Amidst the brilliant bustle of our first Portrush Beer and Food Festival in Portrush Town Hall last year there were a few constants in the feedback at the event. Chief amongst them were ‘great atmosphere’ and ‘that West Bay Citra is fantastic, get that out!’. We had brewed a few specials for the festival and this one definitely resonated with people. So we kept it on the back burner, determined to brew it for a general release in the summer.
The only thing was, come the time to brew I couldn’t find the recipe. In fact, there wasn’t one. I realised I must have dry hopped a pale ale in the cask. So we simply had to replicate that.
You always wonder, as a brewer, if your best laid plans are going to work. Actually, it’s not wonder but more like ‘brewer’s paranoia’. Things can go awry in many different stages of brewing. You can be calmly talking to someone and then your hand shoots out involuntarily at the fruit fly that just entered the general vicinity. It is a bit embarrassing if it was beside their head. Or you finish a clean in place (CIP) on a vessel and then stop and mumble, walk about and then just for good measure dowse it all in sanitiser (again). It’s only when you crack the cap on a bottle of beer after it is properly carbonated do you get a good idea what you have created.
To cut a long story short, we had some big smiles when we cracked our first West Bay Citra. A big, juicy Citra aroma wafting out of the glass at a pace and then that classic citrus peel taste and bite when you take a mouthful. It’s a super gold hue from single pale malt, well carbonated so it has a real sharpness and zing. Summer in a glass.