11 July 2013

Taste the irony

Dark skies, high winds, lashing rain: it was time to break out the summer beers. Widmer's Citra Blonde, a seasonal for balmy days like this, is the purest gold of evening sunbeams and has an odd but not unpleasant savoury herbal aroma, giving me sage, chives and spring onion. The texture is soft, like a fluffy German weissbier, and while I waited for the big Citra punch, none was forthcoming. Instead there's a rather light peach and melon effect, perhaps going as far into the bitterness spectrum as melon rind, but no further. Overall it's a rather light and lagery beer, watery even, but works fine as a quaffer, even when it's raining. That said, putting a named celebrity hop in the title does create an expectation to which this beer did not live up.

Also from Widmer is Hopside Down, the latest in their Rotator series of IPAs. The twist here is that it has been cold-fermented, and I think it benefits from the extra cleanness that the lager yeast gives to the flavour profile. There's a satisfying bitter grapefruit balanced against a light biscuity malt rather than any heavier toffeeish residual sugars -- the downfall of many an American IPA -- and this gives it the airs of something pale 'n' hoppy from Britain, though a darker red gold and with a bit more alcoholic heat to it. Like the Blonde, the aroma is rather understated but there's some piquant lemon and lime zest in there.

A decent pair of workhorses, these, and a welcome distraction from the generally inclement Irish summer.


  1. That savory quality is a house character in Widmer Brothers' beer. They have a blend of hops called "Alchemy" they use for the bitter charge, and I think Summits play a role.

    I am ambivalent about their beers because on the one hand I am really sensitive to the hop character and not particularly fond of it, but on the other, I love that a large American brewery would risk offending me with something so particular and house-charactery.

    1. Interesting. Thanks for the background, Jeff.