Back when micro-breweries were just beginning to get a foothold, one of the popular beers was Fat Tire. At the time, it was a great beer, in comparison to the Bud/Miller/Coors crap. But then, other beers began to come out that had more flavor: Sam Adams, Harpoon, Sierra Nevada, Redhook… Of course, the chronology may not quite match up but from where I was sitting, Fat Tire was one of the earlier beers and I became aware of the others later.
Anyway, as more and more beers became available, Fat Tire lost its luster for me. Even for an Amber Ale, it seems a little lifeless. However, 1554 isn’t too bad and the Mothership Wit is interesting, so when I saw New Belgium Brewing’s Ranger IPA, I had to give it a shot. This was the first IPA I had seen with their name on it.
This was a hotel stay, so I had to pour it into a plastic cup to have a look. It produced a thick, white head with tight bubbles. The head took quite a long time to disappear. It was lighter and clearer than I expect from an IPA, the color leaning more to a light coppery color (like an iced tea that has been watered down a bit). It provides a pleasant scent of hops that is not overpowering (maybe a little light but still nice). As it is light in color and in hops nose, it is also a bit light-bodied. It flows easily over the tongue, is not terribly carbonated, and feels a bit watery. It has a definite hops punch that leaves a good bitter aftertaste. And, thank God, they didn’t go crazy with the Cascade hops. There is no question of the citrus but there is also a counter-balance with the floral/fruitiness. The overall hop profile was strong enough for an IPA but not strong enough for me. Interestingly, despite the label above showing 7%, I swear that my label said 6.5%. That is pretty low for an IPA.
This is no Two-Hearted but it’s worth a taste.