Way, way before all these achingly fashionable, super hip craft brewers came along, a little brewery in Peterborough (I know, Peterborough!) was beavering away experimenting with new flavours and hop profiles.
Oakham was founded in 1993 and led the way in sourcing exceptional, and unusual, ingredients from around the world. Their foray into pale gold ales started with the legendary Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (or JHB as most cask ale aficionados affectionately know it). If I put this beer on my bar at 5pm on a Friday team time, it would be gone within two hours. It’s a superb session ale and one to start the weekend with.
Then blow me down, Oakham came along with Citra. This brewery was responsible for introducing the UK’s drinkers to the gloriously tropical fruit richness of the New World hop. Citra – that one word absolutely suggests lip smacking, thirst quenching, drenched in sunshine.
And what’s more, the guys at Oakham aren’t arrogant or bullish about it. They don’t use any aggressive marketing strategies. They don’t spend squillions on promoting this beer. They know they have a great beer and they rely on word of mouth: in other words, they are really really lovely beer people who believe passionately in their product and make sure the quality of it is great wherever they supply it.
Citra is summer in a glass on any day of the year. It has a zesty, zingy quality which lends itself well to fragrant aromatic foods such as Thai green curry and Pad Thai noodles. It brings out the lime and the coriander, whilst cutting through the heat of chillies and the creaminess of coconut.
I love Citra served in a stemmed glass (like a big wine glass). If your other half’s favourite tipple is usually Sauvignon Blanc, this beer will win them over, hands down.