One of the cool things about Craft Beer Week is that the local outfits all bring out special stuff. Not just new brews or rare seasonals, but special batches of their regulars with either a new twist, or ingredient, or aging, or something like that.
Parish, out of Lafayette, trotted out a special Triple Citra-hopped version of Canebrake. Now, Canebrake has practically become ubiquitous in this area in the last few years (although I had no idea it was not readily available in New Orleans -- which seems quite insane), to the point that I've never really reviewed it, because I feel like it'd kind of be like reviewing Abita Amber, or one of the other Abita regulars. That's meant as a compliment, and it's not to say that what Parish does isn't craft -- they have a bunch of great stuff. But Canebrake is the flagship, and if you have any sort of taste for beer in the Baton Rouge area, you've probably had it a bunch.
Canebrake is crisp and smooth with a beautiful golden honey color. This refreshing American wheat style brew highlights sweet remnants of sugarcane with notes of honey, spice, and citrus on the finish. A new Louisiana tradition, Canebrake was the first commercial beer in the world brewed with locally-made Steen's sugarcane syrup!
Anyways, what exactly does the extra Citra hopping entail? Per USA Hops.org, the Citra variety of hops are:
CitraTM is a special aroma hop variety developed by the Hop Breeding Company (a joint venture between John I. Haas, Inc. and Select Botanicals Group, LLC). It was released in 2007. CitraTM has fairly high alpha acids and total oil contents with a low percentage of cohumulone content. The variety imparts interesting citrus and tropical fruit characters to beer.
Bully for you if you know what half of that means, but as for me, I'll just tell you what I tasted.
Canebrake has a very unmistakable aroma of a wheat ale, but with this variety you could really catch those citrus notes in the bouquet. Kind of like fresh lemon peel. You get kind of a neutral opening, before it rolls over the flavor and texture of a typical Canebrake, with that cane-syrup sweetness. Only the citra seems to almost flatten that out a little. You kind of get those lemony sugars of the zest. There isn't much bitter, which is nice, but I do have to say I wouldn't call it an improvement. Canebrake is typically a solid 3.5 stars beer, maybe a little better. I definitely like it, just not something I go out of my way to get. But this variety just wasn't taste, and I knock it back down to a 3.0 stars.
I picked this one up at Corporate Brew & Draft on Monday, but Parish is running a couple of other events for ACBW, which you can check out here.