In Sweden (and Norden) we have Christmas beers as our main big thing over the winter months while over in the US there is a different kind of celebratory beer that is more common – pumpkin beers. That is not say that Christmas beers aren’t popular, most breweries have their Christmas beer or a winter warmer for the winter season, but as many have their pumpkin beer, popular for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Pumpkins beers are usually made with a small amount of pumpkin while the majority of the flavors and aromas comes from different spices, most notably cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The problem is that pumpkins are too thick and dense and are difficult to get good sugars and flavor out of which is why you go for spices instead, there are some exceptions such as the phenomenal Avery Rumpkin (lots of pumpkin and aged on rum barrels). Then there are twists on the style such as the beer under review. Once again it is Stone who has gathered a couple of friends (The Bruery and Elysian) to make their own hybrid of a beer. The three have made a citrusy pumpkin/yam beer brewed with pumpkin, yams, toasted fenugreek, lemom verbena and birch bark.
Bruery/Elysian/Stone La Citrueille Cèleste de Citracado
Appearance: Golden reddish brown color on the beer with a thick fudge brown foam, small bubbles and a compact head.
Aroma: Lots of lemon verbena with some pumpkin and yam lurkin in the background. Just when the spicy verbena is about to become too much in focus there are some dry woody aromas that saves the balance of the aroma. Would I call it a pumpkin and yam beer? Probably not, more like a saison or fresh Belgian summer something (despite it’s dark color) with some unusual spices.
Flavor: Light to medium bodied, good carbonation. First flavors are of pumpkin, then lemon verbena and then back to pumpkin with nutmeg and actual pumpkin. Some ginger soap and caramel. The flavors are well balanced but maybe a little one way despite the greatness of these brewers. At the same time I would dub this beer the equivalent of the Stone/Nøgne Ø/Jolly Pumpkin Special Holiday Ale but with pumpkin and yam instead of Christmas spices. What I like with the input from the lemon verbena is that it adds both citrus and vegetable spiciness to the pumpkin/yam flavors.
Rating? – Good. Not my favorite Stone collaboration beer. Above average and has a good twist to a pumpkin beer with the lemon verbena and birch bark. But do I like it? Yes, there are some good moments in drinking this beer. Do I really like it? No, it has its moment and is interesting and innovative by pushing pumpkin ales forward, but compared to San Diego County Style Session Beer which was just amazing or say Juxtaposition, this has a lot to live up to, which it doesn’t. Still a great beer for those who either like pumpkin ales or spicy saisons or Belgian ales.