Welcome back. Today we’re moving on-site (at a pub) to review a cask version of Oakham Ales well revered Citra. Oakham Ales are a contemporary British brewer based in Peterborough that brew modern, hop forward beers – readily available in the South of England on cask, in bottles, and increasingly, in kegs.
Oakham Ales also proudly proclaim to be the first UK brewer to use the Citra hop variety, which is a relatively new variety surrounded by much hype in recent years. Citra has risen to such popularity thanks to its unique and unmistakable citrus aroma and flavour; the flavour is so distinct, it is regularly used in single hop beers, of which Oakham Ales Citra is just one.
Today we’ll be looking at the cask version of Citra, but the same beer is also available in bottles from Waitrose in the UK.
Now on to the pub…
To sample today’s beer, I headed out to the recently refurbished ‘New Inn’ in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. It’s a Greene King pub, who are a company I have mixed feelings about; and, I must admit, I was quite skeptical about visiting yet another refurbed Greene King boozer. Their idea of a refurb has often led to the brutal destruction of many an old charming pub, and so it’s easy to start rolling your eyes at news of yet another refresh.
Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised to find Greene King had opted to reinvent the New Inn as a specialist Ale House; good news if you like a great selection of beer and a contemporary take on the traditional pub feel.
The refurb isn’t perfect, there’s many aspects that make it feel a little bit over contemporised, and dare I say, a bit hipster. However, it’s not the worst I’ve seen, and generally speaking, they’ve done a good job. Check out our post about pub reburbs for more on this topic, but for now, let’s get to the beer!
Oakham Ales Citra (Cask) Reviewed
The beer was pulled into a stemmed pint glass, which is always a nice touch. Appearance wise, the first thing you notice is just how pale the beer is, which is complimented by a thin, but attractive white head.
On the nose, you’re immediately greeted by the unmistakable aroma of grapefruit and peach that so exemplifies Citra hops. On first sip, the beer is extremely fresh and pungent with a light body – this is definitely a ‘hops first’ beer. The initial freshness, is later followed by a dry, lasting bitter finish – superb!
As the bottled version appears relatively unfiltered, the cask version is actually not a million miles apart from what is available in bottles. The main difference you notice is in the slightly thicker mouth feel, but also the lower carbonation, which is to be expected on cask.
Additionally, the alcohol by volume is lower: cask edition is 4.2% while the bottle is 4.6%. This is fairly typical of British cask ales, as most brewers acknowledge the social importance of going to the pub, without losing the ability to speak! Lower ABV cask beers are just one of the many social differences in beer culture between the UK and the US or Canada. Basically, when we go to the pub, we like to drink quite a lot! It’s a social lubricant.
If I could pick one negative element to this beer, it would be the slightly one dimensional flavour that is typical of single hop beers. Saying that, though, Citra stands up pretty well as a single hop beer, because its flavour is distinct and strong.
Wonderfully fresh and summery.
Could be accused of being one dimensional.
The fresh, citrus flavours would easily compliment a spicy dish, just as coriander crowns a curry.
Time of year
Most definitely a summer beer.
TA Brews Rating – 4/5