Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager

Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager 3_5

Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager

Lager / Hairless Dog NA / 0.0%

Six Pack. Upfront citrus peel notes, sweet caramel malt, and earthy hops create our bold, yet refreshing Citra Lager. It’s the perfect all-season, any-occasion NA brew for those seeking a lighter-bodied drink that’s crisp and flavorful.

There was a time not that long ago where non-alcoholic beer options were few and far between. It seemed the only ones out there were light domestic lagers that some huge breweries had put out simply to broaden their customer base. Now, as more and more people turn their focus to their own personal health and well-being, the beer industry is answering the call. Craft breweries are springing up whose sole mission is to create tasty varieties that are free of alcohol, providing all of the flavor with the negative residual effects.

Hairless Dog is one of those breweries. While the industry standard for an NA beer is simply below 0.5 percent alcohol, they go so far as to claim to be the first of their kind of produce brews that are entirely free of alcohol. The NA Citra Lager is the second of their offerings that I have decided to sample, the first being their NA IPA, which I will admit was a bit underwhelming. Citra Lager isn’t a classification that I see very often, so I was excited to see what they had in store. Keep reading my Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager review to find out.

Is Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager Good?

Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Hairless Dog’s label design is rather minimalist but charming nonetheless. Each variety of beer is represented by a different color of can. The Citra Lager is, not unsurprisingly, yellow on a black background with the same silhouette of a dog holding barley in his mouth.

There isn’t a whole lot to be learned visually by the Hairless Dog packaging. Their tagline, “Party like there’s a tomorrow,” is present on a band around the top of the can, signaling that they are targeting an audience who is tired of suffering through hangovers. Similar to most NA beers, the Citra Lager has a very low calorie count, coming in at just 70. After the disappointment that I had in their NA IPA, there wasn’t much else to do but try to temper my preconceptions, crack this can open, and find out “Is Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager good?”

Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager Review

Something jumps out at you the instant you pour the NA Citra Lager into a glass. It’s opaque deep golden hue is filled with particulates. Surely these are bits of citrus that give it its namesake characteristics, and they settle to the bottom rather quickly. There is a small, bright white head that dissipates quickly and a regular amount of carbonation easily visible to the eye. Still, it was a bit surprising to see so many unfiltered solids floating in a canned brew.

On the flip side, unsurprisingly, the first thing that hits you in the nose upon taking a big whiff is sweetness. It is strong, but I don’t find it off-putting. There are aromatic hints of cereal and grass present for sure, and even an underlying sour scent to contrast the sweetness a little bit. Citronella is an aroma that I have seen bandied about in beer tasting notes before but never really recognized, until now. Still, I don’t think any of this is offensive to the nose, nor is it unexpected.

The taste of this beer follow the nose more or less, if in a bit of a circuitous route. Up front the sourness puckered me a tad momentarily but was quickly washed out by the fruity sweetness. It is not, however, simply the orange peel flavor that dominates so many beers that rely on citrus. I sense some hints of lemon and pear, with just a little bit of orange resting underneath it all. There is some hop presence, but I had to dig for it. Likewise, the malt comes through quite subtly in the sweetness.

The body is on the lighter side of medium, which I have come to expect from most non-alcoholic offerings. I have noticed that both of the Hairless Dog beers that I have sampled have a crisp, clean finish to them. I think that is especially beneficial in a brew with such strong fruit flavors. The mouthfeel is balanced, with a shade of dryness coming through alongside the sharp finish.

Heading into my Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager review, I was doing my best to temper negative expectations that I might have coming off my disappointment with their first beer I tried. It was pleasant to find something that I enjoyed and that is taking more of a stance with its direction. I could definitely see myself revisiting this beer when the weather warms up. But what does that mean for its rating?

Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager Rating

One of the best things that I can say about the Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager is that this beer seems to know what it wants to be. I can’t help but contrast that fact to my experience with their NA IPA, which confused my taste buds with all the different directions that it took. The two beers aren’t terribly dissimilar. It’s just that, to me, the IPA tasted like the Citra Lager combined with another smattering of flavors that didn’t mesh.

I think that, with the NA Citra Lager, Hairless Dog is aiming for a refreshing drinkable summer beer that’s not too complicated and perfect for cookouts. I can’t find many flaws in their execution. The flavor profile is complex but clean. There’s nothing present that I can see anyone finding offensive, unless perhaps you are the type who believes fruit doesn’t belong in beer. I am not that type. The one flaw that I found stylistically was the use of the word “lager.” It struck me as more of an ale in appearance, aroma, and flavor. But, overall, a solid one. It’s still far from a standout, but I am arriving at 3 out of 5 stars for my Hairless Dog NA Citra Lager rating. If, like me, you enjoy fruit-forward ales, you might even consider giving it a more positive evaluation than that.


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