From our Propagator R&D brewhouse in Venice, California comes Citra – the next release in our single-hop IPA Propagator Series, exclusively available in the Crafted Thru Hops IPA mixed pack along with Mind Haze, Flyjack and Union Jack.

It’s really rewarding to see this come to fruition through this single hop series and be able to share our discoveries with our beer fans.

— Brewmaster Matt Brynildson

About the Citra Hop

The Citra hop has an intense citrus character best described most often as grapefruit. Brewmaster Matt Brynildson loves this hop so much that he says it belong to his “holy trinity of New World IPA hops.”

In high amounts, Citra can flirt with becoming overly pungent or catty, so our brew team has been very strategic in brewing this beer to find the balance for a flavorful, drinkable beer. Our brewers select their Citra hops every year from a number of growers in the Yakima Valley of Washington. Selection is a key element in getting Citra hops that are in balance with the beers we brew.  Not too catty and punchy, but turned up enough to be distinctive and carry a lot of citrus character into our beers. In fact, Union Jack uses a small amount of Citra in the dry-hop stage, which means that we have been using this hop since 2006.

According to our Propagator Brewing Manager Sam Tierney, “In some ways, brewing a Citra IPA is like a Napa winemaker making a Cabernet, in that everyone does it but it’s an opportunity to show off your skill as a winemaker or brewmaster. It’s so important to select the best Citra hops, as the character can quickly go overboard. But if you get it just right, you get wonderful grapefruit and light grassy-tropical notes.”

Single-Hop IPAs Compared

We launched the new Propagator Series earlier this year with Motueka and El Dorado single-hop IPAs, exclusively available in our mixed pack cans and bottles. Motueka is a New Zealand-grown hop that delivers punchy flavors of tropical fruit, white grape and lemon zest. We have used this hop in our Luponic Distortion series, including the new current release out now, as well as in the dry-hopping stage on past Luponic Distortions. Motueka was the hazy IPA featured in the first Crafted Thru Hops mixed can pack. Meanwhile, El Dorado is a next-generation hop variety from the Pacific Northwest that offers soft stone fruit flavors with notes of tropical melon and pear. This was a West Coast-style IPA featured in our initial Crafted Thru Hops mixed bottle pack.

It really comes down to showcasing the different characteristics of these hop varieties. Allowing people to taste the beers and see for themselves what they like or don’t like about each single hop is a cool study.

Each hop that we have selected has performed well in our initial single hop pilot brew trials. All of the hops we have picked so far have very distinct flavor and aroma signatures.  Where does that come from?  There are obvious genetic differences,. Each hop was bred for certain attributes but, first and foremost, to have certain resistance to pests, mildews and viruses which are particular to where they are grown, and this sets some of the personality of the hop.

Once that is established, the breeders can focus on the flavor and aroma characteristics of their successful crosses.  The breeding stock or parental influence has everything to do with how that hops grows and if it is happy and healthy, then we can talk about the flavor and aroma characteristics that come along with those genetics as well as the environmental or terroir influences.

In the case of Citra vs Motueka, we are talking about two very different hops – Citra is a cross of American hops with German noble varieties resistant to a host of pressures present in the Pacific Northwest growing area; and Motueka, a cross with Czech Saaz, with far less need for mildew and pest resistance, is grown on the other side of the planet and harvested six months later.  Citra is more about bracing intense grapefruit flavors and Motueka has softer Southern Hemisphere juicy tropical notes. They come from very different hop worlds. It’s so much fun to have a project like this to showcase these differences.

Our Propagator R&D brewhouse sets the pace for what’s next from Firestone Walker – including this new series of single-hops IPAs. Try Citra along with Mind Haze, Union Jack and Flyjack in the Crafted Thru Hops mixed pack, only available for a limited time.

Find Citra near you. Citra | Hazy IPA 5.6%