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Thirsty Thursday: Funk Brewing Company’s Triple Citrus

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Photo by Ed Miller

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.

As things continue to fluctuate, so does the beer scene throughout the country.  Breweries are finding ways to keep drinkers coming back for more, whether it’s with outside seating, specialty collaborations or simply making a more robust version of one of its staple beers.  That’s the case for this week’s effort, as a friend of mine got wind of Funk Brewing Company’s Triple Citrus a while back and, because he was eagerly awaiting its release, grabbed a four-pack before its speedy sell out – and he was kind enough to save me one for my Thirsty Thursday review.

Founded in 2014 by Jon Norman and his brother-in-law Kyle Funk in Emmaus, Pennsylvania – just outside of Allentown – Funk is a hop-head’s destination, focusing on brewing unique IPAs.  I have had one or two of their efforts in the past, as my local bar sometimes offers it and I can find a small amount of Funk’s brewing footprint at my local beer store, usually just the year-rounds.  As per the brewery’s website, there are two year-round efforts, Citrus IPA and Silent Disco IPA, and then there’s close to a dozen limited releases slated throughout the calendar year.  Triple Citrus wasn’t listed, so it might’ve been a surprise to those who frequent the brewery regularly.

Triple Citrus is a more behemoth version of the year-round effort – as well as it’s big brother, Double Citrus.  Double Citrus, an 8.0 percent ABV Imperial IPA, is a beer that gained a lot of traction locally, so why not take the next step and make it a Triple IPA?  Described as the biggest IPA Funk has ever made, Triple Citrus is a hefty 10.0 percent ABV Triple IPA brewed with orange peel that is “dripping with oily hop resin and deep citrus flavors.”  Unfortunately, there’s no mention of what specific hops were used to make this effort.  Funk also notes that it has a bright body and a bittersweet finish that lingers with some warm alcohol.

The label for this special release is fairly simple, but fits right into Funk’s wheelhouse, offering a funky kind of 1970s vibe with a predominantly red, yellow and blue theme and the brewery’s name front and center.  There’s no explanation of what I’m about to drink on these 16-ounce cans, which is a little bit of a bummer, but overall I think it would be eye-catching on store shelves.  But explanations and backstories and labels aren’t what’s most important – it’s the beer.  And I was pretty eager to pop open this can, examine it and see just how it compares other Triple IPAs.

Like most weeks, I started with the aroma.  With a highly-touted citrus beer like this one, it’s best to enjoy a massive whiff while the beer is still in the can, so all of the smell is locked in there.  What I got was nothing short of magnificent.  It was bursting with enticing aroma, smelling abundantly juicy with strong tropical and citrus notes such as orange, mango, grapefruit and tangerine.  Underneath that was some earthy and dank hints, all of which came together nicely.

The pour might not have been quite as awesome as the aroma but it was solid.  It poured a vibrant gold color, with a little bit of orange and some haze mixed in there as well.  I liberally dumped it into my IPA glass to get some head, however I only got about two fingers worth.  That might have been a little disappointing but ultimately didn’t tell the tale of this beer’s carbonation, as it proved to be well-executed on that front, with a fizz and retention lasting towards the end.

Teetering more towards the end of the medium-body spectrum, Triple Citrus definitely had a hint of that hop oil in the mouthfeel department and it also came into play with the flavor.  Sip after sip, I gained a little more understanding of the complexity of this particular beer’s taste, noting a robust citrus flavor brought on by the hops, especially the orange peel and the tangerine, at which point it makes way for a dankness that triggers a boozy, warm, bitterness on the back-end.  I’ve had my fair share of Triple IPAs and my biggest complaint is always how boozy they are, almost to the point that I can’t even enjoy the beer.  Here, that booziness is there but it’s a quick dose and that’s it – a true sign Funk knows what it’s doing.

There’s not a lot of drinkability with Triple Citrus but with a monster IPA like this one, there shouldn’t necessarily be.  I could drink two in one sitting at most and that’s saying something because it’s rare a Triple IPA will warrant that kind of response.  Would I reach for this one often, probably not, but I would set it aside as a specialty beer to enjoy with a fine cigar or for poker night with the boys – Triple Citrus is much more of a treat than an every Saturday date.  I was worried that it would be all booze and it wasn’t, truly one of the best in this style I’ve had recently.

This Funk effort is a ghost on BeerAdvocate, so there’s nothing to really compare my score to.  I would give Triple Citrus a 8.2 out of 10.  The aroma is flat-out awesome and although the pour didn’t woo me, it was still Instagram-worthy. The overall flavor certainly impressed, walking a tightrope between being too boozy and getting the citrusy hop taste to pop.  If you like beers hoppy with a nice shot of boozy warmth, this might be one that needs to be on your radar.  Either way, it’s clear Funk knows how to concoct a Godzilla-level hoppy beer.

Stay tuned next week, because I might try something from your favorite brewery.