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 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 JohnQVegas
2.2/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Draught. Pours a fairly nondescript gold, small offwhite head. Towards the end of the night - lots of astringent, medicinal quality where the hops should be. Finish is lots of aspirin. I did not end up finishing this - part of it could be a lack of freshness, but I cant be sure.

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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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Photo of mattsdenney
2.66/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On-Tap @ SunSpot on the strip in Knoxville.

A: Golden orange in color, bubbly, thin head and lacing.

S: Citrus, sweet.

T: Hmmm, definitely bitter but not as much of a hop bite as I would expect in an IPA. Honestly reminds me of a SN Pale Ale knockoff.

M: Light, oily and a little slick.

D: Catawba must have amazing sales reps b/c I can't believe that any bar/restaurant would keep this on draught as their primary IPA, especially with the variety of options available within the style.

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Photo of nickfl
2.76/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a slightly hazy, golden body. The foam settles fairly quickly and leaves decent lace.

S - Some spicy to slightly sweaty hops and light malt.

T - A bit of pine and acidic malt up front. Some grain and burnt toast in the middle with a finish of pine and somewhat harsh bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, a dry finish and a touch of astringency.

D - Not very good. The hop character is almost all in the bitterness with a unfortunate lack of aroma and flavor. Couple that with anemic malt and harsh bitterness and you have a poor showing.

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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 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 AlexJ
2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light golden yellow pour with a quick white head that fades fast. Some light lacing left behind.

Aroma is grainey and flowery, not very IPAish. Only a trace of detectable hops in the nose.

Flavor is an unbalanced tug of war between biscuity and cereal malts and undiscernable hops. Bitter, but not structured or even remotely complex.

Average body for an IPA, grainy, almost chalky mouthfeel.

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Photo of oberon
2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Barleys Tap Room in Asheville,I admit I was intruiged by the name,the beer was not anything great though.Kind of deep copper color with orange hue not much head,the aroma was mainley minty from what I got.Not real flavorful mainley hoppy not to much balance here,did go down pretty easy though.Wont try again.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
2.95/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My first beer from Catawba Valley!

Pours out a bright yellow/orange with 3 fingers of off-white head.

The aroma is a mix of grassy/earthy hops and citrus notes along with a touch of caramel malt.

The taste is primarily the grassy hop notes along with orange and lemon peel, a slight white grape characteristic and a good amount of caramel and bready malt notes. Finishes very crisp and only slightly dry.

A light-medium body with a crisp mouthfeel. This is a pretty average IPA, but it's not bitter enough in my opinion and the hop notes are pretty subdued. Not a bad beer, but nothing great. Would love to try more from this brewery though.

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Photo of Cresant
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served this 12 oz. can in a Sam Adams glass. No date. The body was a nice golden amber with a light haze. The off white head was soapy looking and faded quickly. A thin cap remained and created light lacing in the glass.

The smell was lightly citrusy with a mild malty/syrupy character. It bloomed a little floral as it warmed further.

The taste was gentle. Gentle bitterness and gentle sweetness. However, a second wave of bitterness appears and lingers a long time. Not overly hoppy and maybe a little south of fresh. This one was fruity and clean. It grew on me and I liked it better as I drank it.

The mouthfeel was medium to light with plenty of carbonation.

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Photo of trecker
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at a little sports bar that starts with an S and has $2.50 drafts on Sunday in Asheville.

This was very average. Not bad. Not notable though.

1 inch white foam head. Light copper color. Faint hop aroma. Very faint fruit aroma. Kinda hoppy taste.

Decent basic IPA. Maybe my review is unfair because I've been throwing back west coast IPAs lately.

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Photo of farrago
3.01/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pure white foam, mostly miniscule foam that evaporates as if it was hollow, dissolves down to a thin broken surface coating, the lacing forms a solid sheet down the glass sides, almost coats any free space. Deep golden hued liquid, touch of zinc orange, it slightly hazy but up close it’s not like the liquid is full of particulate, more like it’s filled with tiny bubbles in suspended animation with only a few random larger bubbles showing any movement. Simple nose, even on the clean side, displays hard crusted baguette, grapefruit and more earth than grass, light minerality, not much fruit but minor floral notes, on the soft side, easygoing. Medium-bodied, its general creaminess adds weight. Carbonation comes across as low. Lacking in bite but the herbaceousness does accrue by the end. No sweet citrus, rather on the malty side. Again, has a metallic, minerally side. Bready finish with some honey. Agreeable if dull and without distinct personality, could stand to possess a cleaner, more succinct finish.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Half finger head with no real retention but nice lacing on a hazy golden with slight amber hue body. Herbal, musty and fruity hops intermingle to form an aroma which is not very inviting. Flavor is very metallic and herbal with pale malts in the background remaining tart and bitter late into the aftertaste although the bitterness isnt all that overwhelming, it just doesnt want to go away. Medium body and moderate carbonation. This one is basically bitter and has lamost no flavor to it being very bland.

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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 nick76
3.12/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is quite hoppy with citrus and grassy hops as well as malt. The appearance is golden with a nice head. The flavor is like the aroma but astringently bitter. The palate is average for the style. Overall not a great IPA but very drinkable. Still it's worth a try.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I might have said this was a decent Pale Ale but and don't get me wrong it was alright as a beer but it was not what I personally thought an IPA should be. It was very light in hop qualities in both the aroma and flavor. The smell was fruity and sweet. The taste matched that with some slight bitter tones and citrus. The mouthfeel was medium and the drinkability was also good. It just wasn't what I would call an IPA.

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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 DCon
3.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on-tap @ Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria in Asheville, NC for $4. Tapped from an unknown tap handle (since sitting @ a table) into a 16oz Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria Pint Glass.

Aroma- The only scent present (besides a light-medium hop aroma) was a light amount of mango. Very light but good for the style.

Appearance- Received with a 3.5 finger head that lasts for a great amount of time. Had a clear, dark orange colored body. Leaves thick lacing behind.

Flavor- The hop flavor is medium and decent with citrus. Nothing too much here. Harsh to drink and light bitterness level is here.

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, and a tough beer to sit there and enjoy... Harsh again!

Overall Impression- A nice hoppy brew but wasn't able to enjoy the whole way through. I wouldn't necessarily promote this beer either with all the fantastic IPA's from North Carolina. I'm exciting to enjoy better beer from Catawba too.

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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 Briarscratch
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this one on tap at Barley's in Knoxville...not Ashville as it seems most other reviews came from. Orange copper color. The smell was overwhelmed with hop. The taste had a strong and spicy bite to it followed by a fair amount of hoppy bitter goodness. Firewater is a great name describing the fiery zing this brew has. The mouthfeel was a medium body with a resiny oil feel plus the peppery burn. Fairly easy to drink, didn't go well with the pizza I was eating though. Overall I enjoyed.

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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 shivtim
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap while visiting Charlotte.
Nice name... although it sets up unrealistic expectations.
Served up in a pint glass.

It's light yellow brown, with little orange tints. Small head. Looks fine. Nose is basic simple hop profile... maybe cascade? Taste is more of the same. Very one-noted, with perhaps a few bits of citrus flavor. Not much in the way of malts.

The mouthfeel is fine. Overall I guess this is a pretty drinkable beer, a sessionable IPA.

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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 thagr81us
3.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured yellow-orange with a one finger bone white head that remained throughout. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, earthy, and bitter hops. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, earthy, slight citrus hop, and slight bitter hop. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. All of the aspects on this one seemed to be very weak in intensity to me. I really wanted to be kicked in the face on this one (I mean, it is an IPA afterall), but it just didn't do it. Don't think I would try this again as I don't like weakness.

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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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