Citrus is synonymous with refreshment, and it’s never been easier to find creative craft beers that incorporate actual citrus. The usual suspects — lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit — and more exotic ones — blood oranges, yuzu and beyond — are finding their way into craft beer with admirable regularity and equally admirable results. Brewers pack juicy fruit notes into their beers with the right hops. Cascade hops, of course, are redolent of grapefruit pith, and stylish Citra hops live up to their tangy namesake. But, that’s not the only way to get that orange and grapefruit infusion, obviously. Increasingly, brewers embellish these already citrusy IPAs with actual zest, peel or juice from grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and/or limes to create complementary flavor profiles ideal for both hopheads and lovers of fruit beer. Tired of all that peeling? Get your daily dose of Vitamin C with Craft Beer Crosscut 11.4.17: A Flight of Citrus.
It’s our guess the Urban Family folks take break walks around the Magnolia neighborhood loop, stopping on the southwest side to stare off into the Pacific Ocean. Those moments of Zen must be the inspiration for the Magnolia, Seattle brewery’s decision to brew a citrus sour. The French and Belgian farmhouse-forward thinkers have a real zesty treat in their Zested — a blend of citrus zests including grapefruits, oranges, limes and lemons. Aroma is citrusy and flowery and funky. Taste is fruity and sour — strong sour but not vinegary. Low sweetness. Delicious.
7.7% ABV, 60 IBU
The Pacific Northwest is known for its craft beer, and there’s plenty of the good stuff to be found on Bainbridge. Father and son Chuck and Russell Everett launched Bainbridge Island Brewing in 2012 excelling at IPAs. In the winter of 2015 their little island was struck by a furious windstorm, which knocked out their chiller while a tank of IPA was freshly fermenting. They couldn’t release it as the original beer, but it was delicious. So they hit the beer with pink grapefruit and figured they’d save the batch by releasing it as a special one-of in their taproom. But some escaped. Then a lot of people started asking for it. Now it’s their best selling beer. Windfall hits the tongue with grapefruit, grassy hops and malt. The finish is moderately bitter with a fruity hops aftertaste. Refreshing.
9.8% ABV, 68 IBU
The White Walkers are an ancient race of humanoid ice creatures. They live beyond the Wall, in the very north of Westeros. Whether they thrive in cold conditions or die in warmer ones is unknown, but now winter has arrived they’re able to walk south — and are walking with a vengeance. Walking Man Brewing Co. White Walker is an imperial white IPA with blood orange. It’s a beautifully hazy orangish beer with big, bright aromas of orange, grapefruit and Belgian yeast esters in the nose. The beer drinks much like it smells bringing forth a wheaty, citrusy wave of flavor before finishing dry with strong grapefruit flavors and leaving a wonderfully hoppy bitter finish.
6.4% ABV, 70 IBU
The brewers at The Bruery swore to never make an IPA, and to them, Humulus Rye is the next best thing. The “India Pale Lager” (IPL), mimics the IPA with that aromatic, hop punch but, true to the lager style mellows out in overall flavor. Brewed with German rye malt and a low mash temperature to let the hops take center stage. Formidable bitterness teams with heavy citrus and tropical notes thanks to American, New Zealand and Australian hops, accentuated by mild rye malt complexity.
8.5% ABV, 85 IBU
First brewed in 2015, The Hop Concept’s Tropical and Juicy double IPA garners its namesake flavor profile by concentrating on Mosaic, Galaxy, Vic’s Secret and Citra hop varietals. Well-blended citrus and tropical fruit — orange, lemon and pineapple — as well as pine hits the nose. On the tongue, expect grapefruit juice notes and some orange — sweet but not too sweet. It’s an intensely bitter DIPA with strong citrus character, a nice nose and flavor, and well-balanced.