Without IPAs, the modern craft beer industry would look a whole lot different.
The India Pale Ale style has evolved numerous times since the dawn of the craft era, and most expressions no longer come close to resembling the original, meant-for-long-sea-journeys-because-water-would-kill-you English-style IPA. And since IPAs are essentially the opposite of macro lagers, in part driving the growth of the industry, it’s understandable that IPA is nearly synonymous with craft beer for non-craft beer drinkers.
With more than 6,000 breweries in the U.S. and almost every one taking at a crack at the IPA, there’s no way any one drinker can try them all — but there are a few worth tracking down and trying. Here are some of the best IPAs to drink right now. (And we mean right now; remember to drink IPAs fresh as possible.)
Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing boasts dozens of superb IPAs, so it’s hard to pick just one. Among the year-round offerings, try to find Other Half IPA, a West Coast-style IPA with five types of hops; Dream in Green, an Oat IPA; Forever Ever, a session IPA; and the entire line of single-hop IPAs, including Galaxy IPA, El Dorado, and Topaz. Other Half beers aren’t the easiest to get a hold of, so the taproom releases bring together people from all walks of life, from hipsters to Wall Streeters.
While not the creator of the Northeast-style IPA, Tree House Brewing has certainly staked its claim as one of the hottest names in the category. Julius, in its orange can, is the flagship and, for many, a reason Northeast-IPAs are so often connected to orange juice (although, it helps that these cloudy beers actually resemble orange juice). The beer, loaded with tropical fruit flavors, is soft, well-rounded, not stingily bitter like so many West Coast-style IPAs that turn drinkers off of IPAs.
Russian River Brewing is behind this classic white whale of an IPA, one that many craft beer fans seek in their journey to try the best beers of the world. There’s a reason for that quest: this Double IPA is a great beer. Named after a real Roman philosopher, this Double IPA is a delcious bitter and balance sipper. It deserves a spot on the Mount Rushmore of craft beer.
Jeremy Warren made his name creating IPAs at Knee Deep Brewing Company in California then left to start his own project, Revision Brewing, in Reno, Nevada. While the future promises to have an array of sours and wood-aged beers, Revision’s entry into the market has been dominated by a massive amount of IPAs, including a line of hazy IPAs with goofy names like Glitter Moon with Tiny Unicorns and Sparkle Muffin.
The Bruery in California is one of the country’s best-known maker s of tremendous sour beers, but they’ve since spun out a new business to make fresh, hop-forward beers: Offshoot Beer Co. The year-round Relax [It’s Just a Hazy IPA] is, as should be expect from veteran’s of the beer-making industry. It’s loaded with Citra, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops for a seriously juicy citrus sipper.