Redefining the Pumpkin Ale
A Review of La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado by Stone Brewing Co.
Posted on 3/25/2013 by Chops
                   
Great
Collaboration brews are a strange breed of beverage. They are very exciting on paper, i.e. big names in brewing getting together to create something original. The whole process begs for some 80's style montage music. But, these beers can assume a lot of risk, especially if the project has been announced without a finished product in hand. There's an obvious dice roll that goes hand in hand with collective efforts. What works well as a stand alone signature might not mesh very well with another stand alone signature. This is why I am always nervous going into collaboration brews. I can recall several that turned out to be really bad ideas. Luckily for all of us, La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado wasn't one of them.

This brew pitted together the Stone Brewing Company (Steve Wagner and Mitch Steele), The Bruery (Patrick Rue and Tyler King), and the Elysian Brewing Company (Dick Cantwell). This trifecta of bold brewers, who are all very well known for their big imperials, makes the concept behind La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado quite intriguing. Their goal was to make a mild maltier pumpkin beer. Yes, you read that correctly. Go ahead, read this entire paragraph again because it begs repeating.

More specifically, this is ''an amber ale brewed with pumpkins grown on Stone Farms, yams, rye, toasted fenugreek, birch bark, and lemon verbena.'' Intriguing would be an understatement, this beer is downright fascinating.

In the glass, this beer has a clear coppery brown coloration with some ruby red hues. It comes with a rocky tan head that has really good retention. On the nose, I was greeted with an intense woody earthy aroma, which I can only assume is coming from the birch bark. There is also a smokey meatiness to the smell that I found difficult to describe. Rounding out the mix was a charred caramel note that added a nice complimentary sweetness. I can honestly say that I have never smelled a beer like this before. I had no idea what to expect from that first sip.

Strangely enough, I was greeted with an equally intense woody earthy taste. I did not expect this flavor to mirror the aroma at all, so that threw me for a loop. This ended up being a common theme throughout the experience because this beer has a lot of curious contradictions. For instance, the flavor dictates that it should be thick and meaty, but it has a much thinner mouthfeel. It reminded me of coffee without the roasted feel. There is an overarching charred character that it always present from start to finish. As far as specific flavor notes go, I found burnt toast, earthy pumpkin, dark caramel, a touch of maple, a dirty roast, and some savory veggie notes. The spice characters that I did find were very mild and nondescript. It's almost like a toned down malty brown ale version of a pumpkin ale. The beer finishes a bit sticky and leaves a long lasting charred woody aftertaste.

Overall, La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado is as equally tasty as it is odd. I enjoyed the experience and can recommend it to anyone seeking something new and interesting. That is assuming of course that you can find any. This was a one-time release back in 2011. I guess the best way I can describe this beer is that it needs to be treated like the unorthodox interpretation it is. Anyone going into this beer looking for a good standard pumpkin ale will be disappointed. You will find no cloves, nutmeg, or cinnamon. What you will find is a very interesting concoction that challenges your notions of what pumpkin ales can be.

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La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado by Stone Brewing Co.
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