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All in all I’m not really an IPA drinker. I tend to lean towards porters, stouts, bocks and other darker varieties. The bitterness of hop-heavy beers tends to take me awhile to get through, thus I stay on the maltier side of the fence most of the time. There are a few exceptions to this hard and fast rule though and New Belgium’s Ranger IPA is one of them. It”s a bit of a strange beast. The initial nose and flavor of the first few sips are very prominent with hops, yet it is never overpowering. After the initial flavor-burst it mellows out quite a bit though, making it a great IPA for sessions or warm summer days.
First impressions are hard to get over, and my first impression was a nose full of hops giving me an impression of bitterness. After the first couple of sips (and a little bit of warming) I was able to pick up definite notes of citrus, pine, earthiness and a slight hint of biscuit. Rating it is very difficult to do and many people would probably disagree with how low I’ve set it, however it does not really play into my tastes as a drinker. I’d say that Ranger is not necessarily the best example of an IPA either even if it is good, but it’ s also at a great price point. I acquired it as part of a Folly Pack (3 each of 4 different New Belgium beers) for $13, making it a great value. If it’s available in your area and you want a good IPA, it’s a good place to start.