What We're Drinking: Green Flash Citra Session

A powerfully bitter session IPA that's single hopped with Citra for a lemon-y twist with a low ABV.

The session IPA: a newish style that tries to pack IPA-level hop flavor into a beer with pale ale-level alcohol content. In theory, they've got all the same hop bomb flavor, but are easy-drinking enough that you can knock back three of 'em without needing to stumble home for a nap afterwards.

We've weighed in on them before in our review of Stone Go To IPA. The verdict: they're a nice idea, but fall far short of the mark. Without higher alcohol levels to add sweetness and balance, IPAs tend to taste thin, harshly bitter, and one-note. You're much better off avoiding the "session IPA" gimmick and sticking with a pale ale if you want hop flavor with a low-ish ABV.

That said, Green Flash's version caught our eye because of the Citra hops, a highly coveted variety with strong lemon-y and other fruit notes. Theoretically, they could add some compelling hop flavor to a style that's usually blown out with bitterness.

Appearance - Clear light gold with a quickly dissipating head.

Smell - Faint lemon and earthy notes. Otherwise, not much.

Flavor - A big hop bite hits you right away. There's a huge amount of bitterness here without much balance, and it lingers on your tongue after each sip. There's a slight lemon twinge that adds a nice but minor hop flavor to the wall of bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Thin and crisp. You could have several without feeling bloated or wearing down your palate.

Overall - The Citra helps give some hop flavor to a style that's usually dominated by bland bitterness. But it's not much, and the beer suffers from the same flaws that Stone Go To IPA did: the hop bitterness is there, but the other flavors you look for in a hoppy beer aren't.

If you like a powerfully strong bitterness in your beers, then give this a shot. The faintly earthy citrus is tasty even though it's in the background.

If you want malt balance and more prominent hop flavors, though, just order a regular IPA and drink in moderation.


Want some? Plug in your zip code here to see where it's available in your neighborhood.

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