Ranger India Pale Ale, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins

Style: India Pale Ale

ABV: 6.5 percent

Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle

Malty? Hoppy? Not as hoppy as you might expect from an IPA.

Reviewed: September 2012

Almost everyone in the beer business, it seems, brews an India Pale Ale. (Here’s one we like. And another.) With so many IPAs in the market, it’s necessary to brew a batch that’s distinctive and offers something in the way of contrast to other interpretations of the style. New Belgium does this with its Ranger.

We like to think of Ranger as a starter IPA. It has all the characteristics of the style, including plenty of hops that offer fruit and citrus flavors and a hint of sweet malt. But Ranger isn’t shockingly bitter, as is the case with some IPAs. (In fact, Ranger might not pack enough of a punch for hop fanatics.) The beer pours a striking clear golden color. The smell is grainy, citrusy—grapefruit and lemon—and a bit malty. Ranger’s flavor doesn’t stray too far from it’s aroma. The citrus-flavored hops hit first. Then, there’s a medium bitterness that is balanced by mild malt. Ranger finishes smooth—a nice, easy-drinking IPA.

Would we buy it again? We’ll share this one with our friends who constantly declare, “I don’t like IPAs.” Ranger just might change their minds.