Tonight I’m sampling another fine example of the Colorado craft beer tradition in New Belgium’s Rampant Imperial IPA. This is a big, bitter American double IPA, that’s a bit lighter in color than I’m used to seeing, which might be a hint to the fact that the flavor is heavily tilted towards the hop side, with the malt well in the background. The nose is citrus and pine with some floral notes mixing it up. The middle is strongly bitter, with pine and orange rind the predominant flavors. The bitterness mellows in the finish…The rind carries through but it’s softened by some sugary orange and a hint of maple. The alcohol content is moderate for a double IPA at 8.5% ABV, and a medium body means this isn’t big heavy beer, but it’s got enough weight to justify the imperial moniker. A nice solid example of the style.
I give it a 4.0 out of 5.
Possibly one of the most well known craft beers in all of the United States is New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale. It’s been available in bottles for many years, but its recently been released in cans as well, and this new format has finally induced me to produce a long overdue review. This may be the first craft beer I ever tried, (certainly one of the first) so I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this beer. The nose is toasty and not particularly strong. The middle has some thin roasty malt, and some spice from the hops, and is a bit watery, to be perfectly honest. The body is light, and the finish is similar to the middle, but the spice comes to the forefront. Overall it’s a reasonable beer, clearly popular with the masses, and a decent standby when there’s not a lot of choice.
I give it a 3 out of 5.
I’ve got another light, refreshing drink on the menu today. New Belgium Brewing’s Shift Pale Lager is a hoppy, crisp lager and it is quite delicious. The nose has a lot of orange and floral notes. The middle has lemon and a bit of pine and bread, and the finish faintly reminds me of rye. This is a really well executed hoppy lager (though not nearly as hoppy as Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL) and I really enjoy it.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.