If Citra hops were human, heat magazine would write about them every week. On other pages you’d see vital statistics comparing them with Nelson Sauvin, showing how the beau of 2010 is outshone by the star of 2011 (they might also point towards rising anitpodean wannabes to watch out for in 2012). It seems that almost everyone is now brewing a beer with Citra in it, but I don’t know if I like the hop that much.
Used to give a burst of the juiciest fruit in the world, Citra is delicious and unrivalled, with so much citrus and tropical fruit, but use them in large volumes and the opposite starts to happen with an intense clawing bitterness, a feral sharpness like cat’s piss (of course I’ve tried it, otherwise how could I legitimately tell you it tastes like that...) and often a dirty earthiness, like eating a muddy mango. I’ve also had a couple of Citra beers which have been unmistakeable thanks to a lime flavour jutting through the middle. Lime is ok, it adds a poke of fragrant citrus to a beer, but the trouble I’ve found is that it’s so intense that my tongue thinks it’s going to taste sour and instead along comes bitterness. It’s confusing, it’s challenging and it’s also a little bit weird.
Fyne Ales' Jarl is the best example of using Citra that I’ve tasted. Some others come close, including Oakham’s, but there’s also a niggling dirtiness left at the back of the throat, a rasping kick which makes it very clear that this is a product of the earth, and it’s that which I don’t like much.
Is Citra the king of the kettle or a one hit wonder to be quickly replaced with something new?