New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger series of IPAs can be found all over the country. There are at least eight varieties in the Voodoo Ranger family as of this writing. Four of them — the basic IPA, Jucifer IPA, Juicy Haze IPA and ab Xperimental IPA — can be found in the Voodoo Ranger Hoppy Pack. The Xperimental IPA is exclusive to the variety pack.
IPAs can be all over the place in terms of appearance and flavor from dank and piney to fruity and tropical, so we at BeerWhere cracked open a Hoppy Pack to see what’s what.
These are some really tasty beers, easy drinking despite alcohol content in the 7% range. They’re also very pretty beers with fluffy white heads and dense lacing that clings to the side of your glass chronicling the going going gone of each beverage. What surprised us most is that we didn’t think there was a lot of variety to the beers in this variety pack. If we had taken the time to read the packaging notes, we would have been better informed, but we like to dive right into these things without preconceptions.
The flaps of the carton tell you immediately that these are not West Coast IPAs. If dank and piney is your jam, jam elsewhere. New Belgium describes two of these IPAs as citrusy, one as tropical and the last as “bursting with notes of guava, mango and pineapple,” which sounds pretty tropical to us. Despite the pair of tropicals and the pair of citrusies, these are nicely balanced beer and are not dominated by fruit. Let’s get to the tasting.
Voodoo Ranger IPA
We started with what seemed like the base model, the Voodoo Ranger IPA. This is a clear, bubbly beer with a mild aroma of citrus and stone fruit. There’s nothing overpowering or dominant in the taste, and the beer doesn’t paint your throat with hops. The finish is clean and effervescent with little aftertaste. This 7% ABV IPA (50 IBU) is flavored with a plethora of hop varieties — Nugget, Cascade, Simcoe, Chinook, Mosaic and Amarillo — and is a pleasant beer that will suit many tastes.
Voodoo Ranger Jucifer
Jucifer, huh? Well, now we should be expecting a Hawaiian Punch in the mouth, right? Nope. Jucifer is a hazy IPA that has the highest ABV in the pack at 7.7% but is sublimely smooth and not very bitter despite being rated at 50 IBU. The beer is a hazy pale yellow with a bubbly white head that smells of grapefruit and tangerine with notes of pine. Despite the name, we detected no strong fruit or juice flavors when drinking it, just a nicely hoppy beer (Citra, Incognito, Galaxy and Chinook hops) with no strong aftertaste.
Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze
Juicy Haze is the second hazy IPA in the pack and differed from Jucifer with its slightly more grassy, herbal, and piney notes that complement the smell of oranges. Again, the beer is hoppy but not especially bitter (42 IBU), making as easy to drink as the others even at 7.5% ABV. We couldn’t note any dominant flavor, perhaps due to the five hop varieties mixing things up (Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Nugget).
Voodoo Ranger Xperimental IPA #3
Well, we thought that if things were going to get weird, this would be the beer that would do it.
Nope, not really. #3 is clear and bright with a bubbly white head. What’s different about this beer is that is uses only one kind of hop: Simcoe, which is noted for its earthy and fruity profile. We detected the subtle aroma of oranges along with the herbal notes of black tea. This beer tasted a little more bitter than the others in the pack despite only weighing in at 35 IBUs, which is more typical for the style. This beer is another clean finisher and very enjoyable to drink.
Overall, we really enjoyed the beers in this pack and would buy it again. You can really focus on the flavor of the hop combinations without being distracted by any single strong flavor. Nothing to extreme here and all very enjoyable. As we’ve said before, our sense of taste is a bit of a blunt instrument, so we’d be interested to hear your opinion of these beers.