Such is the magic of the Citra hop variety that it can deliver impart a discernible citrus bite to a beer which contains no actual citrus fruit. It is fitting that this beer is simply called 'Citra blonde', because the Citra hop is the dominant factor here. Not through brute force, though--there is very little hop bitterness in this summer seasonal from Widmer Brothers (part of the Craft Brew Alliance parent company which owns Widmer, Red Hook, and Kona Brewing); rather, it is a crisp, sessionable, and refreshing blonde ale that, but for the presence of
Citra rather than noble hop varieties, would come across as more of a classic German-style Kolsch than anything else.

Not a huge surprise on this count, as a blonde ale is American beer-speak for a set of recipes which closely resemble--many with origins in--German Kolsch.

Whatever category it fits into, Citra blonde is delicious, uniquely citrusy and well-suited for summer.

Citra Blonde by Widmer Brothers
Credit: cidersage

As a Colorado resident, I have not yet seen Citra in its standalone form, but I have found it in the Craft Brew Alliance mixed 12-packs stocked by my local liquor store. Other beers in this package include: Widmer's Alchemy Ale--a hoppy, yet surprisingly smooth pale ale (almost like a nitro IPA, but with no nitrogen involved); Widmer's Wise Cracker Wit--a pretty standard wit beer but with added Ginger; and Kona's Wailua ale, which is very tart and fruity as a result of added passionfruit. All are solid beers and, surprisingly, unique enough to warrant a try even among the huge selection of local Craft Beer available here in Colorado.

Comparing the effect of the fruit on Wailua Ale to the citrus aspect of Citra is an interesting taste experiment; both are light base beers but with different showcase flavors--one from fruit, and one from hops. Also interesting is the presence in both Alchemy and Citra of the 'Alchemy hop' variety, which upon further research turns out to be not a single variety at all but a blend which Widmer tweaks over time.

For reviews of other Widmer beers, see:

Beer Review: Drop Top Amber by Widmer Brothers

Review from DRAFT magazine

Citra Blonde by Widmer Brothers cidersage 2013-09-05 4.0 0 5