler lady was happy to inform me that all 110k+OT was sold out to Catadors within 20 minutes of release this year and that all of the bottles had been picked up already. I pointed out the four bottles in question and the bartender promptly retrieved them and placed them under the bar. My experiences were at times similar in the tasting room, with Catadors coming in to brag about the beer they had which was being traded to get other brews or sold for massive profits, without any signs of discomfort from the staff. Lots of younger folks coming in with the an air of importance and lots of friends to brag about their "CCB" conquests too. All in all, I was disappointed that the craft beer industry pretention seems to be soaking in to the staff and also the crowd with this brewery, even if the head honcho does not seem to be too caught onto it. Make no mistake though, the brewery is no slouch and their creativity does result in some incredible beers.
09-16-2013 18:27:41 |
More by blackcoyote13
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Great Tasting Room w/ plenty of unique CCB beers on draught. Will definitely visit whenever I'm in the Tampa area. I did a beer flight (only $6-$8) to try as many new things as possible, and bought a few 750mL bottles on the way out. They offer free tours multiple times a day (register online), which I will be doing on my next visit.
09-11-2013 14:59:17 |
More by jme015
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in here for some beers before the Ottawa v Tampa hockey game.
Two bars with plenty of space and an industrial feel to the space with the brewery on the other side of the wall. Open and welcoming with a long main bar. Shuffleboard table as well.
All beers were very fresh and tasty, served in appropriate glassware. No complaints about quality in any regard.
Bartenders were helpful enough, but I didn't have too many questions. Service was prompt. No table service.
Lot's of taps with brewery only stuff and things that don't get bottled.
Merchandise and glassware were available as well.
Overall I enjoyed my time at Cigar City. Lot's of new stuff to try and it seemed like a well run taproom.
09-10-2013 15:05:04 |
More by tbeckett
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | $$
Visited back in January 2013. Stopped in to drink some Jai Alai and BA Big Sound.
Has the feel of a warehouse at first, but if you step further into the taproom, it starts to feel like a pretty typical taproom. We came on a Sunday morning so it wasn't terribly crowded, plus I imagine people were at the Bucs game that weekend. Still, the atmosphere was solid, not overwhelming and a lot of fun. We went on the tour with Ian and it was very entertaining! Fun to get a taste of the young mead in the secondary tank.
The beer itself was excellent- we had a whole bunch between all 4 of us- Jai Alai, White Oak Jai Alai, BA Big Sound, Invasion Pale Ale, Maduro, etc. a lot of styles represented on the large screen TVs listing the offerings and $5 a pour is quite reasonable.
They also have beer to go, and Ian would tell you that the 3-tier system sucks because they make the beer, sell it to the distributor, then buy it back so they can sell it at the brewpub. Hilarious, overall a fun day that was informative and allowed me to enjoy a bunch of CCB brews, some of which I have been trading for ever since.
09-04-2013 21:23:53 |
More by Stevedore
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
The brewery that started me out on the craft path. I absolutely love the place. Go all the time after work and on weekends. Doesn't try to be a bar or a hip place. Just simply a brewery that is great to hang out with friends in a relatively quiet environment. Sometimes it can take a while to get a beer, but that is mainly since it is so popular. Have a cafe and food trucks that are great. Always a ton of different beers on tap, guest taps, and at 5$ a pint a very reasonable price. Couldn't ask for much more.
09-02-2013 13:46:49 |
More by TheChef18
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Amazing food amazing people. Amazing beer the staff is super kind and they always have good beers and special treatments on tap. Always have cans and bottles for sale. And the have a lot of good beer available to go in growlers as well. One of the best brewery's In the us. Hands down
08-21-2013 17:16:23 |
More by jokermanboy
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | $$
Drove down to acquire my Brandy BA Hunu, well worth the drive. Had some of the great Jai Alai variants on tap, their new one twigs 'n' berries is fantastic. Great brew pub, which is fitting for the best brewery in amarrica! Only slight turn off was the to-go availability was pretty weak, but I had what I came for so I wasn't too upset.
08-19-2013 01:37:55 |
More by aMILESupreme
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Don't know why I'm inspired to write a review of CCB today, but after being there countless times (and realizing I've never reviewed *any* places) I figured I'd do it.
The new tasting room is much bigger, and seems more friendly and inviting to the customers who aren't completely focused on the beer and nothing else. Plus, you don't have to explain to the new people that "Yeah, you are really supposed to go out into the brewery to find the bathrooms." The dual bar system can be a little confusing to first-timers, but is easy enough to navigate once you understand the premise. My biggest complaint about the new bar is the lack of a designated walk-up area like the older bar (now Lauter Tun bar) has. It can make getting a beer without a seat at the bar a treacherous and frustrating experience when the place is really busy. The line at the old bar could get long, but at least you knew you were all getting served in order. I'm giving the service score a bit of knock for this reason - not because of the bartenders themselves.
The bartenders are generally very friendly and knowledgeable, and the place is always open to people having bottle-shares, whether impromptu or planned. And don't be afraid to share some pours with the employees - they are great reciprocators.
Quality of the beer? World-class. If you had any doubt of that, you probably wouldn't be reading this review. And beyond their regular offerings and special bottle releases, there is almost always a couple (and usually several) one-off brews or special treatments available on tap, or nitro, or a weekend cask that feel like you've just gotta try them.
They've been good about rotating in food trucks for the weekend crowd, which as expected run the gamut from mediocre to wonderful, but it's a nice addition to the experience if you're feeling hungry while you're there. I have yet to have an occasion to try the new Corner Café.
It's generally a centerpiece to any beer traveler's trip around the greater Tampa area, and that accolade is earned by much more than it's geographic location. Enjoy your visit!
08-18-2013 17:38:43 |
More by macrosmatic
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | $$$
Made this the last stop on a vacation. Arrived on a Saturday afternoon and the place was packed. The two bars are set up well and easily list all offerings.
Service was slow due to the volume. They have a paper you fill out for flights, but we had to ask to know that was the deal. It took 15 minutes to get our pours, but the bartenders were professional and clearly busy.
Full selections including Zuhkovs which just sold out in bottles at the shop. I was able to buy Good Gourd and some cans to take home, and the flight was top notch.
Pricing was a bit high but given the quality and what was offered it was easily worth it.
A must visit and a bucket list trip for any craft beer traveler. Highlight of our trip.
08-04-2013 23:38:49 |
More by socon67
Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL
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