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Kern River Brewing’s Citra…worth the 6 hour trip!

on 20/08/12 at 10:29 am

a woman walks into a bar..., Beer, BoozeBlog

You remember that catch-phrase slogan “I’d walk a mile for a Camel!” Well, that’s nothing. I drove 340 miles for one of my all-time favorite beers. And I wasn’t disappointed. First of all, the drive on Route 178 is spectacular. River rocks the size of houses, towering mountains on either side. Breathtaking. (Scroll down for pictures)

Destination: Kern River Brewing

Left LA at 6:45am, arrived in line at Kern River Brewing: 9:45am for the opening at 11:30am. Yes, stood in line for a hour and a half, happily chitchatting to fellow devotees as we counted the people in front of us and determined we were SAFE…we were definitely getting our 6 bottle (bombers) allocation. YES! People came from all over, LA, Visalia, other spots near and far, some Citra devotees, a few never had it but came on the adventure to discover what all the hype is about.

Once in, I got a seat at the bar where all of the action was…bartenders rushing orders, pouring the golden-orange nectar. Just the smell of the hops was satisfying. Sitting right in front of the taps, I got to ask Eric a few questions who was always genial even in the midst of the madness. Me: “Since Citra is so wildly popular is making it only once or twice a year a marketing decision to foment buzz?” Eric: “No, it’s not a marketing decision. We’re just a small brewery and it takes a lot longer to make Citra. It’s dry-hopped four times whereas our regular IPA is dry-hopped twice.” Me: “Do you have plans to expand?” Eric (smiles): “We’re working on it! When we do, Citra will be a regular offering.” Ok, so that’s good news!

Also being poured was a cask of Jalapeno Citra which was already empty by the time I got around to asking for a taste. They poured 40 pints in less than 15 minutes. Eric said they’ll pour 1000 pints of Citra and would run out on Sunday. Reading some reports on BeerAdvocate.com, sounds like I got there before the real mayhem ensued. Some guy bragged that he had had SEVEN pints of fresh. It was crazy…crazy FUN!

Kyle, The Magician Brewmaster, seemed pretty calm and was drinking a can of Heady Topper from Vermont, a highly rated IPA which, sadly, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to taste, but apparently people are always bringing in stuff for him to try.

Had engaging conversations with people at the bar, everyone was happy, enthusiastic, cheery. I have to say that a beer crowd is truly joyful, and oh so different from crowds at wine tastings or even cocktail events where they can be a tad uptight, pretentious, and even a little sneering. The only people guilty of some conceit are beer geeks and they’ve probably earned it since they’ve probably downed enough beer to fill an ocean. But regular beer-lovers just plain love their beer, casually enjoy themselves and, yes, have developed sophisticated palates to be as discerning as wine-lovers are for their beverage of choice.

When this opportunity comes up again, as it will, take the day off…drive through some stunning California landscape to the awesome little town of Kernville where there is a ton to do besides drinking sensational beer. Their slogan: “Welcome to Kernville, CA – Now Get Outside!!”

Here is the day in pictures (sorry for the weird formatting…war with WP…but scroll all the way down)…

The line in front of me. People were prepared with folding chairs & some non-stop beer talk














Twins are first in line! This is how beer geeks are born.











Eric, one of the owners, signing us up so no one sneaks in...all hell would break lose.

















My precious ticket. Relieved.











OMG. A pint of beauty. And worth every $5 gallon of gas to get here.
















A whirlwind of bartenders pouring the golden elixir














Eric pouring pouring pouring. That's FRESH Citra!














Took a break with a flight


















Flight Card


And Kyle Created Citra And Rested And Drank Heady Topper




Kyle - The Master Magician Brewmaster











Kyle talking to beer geeks















My 2nd fresh pint 🙂













6 Pack 'O Bombers Going Home With Me








On the road, the stunning riverbed