Nick Carr on April 13, 2017 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery New Belgium Brewing Location Fort Collins, CO Style American Pale Ale ABV 5.5% IBU 35 Hops Centennial, Cascade, Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, Nugget Malts Pale, Caramel 80 Shelf Life 3 to 6 Months Suggested Glass Pint or IPA Glass Serving Temp 46-48°F Availability Year Round Food Pairings Grilled flank steak, Fried Chicken, Medium Cheddar, Peach pie New Belgium Brewing has put a major lineup overhaul into effect just recently. It started back at the end of last year when they released three new year round beers: Citadelic Exotic Lime Ale — A golden ale brewed with Persian Lime, coriander, and black pepper. Tartastic Lemon Ginger Sour Ale — Ale soured in the tank with lemon and ginger. Dayblazer Easy Going Ale — A low alcohol golden ale. But, these were only the first couple of bricks in the overhaul. With the new year they released their new branded series “Voodoo Ranger.” The series will include a rebranding, and slight changes to Ranger IPA, now Voodoo Ranger IPA, and Rampant Imperial IPA becomes Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA. The series also includes the completely new 8 Hop Pale Ale. Also, Blue Paddle Pilsner has been rebranded as Bohemian Style Pilsner. Some beers will also be let go to make room for these changes. Shift Pale Lager, Snapshot Wheat, and Slow Ride Session IPA won’t be on the shelves any longer. Why the changes? I really don’t know. It’s possible sales have been down and New Belgium decided a new look might make a difference. It may be they just felt it was time to mix it up a little. Honestly, these changes, and some earlier releases seem to set the company drifting away from their roots. Even Ranger and Rampant seemed to be following popularity trends more than having much to do with the companies proclaimed Belgian roots. It may sound like I’m decrying these changes. Well, I am and I’m not. I completely understand a company needing to make money and part of that is obviously brewing what’s popular. Both Ranger and Rampant were excellent beers, and the few new offerings I’ve tried of late are good also. And, hey, who says you can’t grow away from your roots. I just hope they don’t grow too far and at least turn, look back, and brew something traditionally Belgian once-in-a-while. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale. If you tasted this beer or you’re reading this review with a pint in hand, please share your thoughts and tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: The beer falls into the glass a rich gold color. Clarity is superb and a stream of fine carbonation climbs through the depths in the middle of the glass. I pillowy white cloud of small bubbled foam builds to a couple of fingers. Aroma is big and bright, showing a depth of tropical and citrus fruit. Candy-like Mango, peach, papaya, sweet melon, and tangerine play back and forth, along with some low duffy dankness underneath. Mouthfeel and Taste: Mouthfeel is a mellow, but playful, with sprightly carbonation and a low-medium body. It’s refreshing across the palate with a slight stately bitterness toward the back. Taste follows the aroma pretty close. It is a bright mix of fruity and sweet at the front. Well balanced with slight biscuit and caramel malt flavors dancing along with all the juiciness of the fruity hop flavors. The pine and light dankness is more present in the flavors than in the aroma. Bitterness rises at the back, but stays pleasant and friendly. Finish is lightly drying. Aftertaste leaves you wanting another sip with the light bittering of citrus and pine. FINISHING THOUGHTS This pale ale is extremely well balanced, with both the malt and hop bitterness playing their part without overselling either end of the scale. This, along with its low-medium body lends to its drinkability. Where this beer shines is in its hop profile. I guess if you’re gonna use 8 different hops you’d better make sure they are all doing their part of the lifting, contributing something to the final experience. Well, the huge hop aromas and flavors speak to a job well done on this point and what’s especially nice is getting the hop flavor without so much of the bitter accompaniment. It allows a focus on the subtleties of the fruity flavors. Cheers!