Beer Review 0392: Dark Horse Artic Dekoorc Eert (Citra Crooked Tree) IPA

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Recently, Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall, Michigan) released an IPA variety 12-pack; the pack includes three bottles of Crooked Tree IPA, which I rated 88 points. The other three beers in the pack are single-hopped variations of Crooked Tree, featuring Citra, Cascade, and Falconer’s Flight hops.

I was excited about this variety pack until I got it to the cash register of my bottle shop, where it rang up $26.99. I was expecting maybe $20-22, but not that price! This steep price proportionally increased my expectations of the beers contained within the slick packaging…

I should also let you know that I’m writing this preamble AFTER I’ve had all the beers. There is one thing I must point out, especially with the three single-hopped beers contained in the pack — Dark Horse doesn’t filter their beer, which is fine, but the difference between pouring a bit of the bottle into a glass versus the full bottle is quite substantial. My tulip glasses I use for reviews only hold 13 oz. of beer, so I tend to pour about 8 ounces into my glass to start with — each of these single-hopped beers (the regular Crooked Tree didn’t do this) poured fairly clear to start with, but became choked with sediment by the end of the bottle. While it didn’t really affect flavor, it did presentation; pouring the whole bottle made for a much larger head. Here’s a picture of how chunky these beers are:

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So…if you don’t like chunks in your beer, you have been warned.

Citra Crooked Tree comes in at 6.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). The Citra hop was cultivated in 2008 by Sierra Nevada and Widmer Brothers Brewing companies. Citra is typically used as an aroma hop and in dry-hopping; it gives off citrus and tropical fruit flavors.

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On the appearance, (as previously mentioned) this is a tale of two beers. The initial pour gave way to an average size, soapy head that lasted atop a golden-orange beer. The liquid was cloudy, but featured no particles or sediment. When I poured the remainder of the bottle into my glass after having a few sips, the sediment was knocked loose and thick chunks were floating in and sunk to the bottom of my glass. Also, when I poured the remainder in, the head became much thicker and larger. Lacing was excellent, leaving behind very thick pods of foam.

The nose featured lots of citrus, as promised. Tons of orange, fresh squeezed and rind delight, coupled with a floral component similar to fresh carnations. There’s just a touch of some malt body in the form of a light grain, but this is all citrus hops. It’s almost one-sided with the orange at first, but allowed to warm, some notes of lemon and peaches come out, too.

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The flavors very much follow the nose with an ample presence of orange, but balanced on the bitter end with some grapefruit and an herbal tea-like taste. The orange is complex, rewarding the tongue with freshly squeezed juice, the peel, and even verges on tangerine and nectarine. The middle of the mouth continues much of the same but introduces a crispy, refreshing component, leading to a lightly bitter finish that darkens up a ton with bready malt and pine. But the orange still kicks, giving off a candy-like sweetness. This beer is medium-bodied, with a thin, foamy mouthfeel.

I know I’ve got a pretty good brew when I review it and it’s almost gone before I finish jotting down my thoughts. Crooked Tree Citra is very refreshing and I think this is a nice entry-level IPA that has a good base of flavors that everyone can identify with. This is a beer that will make those unaware of hops curious about what they have to offer. The only qualm here: all that sediment might turn some folks off. Don’t be scared: those floaty bits are good for you!

Dark Horse Artic Dekoorc Eert (Citra Crooked Tree) IPA, 91 points. Price: $26.99 US as part of the Dark Horse IPA Variety pack, which contains three bottles of this beer.

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