American Brown Ale

Cigar City Brewing – Improv (Improvisaci√≥n)

Why hello there faithful readers. Another fine Thursday evening is upon us, and as usual I have a tasty brew close by. Tonight’s player is a little beauty named Improv, named after her improvised birth. She’s an “Oatmeal Rye India Style Brown Ale”. Now that’s a mouthful to say, and a hell of a lot going on in one beer. If anyone can pull it off though, it’s Cigar City. You may be interested to know they shortened the name to Improv, I was, but I’m weird like that. The label promises “a growing crescendum of taste bud temptation”, that sounds pretty damn good to me! Let’s get on with it then…

She’s a gorgeous girl alright, an extremely dark cocoa color with a vigorous helping of head. This is how I like my brown ales, dark as can be and generous with head. The foamy goodness leaves quite a bit of lacing as well, the perfect complement to a brew’s appearance IMAO. She’s a very attractive brew, but let’s test her aroma.

Ah, it’s a pleasantly surprising roasty aroma, very similar to many Russian Imperial Stouts. This immediately makes me happy, I’m a big fan of roasty, roasty stouts. The aroma hits you up front with the roasted malts, but it finishes with a sweeter note…as if to say: “Yes, I can live up to my name!”. Indeed,¬† the aroma doesn’t stop there either. She throws a healthy mix of piney, hoppy goodness in the scent for good measure. This creates an incredibly balanced yet complex aroma. I’m sold, let’s taste this beauty.

Well, they made good on their promise. It’s “a growing crescendum of taste bud temptation” alright. Truly she is a complex beauty, with many sides to her ever-changing personality. Incredibly, somehow, a balance is found between her many flavors and textures. She begins with a show of roasted malts that any fine stout would be proud to harbor, and then progresses gracefully to the sweeter side of her brown ale personality. Living up to her name, she throws a curve ball of hops at your taste buds once you swallow. And she finishes as any fine IPA would, with a lingering, but not overly strong, presence of hop bitterness. But let’s not forget the oatmeal rye, goodness no! It sets a beautiful body for these flavors, it’s slick from the rye while remaining extremely rich and full from the oatmeal. It’s an excellent companion to the multitude of flavors she contains.

Overall, this a is damn fine brew. Utterly complex, yet shockingly balanced. This baby lives up to each style in her own proud way. It’s as the label states, it’s all about the layers. It’s a shame I was only able to find one of these brews, I’d love to have her again some day. If you dig heavy beers with a lot of complexity, try to get some Improv.

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: American Brown Ale, Beer | Leave a comment

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