I’m not going to lie, as an ‘80s baby myself, the latest iteration of New Belgium’s flagship IPA caught my attention with its throwback can. I mean, it sports a jean jacket, a fanny pack, and a whole lot of neon—it doesn’t get much more ‘80s than that. But with all of these mass market hazy IPAs around, is Voodoo Ranger 1985 a good addition to the crowded field or just gimmicky?
The answer to that question is pretty simple: stellar packaging and one of the most tried-and-true IPA brands come together in a certified summer crusher. I don’t know what kind of “mango goodness” New Belgium dropped in Voodoo Ranger 1985, but the result is one of the strongest, most natural-tasting fruit flavors in any beer I’ve had. It’s not just the taste either, the beer smells like you took a nosedive into a truck-full of mangoes. The color even channels ripe mango.
It doesn’t happen often, but when a brewer captures pure mango flavor in a beer, that’s a recipe for fruity bliss. Mango works so well in beer because its natural evergreen and piney notes complement the sweet, vibrant juiciness. When paired with the right hops like in Voodoo Ranger 1985, those flavors are made even stronger.
The result is a welcome tweak on a craft beer staple that easily earns a spot in my summer rotation. I’m not sure where the ‘80s connection comes in, but I’m not asking too many questions as this bodacious brew is ready for a gnarly summer night.