I’m a self-professed hophead. I love crushing hops in myhands to smell them. I love learning about them. And there’s a few specific varieties that are absolutely my bag; Simcoe, Galaxy, Mosaic, Mandarina Bavaria, Chinook, & of course, Citra. Up to this point, my favorite Citra beer has been Oakham Ales’ Citra Pale Ale. It was one of the very few pure Citra beers we have available in our market. Then, the Wexicans turned up. And they weren’t taking any prisoners, ready to turn the dial up to 11 a-lá Spinal Tap.
I don’t think people can fully understand how much I love Citra as a hop in Pale Ales. Sure, Cascade is alright (I honestly think its over-rated in what it brings to a beer personally), but Citra for me is one of the greatest lupuline rock stars ever. I think it’s like the W. Axl Rose of hop varieties.
One thing you can never ever say about Yellowbelly beers is that their packaging is boring. It’s vivid AF. I love the fact this beer’s can comes in Yellowbelly’s bright, warm yellow. And their ever-present YellowBelly character, who I just think is as cool as it gets with that ‘by-gone-era’ look, that I’ve seen recently in WWE’s tag team, The Vaudevillains – which is comedy gold.
Sure, it’s kitsch. But, that’s what makes it fun. And beer SHOULD be fun. It shouldn’t take itself too seriously. Beer is art. Art is art. And art is meant to be enjoyed however you choose to enjoy it. It’s deeply personal & subjective. Pouring a wonderful amber-orange colour, it’s great to see Pale Ale stretched beyond its traditional definition.
Once in the glass, the head on the beer is generous. And it’s fluffy, inviting & has huge wafts of citrus & passionfruit up from the glass like fans ina rock gig audience holding up a giant banner. THIS is what I want from a citra beer; those passionfruit citrus notes being a fully fledged, hyperactive part of the show there to enjoy themselves.
And then there’s that first taste. Sure, some folks of late are dialling up the bitterness in Pale Ales, but honestly – if I wanted an IBU monster, I’ll have a Pale Ale. To me, Pale Ales should be the inverse of an IPA; not alot of bitterness, & a nose on them that should resemble a fruity moshpit like GnR are turning out a loud rendition of ‘Easy‘.
And this pale ale does exactly that. The bitterness is mild, the maltyness is subdued like its kicking back with a giant spliff, candles going & ‘Patience’ playing in the background. But, that fruitiness in the beer is there. And it’s playing the opening notes to ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ … dannnaaannnaanannaa …. dannnaaannnaanannaa …. dannnaaannnaanannaa …..
Every single facet of this beer is like classic Guns N’ Roses. It’s timeless, effortlessly cool & a real bad fuck-you-attitude that is top-hat-Les-Paul-cigarette-in-mouth Slash-type cool. It’s fucking glorious.