When I was a lad growing up on the mean streets of Beamsville, Maple Grove Public School was an elementary school with an alternative-learning bent. Times have changed, though. Now, rather than being a school for gifted youngsters or an estate winery which will never host its celebrity owner, the old Maple Grove building is home to the Bench Brewing Company.
Bench Brewing is the realized dream of Matt Giffen who saw the Niagara region as a great place to set up a “terroir” brewery. The fact that the term “terroir” is traditionally associated with fine French wines should give readers a sense of how dedicated Giffen and his team, including brewmaster Mark Horsley, are to brewing high-quality beer that’s a product of its environment. As usual, though, all this discussion of breweries is making me thirsty. So, stand back as I reconnect with my Beamsvillian roots and try Bench Brewing’s Citra Grove Dry Hopped Sour.
Bench Brewing Co: Citra Grove Dry Hopped Sour – First Sip
Citra Grove pours a very cloudy pale yellow colour. A thick layer of foam develops around the top of the wineglass that I’m drinking from as per the bottle’s pictorial instruction. I learn too late that, according to Bench’s website, I should’ve used a Belgian tulip glass. The foam dissipates quickly, leaving about 1/2″ of head that sticks around. I pick up a strong citrus aroma as I take my first sip, and enjoy a mouth-puckering tartness that’s full of lemon and semi-ripe orange flavours. With relatively lazy bubbles, Citra Grove provides a crisp and watery mouthfeel enhanced by its sour flavour — check out the gose I reviewed earlier this week if you’re a fan of sour beers.
Bench Brewing Co: Citra Grove Dry Hopped Sour – Last Sip
Learning from my mistake, I make sure to enjoy my second glass of Citra Grove from a Belgian tulip glass. And, since Citra Grove comes in 750-mL bottles, there was a lot left over after my first glass. I don’t notice much of a taste difference when I drink from a Belgian tulip glass rather than a wineglass. I do notice its citrus-y aroma more. If you don’t have a Belgian tulip glass or a wineglass, ensure you pour it into something. Citra Grove’s aroma is not to be missed.