The India Pale Ale, or IPA as we know it today, is quite possibly the most popular and versatile craft beer style in America. Developed to exploit the preservative qualities of hops and alcohol (and used to supply British troops in the late 1700s), the IPA has taken on a whole new life in the early 21st century under the creative supervision of adventurous brewers.
While the overall trend has skewed toward embracing the more extreme elements of over-hopping (for example, Stone Brewing’s Ruination), the IPA has also been translated into session styles like Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA and The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, a cloudy, citrusy New England IPA. Then, of course, there are Double IPAs and Triple IPAs, both with increasing amounts of hops, as well as Black IPAs, which feature more malts.
One of the newer entries into the IPA family of beers is the Milkshake IPA, which is brewed with lactose for a full body. Fruit or vanilla tend to be the key flavoring ingredient. The first-ever version is attributed to Swedish brewery Omnipollo, but it has since been adapted by dozens of U.S. breweries.
While the category isn’t yet recognized by Beer Judge Certification Program, you can get in on the ground floor by tasting some of the best Milkshake IPAs on the American market right now:
Bhramari Brewing Co.
Creamy and utterly delicious, the Mango and Lychee version of this Asheville brewery’s All The Boys Milkshake IPA Series tastes like pineapple upside-down cake. Seriously. It’s a big, sweet dessert beer that has just the right cut of hoppy bitterness.
True to its name, Citronius brings citrus to the fore with tangerine and mandarin orange flavors, as well as a sherbet-like bite. The full mouthfeel, brought to you by Florida’s Calusa, provides an unexpected twist on the overall Citra-hopped IPA trend
Tired Hands Brewing Company and Omnipollo
Pennsylvania-based Tired Hands teamed up with the creators of the original Milkshake IPA to bring one of the first tastes of this beer style to the States. These 16-ounce cans from the U.S. brewery’s Milkshake series are hard to track down, but devotees swear the entire lineup features some of the best variations on the theme. In particular, Extra Vanilla is brewed with loads of oats and lactose sugar, then hopped with Mosaic and Citra. Finally, it’s conditioned on Madagascar vanilla beans.
Article originally published January 20, 2018. Last updated June 5, 2018.