Firewater India Pale Ale | Catawba Brewing Co.

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Firewater India Pale AleFirewater India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Catawba Brewing Co.
North Carolina, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by oberon on 03-15-2003

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Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 240
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the car, it pours a hazy amber with a moderate head that lasts a while. Very light scent, my pathetic nose worked hard to smell it. Pleasantly bitter in the mouth. Nice.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this years ago on tap at Barley's in Asheville and remember it being pretty good but I'm also usually a little loopy when in Asheville if you know what I mean. Straw gold color with nice head that doesn't last and medium lace. Nose is grainy with only the barest scent of citrus.

Not as assertive on the hop end as I remember. There is definitely some citrus up front and the English hops are also present. Decent malt balance but a little watery and thin for an American version. Solid session English IPA, American not so much.

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Photo of Gavage
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours an orange color with a 1" head that lasts a while.

Smell: very little aroma as only some soft citrus tones come through.

Taste: caramel, mango, pear, orange, and a mild floral bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp from start to finish.

Overall: an easy drinking IPA that is more citrus and fruit centric than hoppy. Not bad.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE: This beer looks great. The large, egg shell-white, fluffy head puffs up to about two fingers and then lingers. The orange beer below is crystal clear with a good stream of tiny bubbles rising from the etching on the bottom of the glass. That flow of bubbles is impressive, it keeps the head alive for the duration of consumption with a mound of bubbles in the middle.

SMELL: Not a ton going on in the nose. A mild, citrus aroma is detectable with orange and lemon peel, but it is faint.

TASTE: Bready malt provides a solid base and fairly blank slate for some mild hop flavors to dance around on top. Pleasant citrus notes along with hints of pear and pine and a touch of earthiness. For being as light as it is, this is a pretty bitter beer, and I mean that in a positive sense.

MOUTHFEEL: The body is very light and it remains dry throughout with just a touch of malt balance. The carbonation is strong with a nice sparkle.

OVERALL: Most of the reviews I have seen beneath mine are clearly not taking into account that this is an English-style IPA. The can says it’s an English style with an American twist, and I think that is quite accurate. It is not as in-your-face-hoppy as most American IPAs, but it is certainly more bitter than your typical English-style IPA. Honestly, if I have any criticism of this beer, it is that the “American twist” of more bittering hops may be the reason the aroma is difficult to detect. Otherwise, I think this beer hits the mark and it is a highly enjoyable, easy to drink, 6% IPA.

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Photo of pat61
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Pours brilliant orange gold under a 1” off-white to cream colored foam cap that recedes in about 2 minutes to ¼ its original height. Moderately lacy.

S: Malt, spice. Light caramel, light fruit. Malt and hop aromas are moderate and yeast aromas are moderately low.

T: Tropical fruit, very vague banana, and citrus. Medium malt to medium high with a trace of caramel bordering on butterscotch just short of diacetyl. Medium high, lingering bitterness. Tilts slightly to the hops.

F: Medium body and medium to medium low carbonation.

O: A tasty well balanced IPA but not exceptional and a little too buttery.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: slight haze; copper colored; 1 finger ivory head that receded to a thin collar; nice lacing;

S: a little restrained; pine, with earthiness and a hint of floral in the background;

T: oddly, almost flavorless; a little earthy; moderate bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied' moderate carbonation;

O: easy drinking, which isn't much of a complement for an IPA;

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Photo of smakawhat
3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured from the can into a Spiegelau IPA glass. No decipherable dating except some puzzle on the bottom.

Simple orange amber body, kind of light towards lemon and fairly clear with nice light carbonation. Head is fluffy and off white, with about three fingers tall and settling to a small clumped up top of about a finger with no lacing. Pretty solid.

Aroma is really closed. Really. Nothing. Practically zero, not even a whiff of malt caramel off this thing. Other than that it's clean and non faulty on the bouquet.

Palate unfortunately continue much of the noses flavors. Neutral palate in the middle. No malt presence, and not even any hops. Finish is light grainy, and a very mild bitterness that if stretching it, perhaps has a hint of pine. Palate in feel isn't a total loss but is a little weak in it's structure. Only flavors seem to come on the aftertaste and also come off thin and weak.

A real miss on the IPA realm, and one of the most uninteresting ones I've had in awhile. Not bad, just really boring with nothing going on.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Can shared by Curran tonight.

Pours a golden yellow, with a small quarter inch head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells like, well, not a whole lot. I get some pine, and that's really it. It's not distinctive in any way.

The taste is similar. I guess it tastes a little bit better, but this a pedestrian IPA through and through. Some pine, a bit of caramel, and just a overriding watery character. Not much to this one.

It's light bodied, almost feels like a pale ale, or something even lighter than that. There's a moderate amount of carbonation.

This is a miss.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

A: Golden cloudy with particles floating within, almost no carbonation, 4 fingers of off white head, a little random lacing.

S: Light floral, caramel, ruby red grapefruit, red beets, earthy, children’s aspirin, aged red pepper i.e. mild and dull pepper.

T: White grapefruit, light caramel, little floral quality, malts, rum, medium biting bitterness at the finish. Children’s aspirin.

M: Medium body, little carbonation.

O: Found this at Greenlife in Asheville. An ok IPA, really not the best I’ve had. Feels somehow lacking in complexity, feels more like an APA to me. Drank Sept 7th 2014 in China.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.52/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can into a shaker pint, the beer is a slightly hazy, amber0copper coloring, with a filmy, sparse, white surface coating of head. Nose of tangy and heavily roasted caramel, melon fruit, and subtle hops bitterness. Flavors are tangy and roasted caramel forward, with hints of char and wood, and a subtle peppery, dry hops character. Smooth, mid-bodied, with a tangy and roasted aftertaste. The finish is smooth, with a sweet linger, and the roasted notes provide an edge to all the sweetness. This one seems to miss the style a bit, though.

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Photo of GrapesofWrath
1.58/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.5

Canned 164/2014 (sometime May-June)

Appearance is sandy blond with a nice, off white head.

The smell is straight biscuit malt
No hops, nothing of a vegetable, fruit, grass, weed, or environmental nature. As a cream ale, this would be acceptable- as an IPA- no.

Taste: Absolutely no hops- Just light malt. Imagine PBR with ale yeast. This is a pathetic attempt at an IPA. I've never had a homebrew this lacking in character...

Mouthfeel: Light and spritzy with acceptable carbonation .

Overall: Worst IPA I've ever had. Out of 1000+ India Pale Ales, this is the most pathetic attempt I've tried and I will never waste money on this again. I asked for and (after the beer manager gagged) received a refund. Shameful.

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Photo of benloho
3.26/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Drank this beer during a week of tasting and comparing all new IPAs.
A: Pours a light copper color. Serious haziness, you can see all the particulates floating in the glass. One finger head that doesn't stick around. No lacing.
S: Not a strong hop aroma. Smells of pine and light fruit, like pears and apples. A little bit of caramel malt in the nose.
T: Not bad at all. Same as the nose, pine and pears in the taste balanced with the malt. Maybe more on the malt side.
MF: Good carb. Very drinkable and very pleasant. Leaves with a dry finish that is very refreshing.
O: This is a good beer. It's surprising actually. However, I don't think this fits very well in the IPA style, not even an English IPA. To me, this is a pale ale and a really good pale ale. Not exactly sure how to rate it; on how it tastes or how it fits in with the style.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
2.83/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: orange tending towards yellow color. A finger of a white head that fades and leaves the slightest lacing. Strong clarity.

Smell: lots of medium crystal malts. Mostly crystal sweetness with a slight caramel. Very light on the citrus and resin hop aroma.

Taste: opens with a strong crystal sweetness. Some grassiness, slight citrus and herbal hop. Some spiciness from hops as well

Mouthfeel: sticky, not too refreshing.

Overall: an overly sweet and dull hoppiness makes for a bad ipa. No refreshing qualities and rather bland in a world of lots of ipas.

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Photo of RyanPoff
3.29/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap at BWW.

A: Hazy, shiny new penny copper color. About three fingers of head with heavy lacing.

S: Some citrus fruits and floral hops. Not extremely interesting but not poor.

T: I did get some of the soapy hop character noted by the poster below. Some orange and grapefruit notes and a bitter hop astringency on the way down. Decent, but not great.

M: A bit fuller and heavier than I would expect. It looks lighter and the fullness doesn't really serve it well.

This should be a lot better at the price. There are better IPAs in the local market for $8.99 and this sells for $11.49 for a six.

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Photo of humuloner22
2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I used to love this brewery but I just don't know anymore. This beer was great on draft the best I can recall, now they are canning it. I found it along with the other two usual suspects in their lineup. Maybe this was a bad batch, but I found it to be underwhelming. The smell was hop forward, the color was a bit of a tangerine and gold color, which is typical and not that bad really, but the taste was not the best in the world and the mouthfeel was what really got to me, it was watery and had very little in regard to balance. The hops were there but it tasted like hoppy soapy light beer. I don't know if that is a good assessment, but I was sadly disappointed because I was excited to see this beer canned for convenience. It was much better in my memory on draft or at least the growler I had picked up, because this brewery can make some really nice beers, especially the saison.

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Photo of Omnium
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Can > Pint Glass

A - Pours a hazy orange color, 2 fingers of off white head, medium lacing. Its says on the can "beautiful straw color" (-_- ) right
S - Smells wayyy too soapy, some floral hops, bread and biscuit malt, some pine, astringency, some tart grape.
T - Taste is dominantly malt, caramel, biscuit, lots of soapy hop residue, some mild floral traits.
M - Dry, soapy and weird.
O - Will avoid in the future, too much odd unbalanced character.

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Photo of BeerDocT
4/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color and has some hues of amber along with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of grassy and herbal hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has a mélange of flavors—including herbal hops as well as notes of caramel malts plus hints of citrusy, grassy and spicy hops. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a very good balance between the malts and hops and tastes a little like a hybrid between an American and English IPA.

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Photo of Mojo
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to brentk56 for sending this one along

Pretty little pour: hazy light amber with a massive pillowy head

I'm not getting too much on the nose. Maybe some musty hay, Some lightly spicy hops maybe?

The haybale continues on into the taste, with a musty grainy backbone. Soon enough the hops pop in and take a sharply bitter turn. Not much else. The bitterness isn't particularly flavourful, just kind of... bitter.

Sharp bitterness with not much... shape, or much balancing it, somewhat thin. Decent, certainly drinkable, but nothing to write home about. Of the package I recently received, this was the one for which I had the lowest expectations. If it turns out to be the least enjoyable, then I'll be happy (let's be honest, even if it's not, I'm still gonna be pretty happy). It's not a BAD beer, by any means, and I don't mean to present it as such, it's just not one that really brings anything special.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +18.7%
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.

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Photo of carolinahophead
3.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

It's a first time try here :
Another NC craft beer offering.
It pours a straw color with a huge snow white head.
Aromas of imported and domestic hops ... Not over the top . Sweetness and
earth notes.
Medium mouthfeel and smooth bitterness. Easy to drink when it warms up.
The beer is a good example of a blended IPA. England and the American South..
Enjoy it and share it with friends..

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Photo of zeledonia
2.48/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Tasted 20 March 2013.

Pours a pale golden straw yellow. Huge white head, thick and foamy. Good retention, nice lacing. Very solid.

Smell is grainy, herbal, and reminiscent of some kind of tincture. Smells like oils extracted from plants, with a dash of hop acid in the back.

Taste is thin and grainy, like pale boiled grains. An acidic chalky medicinal bitterness fades in, making it even worse. No sweetness, no positive flavors, no balance. It's not exactly terrible, but I'd rather not drink it. It's like everything in here is over-extracted, releasing all the acids and tannins and burning off the aromatics and sugars.

Feel is fine. Medium-bodied, appropriate level of carbonation. More lasting than I want it to be.

Not my favorite. Hate to say it, but this is the kind of beer that turned me off to IPAs. There's not much to it other than thin grainy flavors and aspirin-like bitterness with nothing to balance it out. I finished it, but I wouldn't drink another.

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Firewater India Pale Ale from Catawba Brewing Co.
3.47 out of 5 based on 240 ratings.
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