Beer Review 0260: Front Street Kama Citra Pale Ale

A couple of weeks ago while I was in Wilmington, North Carolina for a wedding, I took a stop by Front Street Brewery, the city’s only microbrewery. Founded in May 1995, Front Street brews a bunch of beers (everything from Wheat Ales to Stouts, and most everything in between) and has a restaurant, allowing you to enjoy an ultra-fresh local brew with some tasty food.

While there, I sampled every beer they had on tap — the standouts were their Oktoberfest, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Baltic Porter, and the beer up for review today — a wet hop ale called Kama Citra that I snagged a growler of before leaving.

Brewed with American West Coast grown Citra hops that are picked and shipped to the brewery, all within twenty-four hours (hence the “wet hop ale”), this is a Pale Ale that is meant to be full of citrus aromas and flavors, with a subdued hop bitterness. This beer comes in at 6.3% ABV (alcohol by volume).

Pouring from the growler produced an average size, soapy/frothy head that lasted atop a crystal clear and clean golden beer. The body was free of sediment, and this brew laced up my glass nicely as I drank.

The aromatics are pungent from the pour; there’s much citrus to be had: orange, lemon, lime, and it mixes with grapefruit and a solid grassy hop backbone. What little malts that are here present a touch of grain and saltine cracker.

On the taste, there was a nice mix of fresh, ripe citrus up front, blending the aforementioned orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. Lying in the background is a fresh cut grassy note, which leads to a grainy middle that turns to a darker, roasted malt, and brings on a moderate bitterness. The finish actually turned fairly toasty despite the lack of malt on the nose, and the bitterness, while not sharp or extreme, did dry the palate out. Both mouthfeel and body were medium, with a creamy texture and soft carbonation.

For a Pale Ale, this is borderline. Kama Citra is so much like an IPA, when I first had it at the brewery, I thought it was an IPA. I had to come home and do research on the Internet to find the contrary. That being said, this is an excellent beer that presents some very aromatic and flavorful fresh hops, and much more (but not overwhelming) bitterness than the brewery lets on.

Front Street Kama Citra Pale Ale, 91 points. Price: $8.99 US for one 64 ounce growler pour.

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