Cigar City Brewing - Cucumber Saison

Cigar City Brewing - Cucumber Saison

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club


Farmhouse Saison


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Cigar City Brewing - Cucumber Saison

  • ABV:

  • Serving Temperature:

    45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pint Glass, Tulip or Oversized Wine Glass
Cucumber Saison is a farmhouse style ale brewed with, yes, cucumbers. Indeed, it was the first cucumber beer we’ve ever come across, and we suspect, will be yours as well. Pours an inviting, clear, medium-gold color, draped by a tightly-frothed, brilliantly white head. The aroma is surprisingly spicy, giving off notes reminiscent of chili beers (vegetal, pepper flesh), but at the core, there is an unmistakable note of freshly cut cucumber and honeydew melon. Also an intriguing note of dill pickles occupies quite a bit of the aroma spectrum. Notes of warm sweet bread jump out at us too. On the palate, clean, wet cucumber melon notes are very clearly articulated, as are notes of dill and a pretty aggressive saison-style spicy yeastiness. Look also for subtle earthy, barnyard-style funkiness in the background, as well as impressions of lemon. Suggestions of white pepper play a prominent role as well, making this about as close to having a salad in a beer bottle as one can imagine. It all might sound a bit oddball, but the flavor really is intensely refreshing, especially in these dog days of summer. Pick up as much as you can and go “Criss Angel-style” this summer by “freaking the minds”of your friends and family with your delicious cucumber beer. We had our doubts when we had the chance to try a beer made with cucumbers, even though we’re huge fans of Cigar City Brewing and their increasingly crafty brewing prowess. But this beer is absolutely worth trying, as there’s really nothing else like it out there. Aside from that, it’s damn fine beer. Cigar City Brewing does an incredible job of “essence transfer” from natural ingredients to their beers. Be it cedar, guava, pumpkin, or hops, it’s like they have a dedicated team of mad “scratch and sniff” sticker scientists hard at work capturing the core essence of featured ingredients into their beers. How they do it, we don’t know, but their efforts have always impressed us, and this go ‘round is certainly no exception.

Before mid-June, this beer had never before been bottled by the brewery, available only on draft at a festival or tap room here and there. After its first bottle release at the brewery, Cucumber Saison bottles sold out in a single day! Our members have the bulk of the earliest bottled batches. This rare brew will have limited distribution within Florida, hitting shelves there about the same time our members get it—but will remain a wildly sought after, hard to find treat. We’re happy to bring it to you. We and the brewery strongly advocate drinking this one fresh (within 1-2 months), as the cucumber notes will fade and change with time, taking on more pickled characteristics as the cucumber and saison spiciness get funky on each other.

Cigar City Brewing was founded a mere four years back, by Joey Redner, a Tampa native with a thing for beer. He’s owned a bar, sold beer at the retail, brewery and import levels, and has written about beer for several publications. A free spirit by nature, Joey tends to shun things like recipes, temperature gauges and gravity readings in favor of “flavor readings.” While this keeps him happy in his home brewing pursuits it doesn't always produce a consistent product at the commercial level. This is why Joey is happy to be working with Wayne Wambles, a man who grounds unfettered enthusiasm within a foundation of sound brewing practices.

In addition to beer, Joey is passionate about Cuban food and the colorful history of the city of Tampa—and the pair is working to contribute to that ongoing Tampa legacy by crafting some of the most exciting beers in the country today. In their first year of production brewing, they took home a Gold medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival—no small feat for a new brewery competing in a crowded microbrew marketplace.

Cigar City Head Brewer Wayne Wambles, a talented homebrewer turned pro, is all about creativity and experimentation. Cigar City Brewing’s small 15 barrel brewery gives him the flexibility to brew what he wants, how we wants, in very limited quantities.

Capitalizing on that flexibility, creativity and the mission of the brewery, he merged an element of the local traditions of Tampa, as the epicenter of cigar culture in the US, by aging beer on wood. Spanish Cedar is used extensively in the cigar industry, mainly as a lining for cigar boxes or humidors, where it has antimicrobial and anti-pest properties and helps to marry the flavor of different blends of tobacco in cigars. And Cigar City’s use of cedar is a bit different—it’s not added as chips, or in the form of a barrel (good luck finding a cedar barrel), but instead on spirals. This creative wood infusion method offers tremendous surface area and allows for lots of wood-on-beer contact. What we’re saying here, folks, is that Cigar City Brewing has got wood, and they’re not afraid to use it. But they use all sorts of interesting ingredients, including, if you can believe it, cucumber (often used in Cuban cooking), which is featured in this month’s Rare Beer.

Cigar City seeks to celebrate and integrate the culture and traditions of their hometown, and in the process, they are clearly creating a legacy of their own. Quote us on that, as you’ll be hearing more about this clever little brewery from Tampa.

For more information about Cigar City Brewing, check out their website at or give them a ring at (813) 348-6363 ext. 206.

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