Citra Blonde Summer Brew (Widmer Bros. Brewing)

With summer “officially” over (they’re calling for temps in the 90s next week) I figured it’s time to write up my final review of a summer seasonal. Even though I got sick of this beer after we ordered a keg of it, it was still one of the best summer seasonals I discovered this year.

CITRA BLONDE SUMMER BREW is an American Blonde Ale from Oregon’s Widmer Bros. Brewing. This summer seasonal has a perfect for a hot day 4.3% ABV.

Citra hops lend their name to this interpretation of a Golden Ale. But that’s not all they bring to the party. Their striking citrus aroma and thirst-quenching flavor are the prefect pairing for soft malt notes. Together they create a beer that’s full in flavor and uniquely refreshing. 

Citra Blonde Summer Brew pours just like you would hope a summer seasonal would: light gold color with minor orange highlights throughout. The head is big and bubbly with lacing that splashes hither and yon. Bubbles helter skelter around the beer.

Even though the beer is named after a strain of hops I wouldn’t have expected the hop present that I picked up in the nose. Usually summer beers are lighter with emphasis on drinkability, but it smells like Widmer is going for something a little bit different. Citrus fruit (grapefruit and orange zest, to be more specific) is the dominant smell, with grassy hops also detectable. Malts appear in the backbone and add a sweetness that was unexpected. Hints of sourdough and cake batter mellowed out the hoppy scents to give it a pleasant cohesive smell.

The flavors that were picked up in the nose were also picked up in the taste. Sweet fruit, grapefruit, and grassy hops hit my palette right out of the gate. Those sweet malts pop up in the middle and erase the, albeit mild, hop flavors and even things out. It finishes with a citrus touch that reminds me of those orange slice candies.

Mouthfeel is thicker than I would have guessed, but this beer has been pretty good so far at keeping me off balance. It more viscous than a normal blonde ale, but that doesn’t prevent it from being easy drinking. Carbonation and hop juice add a brightness to the beer that helps evaporate each sip without much aftertaste.

With the keg of Citra a few weeks removed I feel that I can now give this beer an unbiased review (is that an oxymoron?). That being said, Citra Blonde Summer Brew is a Blonde Ale for those of us who like things a little bit hoppier. If you like your hops, but are also looking for a beer to drink all day in the sun, then Widmer has given you a pretty damn good option.

Overall: 7 out of 10

As a BLONDE ALE: 8 out of 10


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