I last sampled a Voodoo Ranger Hoppy Pack from New Belgium back in April. That was pack No. 3. A couple of beers have been swapped out or updated so we’re on Hoppy Pack No. 5. I missed Hoppy Pack No. 4. Kinda let you down on that one. Sorry.
To review, the Voodoo Ranger Hoppy Pack contains four different IPAs from New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger series. Voodoo Ranger IPA and Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze hazy IPA are standard equipment on this pack. The other two beers rotate out. The Hoppy Pack always has a can of Voodoo Ranger Xperimental IPA. The can is the same, but the beer in it is different in each new pack. Finally, the beer whose contents and packaging are both new in pack No. 5 is the Voodoo Ranger Hop Avenger IPA.
What was true about this pack in April is still true this fall: the variety in this pack doesn’t vary that much. You aren’t going to find a dank, piney West Coast IPA in this box. These beers range from a neutral bitterness to the more citrus-forward New England style. Here’s what my blunt palette thought of these beers. Let’s start with what’s new.
Voodoo Ranger Hop Avenger IPA
I’ll start with the new kid: Hop Avenger. I would agree you get superhero levels of hops in this beer. The bitterness is quite strong but exactly what kind of bitterness is hard to pin down. It’s not piney, grassy or herbal nor does it taste like a citrus peel. The bitter flavor is almost smoky to my taste buds. The aroma has a slight piney note, almost like the grassy-lemony flavor of sorrel.
This beer is a hazy apricot orange with a big, bubbly, bumpy white head. The hoppy bitterness dominates, but I also got very mild flavors of stone fruit like plum and persimmon from this IPA. The finish is pretty clean with little lingering aftertaste despite the strong flavor of Citra, Mosaic and Chinook hops. Hop Avenger weighs in at 7.7% ABV and 42 IBUs.
Voodoo Ranger Xperimental IPA No. 5
Voodoo Ranger Xperimental IPA #5 is described by the brewery as a bright, citrusy IPA brewed with Galaxy hops. That’s about right, but it isn’t as citrusy as a true New England IPA. It comes in at 6.6% ABV and 41 IBUs. It pours golden orange with a thick, white foamy head with only a slight haze to it.
This IPA is easy drinking. The hoppy bitterness is not nearly as dominant as it is in Hop Avenger even though the IBUs are nearly identical. The lower alcohol content could be the reason.
Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA
Now it’s time for the reruns. Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze is a hazy IPA with a very thick, white head that releases the smell of citrus (mainly grapefruit) and pine. The beer is hoppy but not especially bitter at 42 IBUs, consistent with its previous to packmates. The alcohol comes in at 7.5% ABV.
We noted citrus in the flavor along with a faint hint of peppery spice. Hoppy bitterness dominates. Five hop varieties were used in this beer (Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Nugget), so there’s a lot going on, but it is still very drinkable with some of the bitterness hanging on as a light aftertaste.
Voodoo Ranger IPA
Finally, there’s plain ol’ Voodoo Ranger IPA. Well, not exactly plain; this beer packs in seven hop varieties (Amarillo, Cascade, Mosaic, Chinook, HBC 522, Mosaic, Strata, Citra) to create its flavor. Alcohol content sits at a solid 7.0% ABV, in line with the rest of this series, while the IBUs come in at 50, a value more typical of an American IPA than this rest of the Voodoo Ranger lineup.
This beer doesn’t look much different than your run-of-the-mill American lager. It’s perfectly clear, effervescent and gold in color with a thin, foamy head. Similarities end there, however. Voodoo Ranger IPA is flavorful and easy drinking. It doesn’t taste as bitter as the other IPAs in this series despite its higher IBUs. I tasted stone fruit (peaches) and citrus (oranges) with a note of pine on the mostly clean finish. This is a nicely balanced IPA that offers a little something for everyone.