Arbor Ales Citra is this week’s Beer of the Weekend, I first came across this beer on tap during an afternoon visiting some of the pubs in Bristol and ever since have been looking out for it – this weekend I came across it once again but this time in bottles.
Single hope beers seem to be the beer the cool brewers are brewing at the moment, a bit like the ageing of strong beers in liquor and wine casks. The style highlights the flavour of a single hop and on initial thought should be quite dull in comparison to those beers which blend their hops – but for some reason they really work. Citra is a strong and often dominating American hop, I actively seek this hop out as I really like the flavour, so to find a beer which is brewed exclusively using Citra is always a joy.
The nose is an explosion of citrus and grassy hops. The initial taste is citrus, lemon zest and grapefruit, this initial hit fades a little for a mellow grapefruit middle with mango and strong bitter overtones, the lull in the middle slides into the grassy and citrus hops leaving a warm bitter grapefruit after-taste.
I really like Arbor Ales Citra, the single hop style suits this hop, this beer is really one for the hopheads and showcases the flavours which you come to associate with American hops and IPAs. The decision by Arbor Ales to brew Citra as a stronger IPA is a really sensible one as it allows the full character of the hop to be shown off, I think it would taste strange if brewed as a weaker hoppy beer. The light malting of this beer lets the hop shine through, if it weren’t for the fact that this beer is supposed to be all about the hops I would suggest a little more malt flavour – but that might take some of the bang away from the hops.
Now onto the bad news, sadly Arbor have a tendency to brew one-offs and their single hop selection is usually in that category. However they have been known to -rebrew a single hop beer and this beer is still available if you hunt it out. If you have been trying the beers of the weekend so far then this will be the first beer you may find a little more challenging to find but it will be worth it. If you like beers such as Thornbridge Jaipur or Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop then Arbor Ales Citra is a beer for you.
As Arbor Ales Citra is a strong IPA (6.5%ABV) and has a very bitter astringent flavour I would recommend it as a one off rather than a session beer. To fully enjoy the hops this beer should be drunk at room temperature, I would not recommend chilling it as you may lose some of the beer’s character and that would be a shame.
Arbor Ales brew many interesting beers, if you like Citra then it is worth tracking down some of their others. Check out the Arbor Ales website for information on what they are brewing or take a trip to Bristol where their beers are often available.