Summit Suds: Reviewing Angry James Brewing’s Citra Lager and Oktoberfest featured at mug club party
With Labor Day right around the corner, locals know two things are for certain: ski season isn’t that far behind, and it’s time to line up to nab a spot for Angry James Brewing Company’s annual mug club. Happening at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, the brewery is having a daylong celebration that leads to yearlong fun with music, food and beer releases.
The brewery will have 150 new mugs for sale for those who wish to join the club, up from 100 last year. The $45 price tag includes one free 20-ounce fill and then discounted beers afterward until the next Labor Day weekend party. Additionally, $10 will be donated to Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, and club members can keep their collectible mug once the year is over.
Returning for the season is Angry James’ Oktoberfest. The orangey-colored beer is well-balanced and a solid transitional drink as we begin to enter the colder months. Made with German Saphir hops and German malt, the aroma alone transported me to Munich.
The American-style märzen isn’t cloyingly sweet like some malt-forward beers. Rather, I could see the bready malt flavors pairing perfectly with Cultivate Kitchen’s pretzels and bratwurst that will be available for the hungry masses Saturday. And at roughly 5.4% alcohol by volume, it also isn’t a heavy beer that will knock you out at the start of the day.
Making another comeback is the popular Citra Lager. Technically classified as an India pale lager, the golden beer is made 100% with Citra hops and smoothed out with German Pilsner malt and American two-row malt. On first sip, I didn’t notice the citrus flavors from the hops immediately, save for a little bitter bite at the end.
Then, as the beer warmed and I returned to the glass after sampling others, I was greeted with the pleasant notes of orange and grapefruit. Being only about 5.7% ABV, lager lovers wanting something a smidge extra or hop heads looking for a mellow break will find something to enjoy.
Along with the Oktoberfest, Angry James submitted Citra Lager to the judges at the Great American Beer Festival in addition to their Tricentric IPA, Jake’s Pils and Two Tone Footer Stout.
Though not new releases tied to the mug club event, two other seasonal offerings worth trying while at the brewery are the Orphan Boy Amber and White Woolly IPA.
One could almost confuse Orphan Boy Amber with a stout when held side-by-side with Oktoberfest. My nose instantly smelled the roasted malt, and the taste follows the aroma with an almost coffee-like bitterness. However, it’s still extremely drinkable in the summer at 5.5% ABV, and the ale yeast brings forth a sweet, dark fruit characteristic reminiscent of raisins.
Those who blindly order IPAs in search West Coast-style earthiness are going to be in for a surprise with White Woolly IPA. It has 68 International Bitterness Units, more than the 40 of the amber, but don’t expect grass in a glass. Brewed with Dr. Rudi and Wakatu hops, the yellow IPA is light, effervescent and clean on the palate with no lingering flavors.
It has a floral lemongrass scent with a similar spicy taste yet remains mild. Evocative of lemonade or a shandy, the 5.5% ABV beer is easily quaffable and great for enjoying on a porch or patio in the summer.
I’d go with the Citra Lager if I had to choose a favorite. But no matter which you pick, Labor Day weekend is sure to be a good time. Cheers.
Jefferson Geiger is the arts & entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Everything Summit. Have a question about beer? Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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