Monday, August 5, 2013

Hill Farmstead Citra

The Hill Farmstead Citra is part of their single hop series of ales. This American pale ale closely resembles that of an IPA and is highly hopped with a characterfully fruity citrus hop, Citra. I went to the Farmhouse again to see what was on rotation and they continue to amaze me with a variety of Vermont craft beer on draught.

Alcohol Content: 5.5%
IBU: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: Citra

Price: $3.50/ Half; $6.50/ Full
Medium: Small wine glass/ stemmed sample glass

Aroma: Very hoppy for a pale ale, resembling more of an IPA. Citra hops give a unique citrus aroma closely resembling a tropical fruit or burst of mango juice. The malt profile is very well hidden by the hops and resembles a very pale sweetness. This can be described as a very clean maltiness and is commonly found in American IPA's. Another reason why defining it as a pale ale is a bit misleading. Even as the beer sits for a while malts remain in the background.
Appearance: Super hazy/ cloudy representing a dry-hopped and unfiltered ale. Long lasting white head remains in the short wine glass and leaves a heavy lace residue. Color is a mix of oranges and golden. Carbonation appears moderate/ appropriate. My impression is that this is fairly common with the Hill Farmstead's lineup of pale ales and IPAs in that they have been fairly hazy with a unique color.
Flavor: Semi-sweet pale malts with no distinct caramel or other specialty grains to separate this beer from other pale ale. A light graininess is quickly overrun by the beers focus - Citra hops. I describe the hoppyness as being funky, dank, and very fruity. As minutes go by with the beer in direct sunlight I noticed the hops become more potent, just barely changing the character of the beer (perhaps in warming it or direct chemical changes). Malty sweetness is low and barely supports the hops into the finish. Hops ultimately prevail in the end with a lingering dry fruitiness.
Mouthfeel: Moderately thin or lightly bodied with a forward dryness combines with a hoppy, resinous feel that coats the mouth. This remains mostly pleasant but perhaps not for a hop head. Alcohol is well hidden by the hops.
Overall Impression: I felt this was perhaps too hop-focused for a pale ale. I would have liked to see more from specialty grains that contribute to a more complex body and malty sweetness. Instead, the color, aroma, and flavor were all heavily favored towards the Citra hops - great for the name but perhaps misleading as a pale ale. I still tasted the clean hop bitterness for several minutes after finishing and cleansing with water, giving it that character some hop heads really enjoy.

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