What Are Citra Hops? Citra In Beer

Disclaimer: this post is going to be heavily in favor of Citra hops because they’re one of my absolute favorites.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this post is about Citra hops for another riveting entry in the ‘Let’s Learn!’ section of this blog.

The last time we explored a hop, Mosaic hops were the guys. If you recall (if you read), Mosaic is good for IPAs.

So today I’m shaking it up a bit and tackling Citra, a hop that’s good for IPAs.

A Citra Hop History

Citra hops began as an orphan. Created in a Frankenstein’s monster kind of way, the hop is a cross-breeding of four or five different hop varieties. It then grew, evolved and was pawned around the hop selling big boys for a decade or so.

Then, in 2007, the hop was shopped around to small-name beer companies like Widmer Brothers and Sierra Nevada. The two jumped right on the Citra train and started brewing some of the best god damned beers.

Since then, Citra has started taking over the world. You can often find Citra-based beers on top 10, 20, 50, 100 and so on lists.

What Does Citra Taste Like in Beer?

Citra hops taste sort of like citrus, but not so much as other hop varieties. What you really get from this is a passion fruit/stone fruit sort of aroma and taste.

It’s also worth noting that Citra has alpha acids of 11-15% (meaning that it has a pretty bitter flavor to it).

Because of the good flavor and bitterness, you can probably guess why this hop took off in 2007 – yes, because of ales. More specifically, because of American ales and IPAs.

What is Citra Beer?

When you go to a brewery and find a beer with a name along the lines of “Citra IPA,” “Citra Solo,” or “Citra Butt Right Down And Drink This Beer,” odds are that is uses Citra hops. In many cases, brewers will only use Citra, thanks to its awesome flavor.

There doesn’t have be to be Citra in the name for Citra hops to be present, though. You’ve probably had Citra hops plenty of times in the past at a brewery.

Why are Citra Hops Popular?

Because IPAs, that’s why! IPAs are arguably the reason that craft beer became so cool, so it makes sense that a tasty ale hop would be popular.

But wait, there’s more! IPAs are slowing phasing out of popularity and getting replaced with…IPAs. Well, hazy IPAs. Because of the flavor and bitterness you get from Citra, you can make pretty dank haze bombs without getting too juicy or cutesy (both are beer terms).

Most breweries that use a Citra-forward recipe are going to name the beer accordingly; for example, Kern River’s Citra or Hill Farmstead’s Double Citra.

So, here’s a new year’s resolution for you: drink more Citra. You won’t be upset.

Thomas Short
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