Firewater India Pale Ale | Catawba Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
77 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Firewater India Pale AleFirewater India Pale Ale

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

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 239
Photo of tone77
3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a cloudy dark golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of hops and pine. Taste is the same, hops, pine, a bit of mint, bitterness and somewhat unbalanced. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall this is a decent beer.

 253 characters

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.

 1,020 characters

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.

 647 characters

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.

 507 characters

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.

 605 characters

Photo of pops28078
4.82/5  rDev +38.9%
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 Billolick
4/5  rDev +15.3%
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 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.

 666 characters

Photo of BHP1
4.53/5  rDev +30.5%
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 tdm168
3.96/5  rDev +14.1%
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 rangerred
4.02/5  rDev +15.9%
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 indiapaleale
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour - a clean, medium amber color with a BIG fluffy head that sticks tightly to the inner walls of the glass. Nice carbonation levels and a great looking pour.

Aroma - spicy, caramel, honey, sweet citrus and what to me smells like coriander or something similar to that of a witbier.

Taste - slight flavors of orange peel, spicy, earthy hops and a dry finish that is quite refreshing. After a few more sips I am really digging this beer. Its not an in your face hop assault but more like the IPAs that were around in the mid-90s which more balanced. It has a certain spiciness that I can't seem to figure out as it almost makes this taste like a Belgian IPA. Perhaps its the yeast strain?

Overall - a great IPA that was actually ramped up in ABV for the canned version as the draught is closer to 5%. Regardless this is a very balanced beer with a nice hop flavor and solid malt backbone. A little more of a unique take on the style and one that won't wreck your palate and will permit you to enjoy a few without worry.

 1,027 characters

Photo of heelsn02
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Scored a can of this while spending some time in Asheville, NC last weekend for Winter Warmer Beer Fest.

Cool looking can... firewater logo is can't-miss bright orange and the can tab is green. clear branded sticker glued to the can. pretty slick

Poured into my Wrecking Bar (ATL) pint glass. pretty light, golden straw/faded amber color. 1 finger white head; decent of sticky lacing down the glass

smells more like a Pale Ale... not all that hoppy for using "6 massive hops". just slightly bitter as well

tastes more like a IPA/pale ale hybrid. definitely east coast. very similar to CBC's pale ale. a bit too malty for my liking (this beer does have 5 varieties of malt apparently). very earthy.. and like the nose, tastes just slightly bitter.

decent amount of carbonation; finishes pretty dry

Overall, just an okay IPA. not great, but not bad either.

side note... I met a few of these guys from CVBC at Winter Warmer last weekend - very cool down-to-earth folks. And their Abul Abaz (Saison aged in red wine barrels) was ridiculously awesome. best beer I tried during the entire beer fest by far. will hopefully have a chance to sip on that one again in the future. keep up the good work fellas.

 1,207 characters

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.

 943 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
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 Reagan1984
4/5  rDev +15.3%
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 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.

 658 characters

Photo of babaracas
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap in Asheville. A hazy orange with thin white head and spotty lace left behind. Smell: light caramel, spicy, earthy, a whiff of orange. Taste: pretty toasty, caramel, spicy, earthy, citrus peel - orange and grapefruit. Creamy carbonation with dry citrus finish. Nice bitterness but not one sided. Pretty good and more citrus focused than the usual NC IPA.

 360 characters

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.

 355 characters

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.

 491 characters

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.

 419 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at the Mellow Mushroom - Asheville

A - Poured a clear, orange gold color with a one-finger, white head of foam. It sticky patches of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of citrus, pineapple and caramel.

T - A citrus hop presence with grapefruit flavors. It had a sweet caramel taste wild a mild spice and bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This was recommended by the bartender after I told him I liked hops. It was not a bitter/hoppy brew like I had expected.

 527 characters

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

On tap at Barley's last night.

The beer pours an orange amber color with good head retention and lacing. Unfortunately, this was to be as good as it gets for this beer. The nose was just flat out weird, and smelled as if it had been lightly infected with brett. There was some sour funk, which blended in an unusual way with the dank earth and very light citrus. Interestingly, I didn't get any sour component on the palate, with the beer simply coming across as a fairly dry, lightweight IPA with modest bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel was light to the point I thought the beer a bit watery. Drinkability would normally be pretty good (it was obvious that the abv. was pretty low in this one), but there was so little flavor, with so little hoppy bitterness, I can't imagine ever having more then one of these.

Mehhhh... I've had worse, but this was not very impressive.

 877 characters

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.

 461 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Slightly hazed copper with a thin off-white head that reduced to a thin veil and left spotty lace.

S-Light sweet caramel malt and a zing of spicy citrus hops.

T-Sweet malt up front with quick hitting zing of spicy citrus hops. Somewhat one dimensional and not very deep. Drying finish.

M-Medium bodied sharp and crisp with good lingering hop bitterness.

D-Not my ideal IPA but it is very crisp and easy to drink. he hop profile is not very deep or interesting and leaves me feeling flat. Put together well but....I want something more interesting.

 554 characters

Firewater India Pale Ale from Catawba Brewing Co.
3.47 out of 5 based on 239 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!