I think one indicator that our beer industry is maturing is when brewers begin to experiment, when they step out of the comfort zone of their three or four regular brews and add something new to the range for a few months. Winter is the prime time for seasonal brews in SA – it’s no secret that dark beers aren’t the biggest seller for the rest of the year, but each winter, South Africans remember that they do have cold weather and that could actually do with something hearty to warm them up. And I’ll tell you that Citizen’s new, limited release porter is pretty hearty.
So many South African dark beers are decent enough in flavour, but they lack the body I want from a porter or a stout. And what I really loved about this beer is its thick, luscious body – largely thanks to the use of oats in the grain bill. It’s a beer you could happily drink instead of dessert. Or with it, preferably.
As well as oats, the beer has added cocoa and vanilla, both of which you pick up plenty of. The malt profile is somewhat overshadowed by the additions and if anything, I’d say there’s perhaps a touch too much cocoa happening here. But I totally enjoyed this beer and am looking forward to having another one tonight, in lieu of switching on my heater. Nose-wise, it’s mostly cocoa, but on sipping I found Pacifist to be a fairly complex beer – a touch of coffee, a lot of chocolate, waves of vanilla that contrast with the roasted malt and cocoa, offering both a sweetness and a long-lasting, bitter finish. And carbonation-wise, it’s perfect – far from flat but not too fizzy.
A few weeks ago a friend asked why I don’t have quarter and three-quarter hop ratings on the blog to make the beer ratings more varied. He has a point, but I wanted to keep the ratings simple, just to give an idea of how much I enjoyed the beer/how well made it might be. But If there was a three-quarter, or even a seven eighths rating, Citizen’s Pacifist would definitely have received it. I’m actually looking forward to the weather getting colder again this weekend so I can finish off the four-pack.
Citizen Pacifist is a limited edition beer – just one (albeit fairly large) batch brewed. Look out for it in bottles in select liquor stores and restaurants in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with one or two lucky Cape Town outlets scoring a keg (I would love to taste this on nitro pour). Get in touch with Citizen to find out where to buy.
Brewers – got a seasonal ale you’d like me to taste? Get in touch to sort how to send me your beer!