Single-hop beers have always been there. Many of us just didn’t realize we were drinking one.
Discerning beer drinkers want to know what flavors they are consuming, and single-hop beers allow them to pull apart the influence of that single hop on the beer in their hand. For brewers, it cuts down on the amount of ingredients and adds a challenge of creating a complex flavor with a simple recipe.
Prairie America, a farmhouse ale brewed with pilsner malts and Hallertau hops, is a SMaSH beer – Single Malt and Single Hops beer. Founders Mosaic Promise marries Golden Promise malt to Mosaic hops, while Southern Tier’s version brings together Mosaic with Special Pale malt. Founders’ Azacca IPA, which appears each winter, is a single-hop delight, and craft beer stalwarts like Anchor Liberty Ale and Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale exclusively use Centennial hops.
Citra is a bold hop. Intense and high acidic, it imparts huge citrus notes of grapefruit when used in beers. Brewers will use it for flavor and aroma, but not to bitter a beer, as it can produce a very aggressive bitterness. You see this delicate line observed by Toppling Goliath’s PseudoSue and 3 Floyds’ Zombie Dust.
Citra Hero smacks you in the face with citrus in the nose and on the palate.”
Chicago’s Revolution Brewing showcases the hop in its Citra Hero, one its League of Heroes beers. This series of periodic releases features either a single hop – Amarillo, Citra, Crystal, Galaxy or Mosaic – or a blend of hops grown locally or using prototype ingredients.
Citra Hero smacks you in the face with citrus in the nose and on the palate. Orange and grapefruit overwhelm when you inhale, with notes of pine and flowers in the aroma. The first sip features a bitter orange flavor that transitions into chewy, oily pine, and sweet citrus. It finishes with bitter, candied orange.
The carbonation stream creates a nice visual and builds up the moderate body well. It pours clear and orange to amber with a thick, fluffy head that falls into a sticky lacing.
It’s as pleasant to look at as it is to drink.
There’s more than one reason to buy a single-hop beer. Sure, you can pick one up because it’s unique, or it helps you understand the hops better, or it's a challenge to the brewer, but when you can grab one like Revolution’s Citra Hero, the choice is made easier because the beer is solid.