If you’re going to come to my house and enjoy a quality guest room that displays no less than five classy pin-up girls on the walls, an old tv, and a loud window-unit air conditioner, then you are always welcome to bring some beer along for the ride.
Fortunately, last weekend was Klauder Crab Feast XVIII and our gracious house-guests, the Hofbergs, brought a bunch of North Carolina beers (drink enough and you’ll be as forgetful as Dean Smith! Too soon? Drink enough and your black-out will be as jet-black as Coach K’s died hair! Much better!). They also brought a treat I haven’t tried before — New Belgium’s Ranger IPA.
Now, I’m on the record that New Belgium’s holy grail, Fat Tire is supremely overrated. It only has its amazing reputation because you can’t get it in half the country. Well, you can get it in more places these days, but I still haven’t seen Ranger anywhere. Given how much of a disappointment Fat Tire is, I was shocked to like, really really like Ranger. I only had one bottle of the stuff, but that bottle was the best performance by a Ranger since Juan Gonzalez was on the juice.
As for actual North Carolina beers, I wrote down notes for two of them, the Highland Kashmir IPA and the Peacemaker Pale Ale. The Kashmir tastes like Tupper’s Hop Pocket used to, and has a little smokiness. It’s plaid bottle makes me want to drink a few more and listen to Nirvana. The Peacemaker was darker than I expected for a pale ale, smoky, malty, and had a bitter aftertaste. It was okay, but kind of tasted like it was cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
Now, back to Ranger, I had a few thoughts:
- Really good.
- Maybe a little too bitter aftertaste, but that’s nitpicking.
- Same finish of high-quality IPAs like Stone and Racer 5.
- Super hoppy.
- A high-alcohol flavor shows up as the beers creeps towards room temp.
- This is a very top tier IPA. It belongs in the same sentence as Stone (the real Holy Grail) and Racer 5.
Despite the New Belgium name and Fat Tire reputation, this beer snuck up on me, just like a legendary Terp who snuck up on a more renowned player and became a legend for Gary Williams. Joe Smith’s recruiting class at Maryland was headlined by Keith Booth and almost before anyone knew what was going on, Joe blasted out of Booth’s shadow and became a national star, carrying the Terps on his back. New Belgium’s Ranger IPA gets 4.5 out of 5 Terps and is the Joe Smith of beer.
It’s been a long, beer-less weekend. I earned this one.
Bought a car, cleaned the house, cleaned out the gutters, poured a beer.
Oh, and drank a beer.
- dcipa posted this