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.
I’ll be honest with you, there’s not much beer in my fridge at the moment. With summer in full swing, my time has been occupied with a variety of things, including preparing for an upcoming vacation. So, this week’s selection was one I found on the back of a shelf, a loner from a mystery grab bag I purchased two months ago – what can I say, I like to live life dangerously – and it’s New Belgium Brewing Company’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA, from Fort Collins, Colorado.
New Belgium is a brewery I’m abundantly familiar with, thanks in part to one of the easiest drinking beers you’ll find anywhere and perhaps the company’s most recognizable effort – Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale. Dreamt up in 1988 on a trip to Belgium, owner Jeff Lebesch returned to Colorado with recipe ideas and a handful of ingredients and embarked on homebrewing in his basement. With the help of his wife, Kim Jordan, Lebesch took his homebrew commercial in 1991 and, for more than 25 years, New Belgium has been cranking out world-class beers, having fun while doing it, and in the process grown to the fourth largest brewery of craft beer in the United States. That fun has translated into a whole slew of awards, including a variety of medals at the Great American Beer Festival, which held in their home state.
These days, New Belgium has upwards of 20 year-round beers and a handful of seasonals to complement the lineup and while it’s the newly created Voodoo Ranger series – consisting of several different IPA offerings – that has been getting the attention, and rightfully so, Citradelic is slowly gaining traction since it’s only been a year-round for a little over two years. Because of Voodoo Ranger’s market saturation, Citradelic might’ve flown under your radar – I know it did for me until that grab bag.
Citradelic is listed as a well-balanced IPA. It’s a 6.0 percent alcohol by volume beer that contains Nugget, Crystal, Centennial, Azzaca, Cascade, Citra, Chinook, Galaxy, Mandarina Bavaria and Simcoe hops, which gives it a 50 on the International Bitterness Unit scale. The focus of this beer is less about the bitterness, however, and more about the fruit undertones, as the label clearly highlights the citrusy marriage:
Tune in and hop out with New Belgium Citradelic. Set adrift on a kaleidoscopic wave of hoppiness brought to you by a mystical marriage of Citra hops and tangerine peel, which elevates each sip onto a plane of pure tropical, fruity pleasure. Citradelic’s namesake hop and fruit combine to jam with visions of additional hops like citrusy Mandarina Bavaria, tropical Azzaca, and fruity Galaxy for a colorful explosion that’s grounded by just a touch of malty sweetness. Bored by the status quo? Expand your palate with a pour of Citradelic.
Before I cracked open this beer, I really wasn’t sure what to expect and, in fact, I was pessimistic. While I don’t mind some of the infused fruit beers available, I certainly don’t seek them out because I found that rarely are these beers crafted with efficiency. The worst might be the standard blood orange IPA, one that I have found is almost never as satisfying as I anticipate because of too much haze, too many bitter hops, or simply not enough of the citrus flavor. That’s fully what I anticipated here, though often it’s simply meant as an undertone.
As I began to pour Citradelic, I was immediately treated to the aroma of citrus, some pine and what I think might have been a little pineapple, though it was a tough to discern. It poured like any medium-bodied beer would in that specific type of glass, with a thin white head that gave way to a golden color. On my first sip, I got a little of the sweetness of the citrus immediately, though on the back-end the flavor was a little more on the bitter side – maybe bitter isn’t the right word here. Either way, it left a taste in my mouth that was less than preferable and I wasn’t thrilled to take another sip, despite how smooth the beer proved to be. The subsequent sip proved much of the same, with a lackluster citrus taste that made way for a finished that I didn’t care too much for, to be honest.
Citradelic is a beer that I could only drink one or two of in a sitting, despite how easy it goes down. It’s certainly not something that I would seek out when I’m out at the bar or picking up a six pack because, as I was worried about beforehand, it simply can’t mesh the citrus with the qualities of an IPA well. Maybe it’s just me though and I always expect too much? If you’re looking to pick some up, it’s not super hard to find and retails for a little over $10 for a sixer. The overall score for this beer on BeerAdvocate is a 3.84 (out of 5) which I definitely think is high, as I would only give it a 4.9 (out of 10).
Stay tuned in two weeks, after my vacation, to see what I find.