Nov 1, 2010

New Belgium Ranger IPA

I haven’t taken a proper vacation in quite some time and, while this past weekends trip wasn’t one either, the four day escape to The Outer Banks was a much needed break. A mere four hour drive from the homestead, we were on the cool, windy beach collecting shells with the kid in no time.

Well deserved time exploring the dunes aside, the trip to NC also offers me the opportunity to snag a couple of bottles of a tasty brew that’s not yet available in Virginia. While picking up a case of New Belgium’s Fat Tire — a beer that is probably over-hyped in the VA area due to it’s lack of availability, but still damn tasty — I noticed a lone six pack of the brewery’s Ranger IPA sitting in the cooler, as well.

New Belgium Ranger IPA Label

Now, I’ve had Fat Tire on several occasions, but I had only read of the brewery’s foray into American IPAs so you can imagine the speed with which that six pack made it into the car for the ride back to the beach house. Since it was already chilled and close to dinner, we cracked a couple open and set about enjoying this tasty IPA on the deck overlooking the ocean.


Pouring a bright golden amber in color, Ranger IPA is a good looking brew with excellent lacing.


The blend of Cascade, Chinook, and Simcoe hops make for one hell of a nose on this beer. A combination of pine resin, floral citrus and a light biscuit malt in the background, the beer smells wonderful and clean. The hop character isn’t in-your-face aggressive.


This is one tasty brew. It’s not nearly as hop forward as I would have expected based on the nose, but, man, do they make an appearance in the latter half of the swallow. There’s the piny and fruity character of the hops mixed with a welcome biscuity malt balance in the background. The finish carries a decent hop bitterness and a clean feel on the palate — without destroying your taste buds like some hop bombs. The beer is light to medium bodied with a crisp carbonation that proves to refresh and reinvigorate the palate.


This is quite an impressive beer. It’s right up there with Bell’s Two Hearted Ale for me in terms of what I expect from a drinkable, hoppy IPA. My only gripe with the beer is that it’s not readily available in Virginia. Then again that may be a good thing — I can see spending a good amount of hard earned cash on this one every summer if it were easy to find.

Rating: 3.5/5

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