what: Westbrook Brewing’s Citra Brut IPA
ABV: 6.8 percent
cost: $16.99 for four 16 oz. cans
where: Green’s Beverage Warehouse
The India Pale Ale continues to evolve in not so subtle ways. One of the most noticeable trends is that brewers are slowly moving away from the scorching bitterness of the style affectionately known as the West Coast IPA toward a more balanced beer with the emphasis on the multitude of flavors offered by the many varieties of hops that are currently available.
One of the results of less bitterness is that the residual sugars present in IPAs, but are often hidden by massive bitterness, become more apparent. The so-called brut IPA has been developed to reduce this sugar and make a drier beer. This is accomplished with a special enzyme added in the brewing process that metabolizes the sugars that survive normal fermentation.
The term “brut” is used in the Champagne wine tradition to describe a dry wine, and that is the reason American brewers adopted the term to identify a dry IPA.
This IPA from Mt Pleasant’s Westbrook Brewing Company is a good example of the brut style. The beer features rich, perfume-like aromas reminiscent of grapefruit, tangerine and stone fruit from the Citra hop. These aromas carry through to the flavor that is accented by a hint of malt. This beer is dry and only mildly bitter, the signature of the brut style. This one is not, however, as dry as some example, but it is a tasty, drinkable beer with a slight metallic note in the finish. Cheers!