Barrio Brewing company in Tucson Arizona has crafted a fantastic India Pale Ale featuring Citra Hops, the hop darling of beer brewers and drinkers everywhere. Coming in at 6.6% Alcohol by volume (ABV) with 68 International Bittering Units (IBU’s), this beer is an excellent expression of both the IPA style and the ever-increasing quality of Arizona’s microbrewing community.
The first impression of any beer is the color. Citrazona IPA pours beautifully, with creamy foam and gorgeous copper color. It is slightly cloudy, but that can be expected with some IPA’s. I find cloudiness is sometimes an indication of a more substantial mouthfeel. The carbonation was perfect. I didn’t find it to be overly effervescent.
The aroma of this beer was delightful, and both the hops and malt shone through in the nose. The initial aroma components were precisely what you would expect from Citra hops. Tangerine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon burst out the glass. As I continued to explore the aroma profile, the malt components came to the fore. Lovely aromas of burnt sugar and treacle, along with a delicate herbal component. I was slightly disappointed that the malt aromas competed with the Citra Hop Aroma. That was mostly an issue with what I have come to expect when drinking a beer with Citra Hops.
The flavor did not disappoint. The beer was perfectly balanced, without too much sway between flavors. The aroma foreshadowed the flavors in the beer, with the citrus and malt components mentioned above, only intermingled to the point where it became difficult to pick them out individually. Each of the constituent flavors joining together to create something entirely new. The mouthfeel was pleasant somewhat heavy but balanced nicely with the effervescence. As I continued to sip this beer, the herbal qualities became more pronounced. I detected a slight fennel or anise flavor that was surprising.
The finish carried on the herbal notes. It lingered on with a pleasant bitterness, reminiscent of angelica or wormwood. Fennel and orange notes mingled with those bitter herb flavors.
This IPA was a very pleasant surprise. It broke out of the mold in some ways but managed to deliver a mix of expectation and surprise. I would drink this beer with something salty. Bitterness and salt tend to complement each other. It is a wonderful accompaniment to spicy chicken wings or pizza with lots of chili flakes and parmesan cheese. You can find this beer on tap locally at Edge of the World Brewery. No telling how much longer it will be there, so hurry in and try it.