12/1/19: Columbus Brewing Company's Citra Noel

11:53 AM

It's finally December! Last night I stayed up a little late to hang the last of our Christmas lights and this morning I woke up early to change the my car's oil while the sun shone. Now, it's cloudy and cold. I think I'm pretty well due for a beer.

Today's beer is the second of the blog's Christmas season: Citra Noel, the Christmas ale from Columbus Brewing Company. I've never had Columbus Brewing Company (CBC from here on out), but I'm excited to see how this drinks.

CBC, based out of--you guessed it--Columbus, OH, is dedicated to exploring the nuances of American hops. According their "BREWERY" page, CBC does this while brewing IPAs, German-inspired lagers, and barrel-aged ales, with a whole gamut of styles between.

Citra Noel, as written on its official page, is a 7.3% holiday ale. The addition of citra hops to the stuff gives fruity notes to its malty backbone.

The nose here, at first whiff, is all pineapple and mango. When the ale's description touts fruit, it's not wrong. I was expecting pine on my return whiff but, nope, those fruity notes still have total command of Citra Noel's bouquet. I mean, I'm not even getting any sweet or biscuity malt notes. I think the aroma's phenomenal (although it's not really something that makes me think "Oh, yeah, this is a Christmas ale") and, for the most part, Purrl agrees: She gave my bottle eight whiffs.

My bottle isn't fresh. See, it was bottled on October 17th. This means that there's a little funk here that's (hopefully) not to be found in a fresh batch. However, it still has big pineapple and mango notes permeating the flavor profile. That funk I noted mingles with a mild malty sweetness before the ale finishes with a punch of pine before a long, slow pineapple.

There's not much to say about Citra Noel's mouthfeel. It's carbonated. It's decidedly an ale and it drinks like one.

This beer doesn't really remind me of anything Christmas-related but, at the very least, it's bringing something Christmas-adjacent to mind. See, when I was a kid sometimes there'd be refreshments in my church's fellowship hall after Sunday services. This would typically just be standard refreshment fare (store-brand cookies, Rice Krispie Treats, and the like). However, there'd also be a punch.

This punch was always the same (or, at least, that's how I'm remembering it). It was foamy and green, made with Sprite (or, you know, the store-brand Sprite knock off stuff) and sorbet. There was always a big ol' punch of something citrusy lurking beneath the creamy fiziness. Now, I know what that was; Citra Noel forced that last little puzzle piece into place. It was pineapple juice.

CBC's Citra Noel is a fine hoppy ale. Big and fruity, the brewery's really shown that they know how to use citra hops. I only wish it was more Christmasy. Oh well. Regardless, I'm giving the stuff an 8.5/10. Grab it if you see it.

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