Monday, December 19, 2011

Stone / Elysian / The Bruery - La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado Review

Brewery: The Bruery / Elysian / Stone (CA / WA)
Style: Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 5%
Grade: B

Stone, Elysian and The Bruery are all fantastic breweries, so when, a few months ago, I read that they were collaborating on a random one-off pumpkin beer, I was pretty bummed thinking that I would never be able to try it. Then, miraculously, it showed up in my Local Beer Retailer. And man, if nothing else, at least this isn't just another boring pumpkin ale. I expected something a little wacky after reading what this was made with: pumpkins, yams, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena, and birch bark. Maybe one of the most unique ingredient lists I've seen. I honestly don't even know what fenugreek or lemon verbena are.

If anything, this is maybe a bit too ambitious. Citracado is completely unlike any other pumpkin ale out there — to the point that I'm not sure it's accurate to call it a pumpkin ale. It has a lot more in common with winter warmers, and the birch bark ends up being a dominant flavor, adding a spicy, earthy, woody flavor. Beyond that, the taste is very herbal, with notes of slick lemon. It's more akin to lemon-tea more than the usual spice of a pumpkin ale. Herbal and earthy and spicy all go together fine, so in that sense it works, but I could see some people thinking this tastes medicinal.

The pumpkin may be buried in there somewhere, but it's honestly hard to find. While I wouldn't ever argue that this should have been more like every other pumpkin beer, if it had struck a balance allowing more of the pumpkin to shine through, I think it would be easier to savor, less off-putting. The flavors are interesting, but a bit too bold and questionable.

But then again, beer should never be boring, and this is not boring. I can't see anyone really loving this, and I can see many hating it, but kudos to these three breweries for trying it. I think it works. I wouldn't want to drink Citracado on a regular basis, but I'm glad I found it and tried it.

Availabilty: Most likely a one-time brew, and definitely a small-batch brew, so who knows where bottles of this ended up. It's in 12-ouncers though, so it's not a big investment to pick one up and try it out, if you do happen to stumble across it.

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