Colorado has been one of the best beer producing states for quite some time now. And today I was finally able to get my hands on a few beers from one of the state’s highest acclaimed breweries - Outer Range.
Outer Range opened in December of 2016 in Frisco, Colorado and, since then, they have really been stacking up the accolades. In 2017 the brewery was named one of the 50 Best New Breweries by BeerAdvocate and USA Today had them as the second best new brewery in their list from 2018!
They showed up in Chicagoland very briefly last month (for about a day) before every place sold out. Luckily, in that short time span I was able to secure a single four-pack of their stuff and it turns out I found a pretty good one.
I snagged their In the Steep, an IPA made with 100% Citra hops. The beer carries a solid 6.7% ABV and was even named a Top 5 Beer in 2018 by Craft Beer & Brewing. The biggest drawback was its $20 price tag for the four pints but, since it’s damn near impossible to find in Illinois, it was a price I was gladly willing to pay.
This version was released on April 4th, 2020 and was reviewed on June 3rd.
In the Steep poured a slightly cloudy, golden straw color with about two fingers of fluffy eggshell white head topping the beer. The foam dissipated over the next few minutes, leaving a thick solid line of lacing around the entire glass as it did so.
The smell was a combination of tropical fruits and dankness, with some earthy and flaked grain notes hiding in the background. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and tangerine led the way with hints of gassiness and pine peeking through as well.
My first sip started off with a super smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The Citra hops quickly hit with a jab of bitterness before the flavors really begin to expand.
A grapefruit pithiness and acidic pineapple rush out in front but are soon joined by juicy mango, a dash of stone fruit, and tangerine. As the sip progresses, the hops add more than just fruit flavors as, towards the backend, there is a bit of pine nut and black pepper spice that comes forward.
The malts add some sweetness and that cereal-like wheat flavor but it is well beneath the hop-forward, and mostly juicy, flavors of In the Steep.
It ends with a very moderate amount of dryness but does have a small lingering flavor - bitterness and citrus rind - that lasts for a few minutes or so.
This was a really easy to drink beer that showcases Citra hops nicely. Before I knew it my glass was empty and was looking for another can in my fridge. It does have a bit more bitterness than I was expecting but, even with that, it was crushable beer nearing the 7% mark.
Most places by me sold out of these beers in a few hours..and now I know why. Hopefully Illinois will get another shipment or two from them soon!