Nomad Brewing/ Cigar City Berry Cubana

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I gotta say, this thing was sold to me when i saw the name ‘Cigar City’ on the label. For those unaware of the Cigar City brand, they are basically Florida legends specialising in the local flavour: tobacco and latino culture. This comes out in all of their brews in brilliant style, one that particularly sticks out for me was a collab they did with Amager Bryghus. Rich cigar tobacco, cherry wood, cinnamon and dark chocolate. Complex and dry.
This brew in particular continues on Nomads recent run of collaborations from Good Beer Week, with brewing heavy weights such as Birra Del Borgo and Victory also contributing to the collar run. This brew once again aims to be true to local produce, using Riberry in the brewing process. Used as a bush food, riberry is a rich and spicy red fruit reminiscent of cranberry, cinnamon and clove. Sounds perfect for a brown ale!

Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 6.0%
IBU: 30
From: Low Buy Liquor, Lilydale

Pour:
Pours a dark brown with touches of deep amber and a fluffy, compact light brown head.

On The Nose:
Plenty of burnt caramel on the nose with fresh roasted coffee, toffee, roasted cocoa and touches of clove. As it starts to come to room temperature I’m getting light sweet red fruit characters: think cranberry, redcurrant and red cherries. Nose finishes with a pithy, tobacco dryness reminiscent of lime and grapefruit.

Palate:
Palate is packed with tasty, roasty malt characters: roasted coffee, bitter dark chocolate (I’m talking the proper 90% stuff…), burnt toffee and cedar/ cherry wood characters. Getting notes of dried red fruits such as our old friend cranberry and touches of cherry and raisin. Lingering sweet spices tie the palate all together delivering a medium body: clove, nutmeg and candied ginger finishing off bone dry.

Final Thoughts:
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to cruise Miami, Florida in a Cadillac with a big, rich stogie? I’d kinda imagine it’s like this beer…A seriously dry, complex brown ale. It was a really interesting brew to watch change over time and see it develop. The addition of the riberry provides a much needed touch of sweetness: cinnamon, clove and red fruits play off tobacco, cedar and dry roasted coffee. A fantastic collaboration as you can really see the touches of both the brewers and that’s what should be at the heart of every shared brew. Seriously tasty.

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What I’ve learned so Far…

It’s been a long time since I posted here, and with good reason. It’s been a massive six months of moving house and moving in to a new job, and it is pretty much my dream job: Working for a brewery. With it has come a massive learning curve but it has also reinforced with me a lot of ideas that I knew were important, but never as important as they are to me now.  So here is what I have learned from my time so far:

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  • Style is important 

This is a surprising one to me for some reason. Since I started, I was typically one of those beer nerds that was always looking for the next hot thing, the next oddity, but since I have dealt with the same range for a while and benchmarked it, style has become a massive factor for me. I find myself going back to look at a lot of beers and seeing them as a style and not just for the the brewery name on the bottle or how many adjuncts can be put before IPA or Stout and I’ve been surprised by how many can miss the mark. I’d rather have an awesome pale ale that hits the mark.

  • Freshness isn’t just talk

Seeing how a beer changes over time has been the biggest thing I have witnessed. Seeing a beer come fresh from the tank only to see it change to something else in the space of a few months is unbelievable. We brewed a certain something- something for Good Beer Week this year and how it’s looking now is nothing like how it started, it is now missing a lot of what made it great. It has been a bizarre experience. So, basically, what i’ve learned is you need to sell everything before it’s even brewed… Freshness isn’t a ploy used to sell more beer, it’s a real factor that needs to be considered. So drink fresh.

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  • Education is still important

People are starting to catch on to the craft beer movement but that doesn’t mean we should get complacent. The good word of craft beer still needs to be spread and the punters still need to be educated on the difference and quality between craft beer producers and the brews coming from the big, industrial, not so crafty types. To some, beer is just beer and it falls to us to shake that trend.

  • You can’t Win them all…

As important as education is, you will not win everyone around. The amount of people that come through our cellar door and don’t seem to understand what it is we are going or struggle to understand the difference is frustrating but they are far outweighed by the people that do already drink craft and do get it. Taste, as we all know, is extremely subjective, so don’t lose heart.
Reviews are also a big one. People won’t always love what you’re doing and you have to learn to not take it to heart, even if want to get in their face and tell them why what they say is wrong…

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  • Support Local

Becoming part of the craft beer community has been the most rewarding part of the new job. Getting to know everyone, learning their stories and sharing love for craft beer is what it is all about so that is why I believe supporting local is the most important part of this list. The amount of local breweries and craft beer bottle shops  is constantly growing and all of them are producing and selling amazing beers, so go out there, get to know them, their range and their philosophy. The more you talk to the producers, the better your understanding will be and the more you will learn. It all starts with your local brewer or craft shop, go out there and support them.