“Drink now or don’t bother.” Cloudy beer sure is a demanding passion. We troll social media, call in “sick” on Thursdays or Fridays, and practice the worst forms of road rage to get our parking spots and places in line. This was the result of one such adventure.
Citra Triangles, Triple Crossing Brewing Co. (Richmond, VA)
New England IPA, 6% ABV, 0 IBU
Presentation: Can pour into tulip.
Appearance: Pulpy, cloudy orange juice that catches a lot of golden hues in the right light. Webs of lattice follow the beer down the glass fairly generally (but without a ring pattern).
Taste: A blend of creamsicle and fresh orange pulp greets the nose. We’ll get to the mouth feel in a bit, because it’s so essential to the body. Pure acidity over top some hop esters that translate well onto the tongue give this IPA a big finish without a trace of bitterness. It’s what the NE style promises so often, even as we confuse “hoppy” with the numbing effect the flower actually brings to the palate. Those esters, an oily effect with overtones of fruit, are what remind us so well of certain citrus fruits over others – grapefruit, orange, kiwi, and so on. Those esters tell you this beer is fresh. It’s less dank, not really a citrus grove…it’s that sensory overload after the orange crates have been emptied out and all that’s left is the scent of sodden, saturated wood. It’s the bark, the leaves, the fruit, the juice, and Lawd it’s glorious!
Mouth Feel: “Juicy.” Lots of IPA traditionalists hate that word right now. They wonder what was wrong with a beer that reminded you of tropicalia but blended that with a floral, earthen backbone. That’s such a California way of looking at flavor, and it’s why in my household we forbid California wine as well (there’s such a thing as too dry, and too earthy). The focus in so many East Coast or Midwest IPAs on esters, dankness, and pure fruit relax the snobbery quotient in classical American IPAs. Brewers seem to hate NE IPAs as much as people love – and demand – them. Citra Triangles was made by a team that embraces this style. When a resinous beer coats the tongue, it brings all its flavor with it. Triple Crossing gets that. The resin glands of hops can either give you alpha acids (bitterness) or beta acids (aroma)…and aroma if you recall your gastronomy is something like 80% of taste. Err, ok enough beer science. The resinous presence of Citra hops hits almost every area of the palate, and it clings in a genuinely pleasurable manner. The flavor is uniform across the mouth. The power of this beer isn’t in some quenching juice presence or complex layering. The juiciness has as much breadth as it does depth, and Lawd it’s glorious!
Overall: If you’re a fan of Citra hops – and gosh, aren’t there a lot of us out there right now? – will find an elevated form of execution in this Triple Crossing offering. Here are some comments from people with whom I shared this beer:
“Citra triangles is da bomb”
“Getting two packs of this was a wise choice”
“Hmm…it’s not the worst I’ve had”
Ok, that last one was my wife. She has a habit of trying my beers now when I’m writing up reviews, and she is not a fan of NE IPAs. Shockingly, she prefers Barrel Aged Wee Heavys above all else, and I have no clue why. She actually took a second sip of Citra Triangles. It’s a crowd pleasing nose, a judiciously simple body, and a wallop of a finish that embraces rather than overpowers the esters and resins. There is one caveat to this beer – it has a swift expiration date. I had eight cans of this beer, several of which were shared. This beer crushed all contenders when it was straight from the tap. It was awesome over the next week, then pleasurable but far more mild in the second week. I’m drinking the last of the cans while typing all this, four weeks after I purchased it. It’s clearly not the same beer. So if you find Citra Triangles, take care to note the canning date and try to enjoy within a week or two at most. You’ll see what we mean, and Lawd it’s glorious!