Chock-full of Simcoe, Cascade, and Chinook hops, this 6.5% ABV IPA really hit the spot.

New Belgium Ranger IPA

New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO

I don’t know about you, Dear Reader, but I’m ready for another IPA post. I’m still amazed at the proliferation of the style, but as it’s my personal favorite, I can only smile and be grateful to live in such an amazing time.

Around ten to twelve years ago, at least here in southwest Ohio, it wasn’t always easy to find an IPA at most restaurants and sports bars. <Diatribe Alert> The worst offenders were the ones that invariably had no beer list but the bartender or waitress would cheerily inform you “Oh, we have everything!” and proceed to rattle off a mind (and palate) numbing list of standard mega-brewery lagers and light beers. When asked about a specific craft beer, say Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (which was not exactly an unknown commodity by any means, even if not technically an IPA), said server would display a blank expression and inform you that they did not have it. A step up were the establishments that at least carried the Sierra Nevada offering, or if you were really lucky, Stone IPA. Rare indeed was the place where you could find a variety of craft beers and several IPAs on tap or at least in bottles. <Diatribe Over>

So yes, I’m ecstatic to have a seemingly endless parade of IPAs available at more and more pubs and restaurants, not to mention beer sellers. So when I ran into the Ranger display (almost literally) set up as part of the New Belgium blitz shortly after their beers arrived in Ohio, I grabbed one (and at the special introductory price of $2.99 for a 22 oz bomber, how can you go wrong?).

Ranger poured out a clear, deep old-gold hue. The quarter inch or so of near-white foam on top slowly subsided to a thin layer and collar.

The aroma of fresh hops reached out with citrusy and floral notes and was quite appetizing.

Texture was smooth and velvety with some carbonation tingle and a little bite.

Huge hoppy flavors with grapefruit and orange blossoms hit the palate up front accompanied with an initial blast of grainy malt. Citrus peel, pine, a little orange oil and solid bittering followed. Honeyish malt appeared midway through. The malt supported the beer, but only made brief appearances. The lengthy finish returned back to hops, with a long, slow fade. My tongue felt coated by hop resins afterward (…and…loving it!). Nice foam rings remained on the glass as well. Very flavorful, hop-forward American-style IPA. Great stuff, this.

I’d recommend pairing with bleu cheese, Buffalo hot wings, spicy Thai or Indian dishes.

Rating:     Appearance: 5/5     Aroma: 9/10     Palate: 5/5     Flavor: 9/10     Overall: 18.5/20

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