Are you a self-professed hophead
? Are the IBUs just as important to you as the ABV? Do you love beers so bitter that your taste buds sting with protest? So tart that your tongue twists in knots as soon as you take the first sip? If so, read on!
Ranger India Pale Ale
from New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado. (70 IBUs, 6.5% ABV)
Appearance: Crystal clear and a burnished dark gold color with a nice sticky head of lemony foam.
Aroma: There's no doubt that this is a hop-tastic beer! The aroma is pure hop flower with layers of potpourri spiciness, hemp, and toasty malts.
Taste: This IPA is a parade of all the flavors we love in a hoppy beer: lemon citrus and orange blossom, grapefruit and pine resin, tart apricot and unripe peach. Talk about a tongue-bruiser! Rather than muddling together, each flavor stands out individually. Biscuit malts peek through every now and again for a hint of sweetness.
It's medium-bodied and very smooth - it would almost be creamy if it weren't for the prickly sensation from the hops. There's a lingering citrus pith flavor after each sip, but otherwise, the beer finishes crisp and clean.
Having said this, personally, I felt this IPA was lacking something. I love a bitter hoppy brew, but I also like a nice malty backbone to balance out all those bright flavors. This beer felt like all hop attack with nothing underneath to hold it up. Some of you might love this about it, though, so definitely try it for yourselves!
Food Pairings: With all its perky citrus flavors, this IPA would be ideal for an afternoon cookout. It's flavors are bold enough to stand up to the strong flavors of grilled foods, sharp cheeses, and barbecue sauce.
Have you tried this beer? What did you think of it?
Related: Quick and Dirty Guide to Lager Beers
(Image: Emma Christensen)