Citra hops have been my personal favorite hop over the last few years with mosaic following in a close second. The problem with citra is that if used “incorrectly” or perhaps too liberally, they sometimes have a bizarre quality to them. Now, hops are all different things to all different people so this is not a universal feeling, but for my personal tastes when it comes to a beer that uses citra exclusively moderation is key. The two best examples (that also happen to be pale ales) are psuedoSue by Toppling Goliath and Zombie Dust by Three Floyds. To be fair, that’s a high bar to place in front of any beer for equal consideration, but it’s also the gold standard to some and to fall short can be considered a disappointment.
Surly, a top tier brewery in and of itself, makes their fair share of stellar beers. If I were to be so bold as to cut right to the chase, Xtra Citra certainly doesn’t measure up to the heavy hitters in the style. However, this is a sessionable pale ale so the question is whether or not this should be held to the same standards as the “non-sessionable” pale ales. Session itself at times feels like an arbitrary categorization to be begin with so in my opinion, no it should not. PsuedoSue and Zombie Dust respectively clock in at 5.8% and 6.2% ABV while Xtra Citra comes in at 4.5% ABV. The difference in percentages are slight to say the least and while Xtra Citra has a much lighter body, the ABV doesn’t quite play into the drinking experience. (more…)