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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Firewater India Pale Ale - Catawba Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Firewater India Pale AleFirewater India Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

72 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 209
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 5
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Catawba Brewing Co. visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: oberon on 03-15-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 209
Photo of pops28078
4.82/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type Can 12 oz.
Glass used Tulip also sampled from can direct.

Pours light amber on the orange side with medium carbonation.

Head is two finger off-white and all but disappears in 2-3 minutes. Lacing is average.

Aroma of baked bread and very light citrus but I didn't detect pine.

Taste at first is of hops but quickly turns to the malts and at the end back to a lingering hop bitterness, but not too bitter. No hint of sweetness, but maybe the sweet
covers the hops and balances to a nice medium and pleasing taste.

Mouthful is light-medium with no hint of alcohol @ 6.0 ABV.

Overall this is a very pleasing IPA. Very drinkable and I will enjoy it often. Sipping from the can still leaves me with a toned down IPA taste and I detect some metallic, but not too strong. However, decanting into a glass really brings out the full realm of characteristics I enjoy in an IPA. Yet, I'd still consider this one drinkable from the can. (946 characters)

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.56/5  rDev +30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer a Barley's Taproom and Pizzaria in Knoxville, TN. The pour was an IPA standard amber with a good three-quarter inch head that quickly dissapated and stuck to the sides of the glass throughout the drink.

That is the only place this beer was average! The smell was, to say the least, strange. It was a weird mix of malt and spice. I know you're thinking malt and spice, what's so strange? I can't really put my finger on what it was, just accept the fact that it's strange.

The taste was more like a good altbeir than an IPA. It started very clean and then you get a progressively stronger hop bite. All followed by a clean finish. Absolutely no lingering hops in your mouth after swallowing.

All and all a very refreshing, no forget that, it's just a damn good beer! (788 characters)

Photo of BHP1
4.53/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a glass in Black Mountain, NC.

Serving Type: On Tap

Light orange color with a smooth taste. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I am a huge IPA fan and this one, for me, ranks near the top. If you can get your hands on some, it is worth your time to try it out. (282 characters)

Photo of Imstillthegman
4.13/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Barley's, Asheville.

This one was a nicely clear, yet dark amber color. Solid head of khaki bubbles left some nice lacing down the glass. The head really lasted on this one. I like my IPA's to have this darker color for some reason and this one looked really good to me.

The aroma was of citrus hops with a hint of pine in the background. Nice caramel malt smell lingered in the back, as well.

The taste was of those hops...nice and bitter. Pine came through more in the flavor, but the citrus still made an appearance. Slightly sweet malt backbone tried to balance it out, but wasn't very successful. I'm glad it wasn't.

Medium bodied with good carbonation. Slightly drying with a nice bitter aftertaste. With the abv barely above 5% I could easily see this being the beer of choice for a long afternoon. I'll have to find a place to get a growler of this one next time I am in the area. (902 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I dance with excitement and anticipation each and every time local, in-person trader tone77 mentions that he has beer for me. He was recently in North Carolina and came back with a significant CANtribution to The CANQuest (TM). I have thoroughly enjoyed each one and wish that I could get some more for review.

From the CAN: "'Professionally Brewed Beer for Professional Beer Drinkers.'"; "Fine, Hand-Crafted Ales"; "Since 1999"; "This golden straw colored IPA is made with 5 varieties of malts and 6 massive hops. It is a stand-alone great in flavor and aromatics. Any fan of a classic India Pale Ale will be pleased to taste this intricately crafted beer."; "Firewater is a very balanced and drinkable East CoastIPA. Six separate British hop varieties make your taste buds jump up and say 'Wow!', while wheat and five different barleys provide a malty balance. n Ameri[CAN] version of the historic English style, this beer [CAN] stand up to a journey - either halfway around the world or just from [CAN] to mouth!"

First white lightning, now Firewater. I CAN see where this day is headed. Holy carbonation, Batman! The Crack revealed a beer eager to come out and greet me, much like a puppy on its master's return. This was notable as the beer had been unmoved, cooling in my reefer until just a moment ago. Full? No wonder it popped. It was so full that there was no room for the tab to move into the CAN! The inverted Glug was the work of a master, forming two fingers of dense, tawny head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep-amber. Nose had a mintiness reserved for chewing gum and/or mouthwash. Minty fresh! Mouthfeel was medium and I simply allowed the beer to roll around on my tongue, letting the hops linger like a kiss. Schlitz used to advertize as "Just a kiss of the hops" and that being the case, this was a French Kiss of the hops. Gimme, baby. Dense sticky lacing began to form in the glass with each successive sip. It was not fiery, but neither was it mellow. It was striking a nice balance between too many hops and not enough. Finish was dry, but not so dry that I was gasping for water, either. More, I want more. (2,152 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.03/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: The beer is a hazy amber in color with great retention and heavy lacing

smell/taste: Good pale and amber malt presence with a light to moderate sweetness. Citrus hops are a nice compliment to the grain flavors. Nice bitterness level. This is a good beer but I would like the hops to be a little more fresh and livelier.

m: The body is medium with low-medium carbonation

d: easy (384 characters)

Photo of franksnbeans
4.02/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served to me a hazy burned orange with a ring of head and spotty lacing. Smells a little malty with a bitter hoppiness. Taste is pretty simple with a little malt that doesn't hang with or balance the bitter hops. Medium in the mouth with light carbonation. Took a little time to get through it. (294 characters)

Photo of rangerred
4.02/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can into a pint glass. 6% abv printed on the can.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a one finger off-white head. Light lacing.

Aroma is fairly malt with with dark bread and some caramel. There is orange and grapefruit hop aroma along with some earthiness.

The flavor is quite earthy in the beginning; almost dirt-like but in a good way. Some dark, rye bread in there too. A strong bitterness takes hold right away and doesn't let go through the duration. A little bit of orange hop flavor along with a slightly Belgian spicyness. Mouthfeel is quite full considering the strength and style.

Overall this is a fairly unique and enjoyable IPA. Plenty of hoppyness but enough of a malt backbone to support it. Easy to have a few of these in a session. (752 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can without freshness info being offered.
Pours clouded medium golden amber, under a large near white and lasting head. leaves nice thick webs of lacing.

Nose of pine, hop resin and a hint of ripe melon.

Tasty enough AIPA, with a respectable hop package, more resins and pine providing the bite.

Carbonation and mouthfeel are on point. I enjoyed several of these during a recent stay in NC. Nice everyday type of brew/IPA. (434 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barleys in Greenville.

Came out a nice pale amber, a bit cloudy with a thin white head, that faded to leave a nice lace down the side. Smell was of citrus, grapefruit and pineapple, with a hint of sweetness. The taste was straight hops at first, but as it warmed some balance came to it and had a bit of a ever so light sweet maltiness. Nicely carbonated and goes down smooth. This was a good IPA and my first brew from Catawba. I will definatly have to try some more! (481 characters)

Photo of BeerDocT
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a six of these at a gas station last time I was in Western North Carolina. Cannot find this brand at the big stores in Asheville (yet!) and was impressed.

Appearance 4.0: Poured out a deep, semi-translucent golden color with a close to perfect 1/2" head. Lots of particulate matter floating around in this beer, which -to me-- is always a good thing.

Smell 4.0: Wonderful bouquet on this brew. Hop-forward, like an IPA should be, with predominately Columbus and Cascade hops dominating the nose. Also, there is a deep barley scent that is pleasing and promising.

Taste 4.0: Front is smooth and has a low-level alkaline feel and the pleasant taste of grapefruity hops. Middle is a big punch of biscuit malt and a deeper and tantalizing taste of a rich caramel malt. Finish features almost a perfect blend of peppery, piney hops and a smooth, pleasing malt overtone with a slight sweetness. Aftertaste is of medium length and brings out a very nice taste of a citrus-rind hop flavor missing in the earlier flavor palates.

Mouthfeel 4.0: Smooth, well-balanced and a complementary level of carbonation.

Overall 4.0: Excellent IPA. So smooth, balanced and refreshing. There is a full mouth-feel in this beer that almost makes me think that maltodextrin was used, but if so, who cares. The grain balance and the hop blend is all first-rate. Recommended if you can find it and I hope you will be able to soon. (1,419 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a couple of pints while in Asheville, NC. One of my favorite beer cities.

The pints came with Creamy head and lots of visible carbonation. Color is amber/orange in color with a slight unfiltered haze. Insane amounts of lacing leave behind a trail of your enjoyment.

The IPA's in the area all share a similar aroma and flavor component. Some brown sugar. You can smell a touch of sweetness amidst the hoppy aroma. Pretty interesting.

Nice flavor. Very fruity with a light cracker tone. As described, not overly sweet but definitely some brown sugar notes. Finish is real nice.

Mouth feel is that of a freshly drawn IPA with just enough carbonation to sparkle the flavor.

I had never heard of the brewer and tried this as it was suggested by the bartender.

Many thanks Bartender! (791 characters)

Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Barley's Tap in Knoxville.

Poured a hazy copper color with an average frothy white head that lasted and produced good lacing. Good hoppy citrus aroma. Medium body with a slick texture. Moderate bitter hoppy citrus flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of average duration.

Good drinkable beer. (306 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.96/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - orangish copper with a big, thick, white head that has great retention

S - spicy, earthy, faint citrus

T - bread, citrus, grapefruit, spicy, mint, bitter finish

M - medium bodied, smooth, great carbonation

This is a smooth, highly drinkable beer. It has good flavor and balance. It's worth checking out. (311 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria (Asheville, NC) on 4/17/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper with a thin head of off-white foam. Retains with a thin creamy layer, that leaves a massive coating of sticky lacing back. The aroma is floral and spicy smelling, with a solid tangy backing of citrus and caramel malts.

The taste has a moderate hop bite to it, with bitterness, spices, and a splash of citrus lasting the whole way through. Solid balance to this as well, bringing a silky malt backbone of caramel and toasted malts to the table. The hops still nicely shine in this though, bringing the bitterness but not overdoing it. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an overall easy flowing carbonation but there is a bit of a crisp prickle to the proceedings that nicely compliments the bitterness.

A solid IPA for sure, this seemed a bit unbalanced towards the hops side at first but then opened up nicely with some good balance the more I worked on it. The 5.2% feels right here as well, giving up enough taste but staying low enough to give this some decent drinkibility to. (1,098 characters)

Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served a nice slightly hazy orange with a decent head that diminished and left spotty lacing. Aroma was some citrus hops and sweet malts. The taste was slightly more on the piny hop side. The beer was light and refreshing. This was an enjoyable IPA to say the least. (266 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.82/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Second visit (9/8/07) Much better balalnced beer that I remember. Hops stand out with a pine character. Very clean and refresthing.

From a name like Firewater, I'd expect much more. Aromas are hoppy, but not overly dominant. Lots of bready and caramelly malts come through in the nose. The hops are strong bittering, but not the floral, spicy, earthy kind that usually accompanies and IPA. The color is a lightly murky orange-straw color. The head retention is nice and lace-ey. Flavors are well balanced between the sweet malts and assertive hops. The problem is that I don't want balance in an IPA! I want hops out of balance! This one didn't scream HOOOOPs! I would have said that it makes for a good English IPA, but the American hop varietly wouldn't let me. The body is better than moderate. It softens a bit into the finish, making for an easy drinking beer. It's not bad, just not what I expected. (906 characters)

Photo of glid02
3.81/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this at Barley's in Asheville.

Pours a hazy copper color with a rocky one-finger off-white head. The head eventually dissipates into a patchy layer on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is good.

Smells of light sweet malt with even lighter citrus aromas.

Tastes good. Sweet malt up front with a hint of citrus flavors. The bitterness is front and center in this beer, it hits midway through and lingers through the aftertaste. Crisp finish.

Mouthfeel is good. Good carbonation and good thickness make this a smooth beer.

Drinkability is good. There's not a whole lot of hop character, but I'm a fan of the bitterness. I could definitely have a few of these without getting tired of any flavors.

Overall I liked this beer a lot. It's not an amazing IPA, but it's very crisp and easy to drink. Worth a shot. (826 characters)

Photo of Enola
3.8/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pint at Parkside

This beer has sweet notes to it. The color is a nice orange. The smell is citrusy. The taste is pretty bold for an IPA. Not overpowering bold, but a nice well rounded brew. The mouthfeel had a lingering bitterness that is a little different than other IPA's. I could drink these again. And will often once the brewery opens in downtown and growler sales begin. (380 characters)

Photo of blitz134
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Barley's in Asheville...

Reviewed from notes...

Somewhat hazy golden color, 1-finger white head leading to good lacing all the way down. Smell was citrus dominated by grapefruit with a sweet strawlike malt presence. Light overall.

No citrus in the taste, mainly pine and resin hop flavors leading to a decent bitterness. Picked up some grassy harshness which didn't do well for the taste.

Mouthfeel was a bit thin. Heavily carbonated. The lighter flavor helps this to be a drinkable beer. Its a nice, light refreshing beer for this hot, humid summer day. (577 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap and served in a pint glass in Black Mountain, NC.

Appearance: Lots of lace, not much head; Cloudy orange amber, visible yeast in this obviously unfiltered IPA

Aroma: rather mild and malty for style; tangy hops, baked bread

Flavor 4: somewhat mild hop start with a lasting and moderately bitter hop & grapefruit finish and aftertaste. Hops bring both citrus and piney components to the rather earthy flavor mix.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, slightly low but acceptable carbonation (this pushed the rating down from 4 t0 3.5).

Overall: a fairly typical Western NC IPA in that it is rather malty and somewhat earthy. This one has a more generous (too generous, some will think, no doubt) malt background. (712 characters)

Photo of Mojo
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce can -> snifter

A - Pours up a medium hazy gold with a snow white one finger head which recedes quickly leaving only a small ring of foam and a few lingering surface bubbles. Lacing is moderate.

S - very earthy. Citrusy, especially orange peel and lemon.

T - Very hop forward. Not particularly well balanced, but I'm not sure balance was what the brewer had in mind. Bitter grape fruitiness and a smoky rye flavored finish.

M - Adequate carbonation with a bit of a lingering aftertaste.

O - Pretty good stuff but definitely more bitter than I expected. (568 characters)

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 12oz can picked up at Brusin Ale's Asheville, NC

L - Bronze with little clarity, 1 finger of head and tons of lace left on the glass

S - Malty and hops. Smells like an English IPA, for sure

T - Malty, and the hops don't jump out as mixing well. Tasty, don't get me wrong..but there are so many IPA's out there right now that get it better.

F - Well carbonated and full bodied

O - An ENGLISH IPA. Which means less tasty....unfortunately. (449 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Parkside in Morganton NC. Dark amber appearance with one finger head. Kind of a strange spicy smell. Not like other IPAs, but good. Taste was hoppy with hint of malt at the end. A little mild. Mouthfeel and Drinkability is where this beer excelled. Mouthfeel had great carbonation that made me want to savor it before swallowing. Drinkability is very smooth to the last drop. Makes you want another...and another. I've heard a rumor that Catawba Valley Brewing is going to move into the Morganton city limits and open a tap room. Man I hope that's true. (570 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear medium golden orange in color with some light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some copper highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit pith hops with lighter notes of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of slightly sweet caramel malts with strong flavors of hops - citrus/grapefruit pith and citrus/orange rind along with a lighter amount of pine/resin. There is a moderate to strong amount of bitterness which lingers for quite a while.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of creamy carbonation. Moderately dry in the finish.

O: Pretty strongly bitter but an enjoyable brew that went pretty well with BBQ pork - not the easiest to drink because the bitterness is aggressive. (983 characters)

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Firewater India Pale Ale from Catawba Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.