photo by Kevin Gibson
I’ll admit that I’ve never gotten acquainted with passion fruit in its natural form, so when I first approached this beer, I didn’t know what to expect.
Voodoo Passion Fruit Imperial IPA is a limited-time addition to New Belgium Brewing Co.’s line of Voodoo Ranger beers, which includes Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Ale, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Madarina IPA and a rotating cast of other special releases.
Regardless of fruit additives, when I taste an imperial IPA, I’m expecting something quite big for my palate to navigate. The aroma here is appropriately floral, paying tribute to the Nugget, Nelson Sauvin, and Citra hops within, but with an additional hint of tart-suggesting citrus. Has to be the passion fruit, and that semi-educated guess paid off with a first drink that was at once crisp, tart, and a tad metallic. It was odd and unfamiliar, yet my palate welcomed further sips.
After a few seconds of this beer lingering on the palate, a more familiar piney finish comes through. And yet, the hop qualities here are not overbearing in the crisp, medium body of the beer. The base IPA is present, yet it goes in new directions.
Once the full balance takes hold, Voodoo Passion Fruit Imperial IPA settles into an extremely drinkable and satisfying beer. The tartness and mild bitterness balance each other out nicely, and this one begins to masquerade as a summer sipper if you let your mind go there.
In fact, it begins to feel like a 5 percent ABV IPA, if you let it. But don’t be fooled: This beer is a true Imperial IPA in terms of alcohol content, coming in at 8 percent. Interestingly, for a hardcore double IPA fan, this might seem quite restrained, whereas for a more general audience it’s quite the sleeper.
Voodoo Passion Fruit Imperial IPA is available in 22-ounce bombers for a limited time, so check your favorite bottle shop. I actually liked it more than I expected to. And even if I don’t get my hands on another one, at least now I have an idea of what passion fruit tastes like.