Had I chosen to go back and see whether or not a review of New Belgium’s Ranger was already up on my blog, I would have promptly put down my notepad and just enjoyed the beer. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I spent most of the beer jotting down descriptions and doing research on what makes it a popular IPA. Granted, I definitely would have remembered if I had reviewed it before, mostly because one of the main purposes of this blog was (and is) to help me keep track of the beers I’ve tried and what I found in them – so it might be interesting to see how much different my review of Ranger is from Ty’s. And no I’m not going to go read his quick before I write mine for hints or ideas on how to make mine more interesting (cough…pictures…cough), I’m just going with the flow.
I might be exaggerating a bit, but I think the last two beers I’ve tried have had the same massive heads on them. Am I pouring too vigorously or something? I mean, they look really impressive and never fail to amuse me, but I’m beginning to wonder if that’s what’s supposed to be happening. Nevertheless, the Ranger poured out crystal clear and oddly reminded me of the way the sun shines through a slice of mandarin orange. Or maybe a coppery apricot with rich golden-honey highlights. I need to find a better place to take photos so I can show the colors better, my kitchen is so dark. It produced a handsome buff/beige whipped cream head that was, again, easily 3 to 4 fingers thick – possibly 5 when I first poured it. Refusing to disappear, the frothy foam held itself together in nice big snow piles that drifted across the middle while thick sheets of fluffy lace clouds clung effortlessly to the glass.
The nose came across fairly mild, but I think I’m expecting these IPAs to be Imperials or Doubles, when they are only (and not a bad only) regular IPAs. I’m a sucker for a good punchy hop. Regardless, I will continue to taste and learn about and broaden my IPA horizons until there is no more beer in the world. Sigh, such a good life this will be. *Snaps back to the present* Well, the aroma of this IPA, though mild, was chock-full of grapefruit pith rolled up in some marijuana and soaked in oily lemon peel. The obvious zesty hops were present with an even bitterness that was smoothed out by light pale malts, and while I tried to find where the minimal pine accents were coming from, they really didn’t associate with the rest of the scents too much even in the flavor.
Where the nose was nice and mild, the flavor was definitely mellow in its own way. Carrying a nice medium body with heavier medium carbonation, the Ranger also offered a slick oiliness that coated my tongue and mouth while at the same time ended on a dryer note. I’ve gotta find out how they do that, it doesn’t make sense to me that something can be oily and dry at the same time…and still taste delicious. I think the oil came from the lemon peel that was in the aroma, but the taste was more lemon-lime with touches of grapefruit rind. I was a little surprised to find that none of the citrus flavors were very pronounced or obvious despite the use of both Cascade and Chinook hops, and much of the taste came out in light unidentifiable florals and herbs. Nearing the end of my glass, I was able to pay more attention to the sweetness emanating from the liquid and recognized a light honey and a few caramel malt notes just around the edges. These were offered with some breadiness that helped me to really feel it in my mouth – making it taste stronger/thicker. Honestly, and I hate to be a poor sport about this, but for my tastes, there is just too much malt in it for me to put it in my list of favorite IPAs. I’m not going to write it off forever, but I’d like to get more accustomed to all of my other options before I revisit it. I have no issues with New Belgium Brewing Co, they make excellent beers, and I’m really looking forward to trying another one and seeing how it compares to Ty’s notes.