Ranger India Pale Ale (New Belgium Brewing Co.)

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Be here for the fight of fights.  As Ranger takes on Ranger.  The title is on the line! Show up early for the ultimate showdown. Bottle versus Aluminum.  One man will be blindfolded and thrown into the mix.  Who will win? Be there Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

So continuing the Can vs. Bottle debate I decided one of the best ways to do this was to pull out a can of beer and a bottle of the same beer and do a blind taste test.  Great plan, right?  He’s so smart.

Here is how it was setup.  First the glasses were labeled with scotch tape on the bottom with 1 and 2.  I thought of that so I guess I’m smart too. Only Amber knew which one beer was which.  I photographed the bottle and can.

Then I went somewhere where I could not see which one was which. I poured them into the glasses and came up with a little mnemonic to remember which was which. I could tell you what it was, but then you would know which was which before the read his notes and that wouldn’t really be fair, now would it? Next I photographed the beers in the glasses.

Pictured from left to right: Number 1 and Number 2

Then we went back inside (it was trying to rain and nobody likes a soggy beer).  The aroma for glass 1 was florally hopped with a hint of maltiness. Glass number 2 didn’t have the maltiness to but seemed to be very florraly hopped.  Number 2 seemed to be less harsh on the nose though. Based on the aroma I’m giving Glass 1 as the bottle and glass 2 as the can. The second glass had a better more rounded hop smell than glass 1.  Winner glass 2.

The color of glass 1 was  a white head with an amber body.  Glass number 2 was the same.  The head in glass 1 disippated very quickly.  The head from glass 2 was thicker and creamier looking.  Draw (sometimes the pour isn’t as good so it’s possible glass 1 just wasn’t as good of a pour). What?  Me?  A bad pour?

Finally the best part of the reviews, tasting.  Glass number 1 had a lot of hops.  It had a bitter body and a bitter finish.  Not much for maltiness or balance.  It really was a hoppy floral taste.    The mouthfeel was carbonated but smoothed out at the back of your throat.  I thought glass one was harsh on the hops.  If I had to guess as to what it reminded me of I would say Potpurri.   I then moved on to glass 2, but first I rinsed my mouth with water several times to cleanse my palatte so it wouldn’t be burnt out from glass 1.  I found glass 2 to be cleaner.  It was still very hoppy but seemed to be more balanced.  The mouthfeel was smoother and it didn’t feel as carbonated.  Glass 2 reminded me of a fresh bouquet of flowers.  For the record I think I came  up with the potpurri v. fresh bouquet analogy. I again rinsed and repeated with glass number 1 and glass number 2 (what? I had to be thorough).  He’s all about being thorough. I finally reached my decision that Glass 2 had the better taste therefore must be the can.  A little biased perhaps? This is why we needed it to be blind. Winner: glass 2.

Here’s what I noticed.  Glass number 2 seemed to have a fresher taste.  To me it was cleaner, crisper, and not as harsh on the hops.  Glass number 1 tasted like liquid hops (don’t get me wrong I love hops but in comparison glass 2 seemed more balanced).  So my choice is glass 2 was the canned Ranger IPA while glass 1 was the bottle.

Here’s Amber with how I did: He’s right.  Glass 2 was the can. The mnemonic should be super obvious at this point.  Just think about it.

To be fair it should be noted that the best by date on the can said August 28 while the bottle was good until November.  So it’s possible that the smoother not as harshly hopped can wasn’t as fresh (i.e. the hops mellow with time).  That would mean I might think the canned beer was equal to the bottle in terms of taste if they were equal in best by dates.  I personally don’t think that’s the case.  The can wins hands down. I think we need a rematch with a can and bottle of the same date. Or maybe I just want an excuse to drink more Ranger.  God, I love Ranger.



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