The growing popularity of craft beer has led to an increased interest in the ingredients that make beer. Craft beer enthusiasts often dabble in homebrewing, and even those who don’t at least try to learn about the varieties of malt, yeast and hops used in their favorite styles. The craft beer movement has also led to the development of many new varieties of hops, each species engineered to provide a particular flavor profile in the final beer. This renewed interest and understanding of particular ingredients has led craft breweries to develop beers that highlight a single ingredient. One of the most common ways to do this is through single-hop beers, where a single variety of hops is in focus. A great recent example of this is Citra Mantra, a hoppy lager (or IPL) from Otter Creek Brewing Company of Middlebury, VT. Citra Mantra is a pale lager that has been generously hopped with Citra hops. Citra hops have become one of the standout American hop varieties due to the bright and bold grapefruit, orange and lemon flavors it imparts into the beer (might be where they came up with the name). As a homebrewer who loves citrus-focused American hops, Citra has emerged as one of my favorite hops for flavor and aroma.
Otter Creek Citra Mantra pours straw gold, slightly cloudy with a strong and sustained white head. The smell is what you would expect from a beer brewed with tons of Citra hops, pungent aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. The taste is also a potent mix of hop flavors with notes of lemon, grapefruit, guava, pine and cut grass. There is a touch of light malt in the backbone, but this is a very hop-forward beer. Citra Mantra has the clean drinkability of a lager with a solid, but not overwhelming hop bitterness. At 5.75% ABV this is a beer that is not overdone but not a light either. The finish is clean with a touch of lingering hop bitterness. The hoppy lager style is a great way to showcase a single hop variety. Citra Mantra makes one of my personal favorite hops sing. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Otter Creek reviews: