The seemingly endless ocean that is craft beer has a lot of IPA in it. But that’s not a bad thing, as the hoppy style plays well with all kinds of yeasts, malts, and other ingredients. Enter the White IPA, a lovely marriage of two very tasty beers: The American IPA and the Belgian Wit.
No, it’s not exactly new, but it is enjoying a resurgence. Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery helped spearhead the trend about a decade ago with its crisp and refreshing Chainbreaker. The relatively low octane take on an IPA is perfect for an afternoon on the paddleboard or a post-bike ride quencher.
Deschutes worked with Boulevard Brewing to create the original recipe, which included add-ons like white sage and orange peel. An important aspect of the style is its use of wheat, per Belgian tradition. This tends to impart grassy, hay-like traits that can play wonderfully with the right bill of hops. And as new hop varieties keep coming online, we’ll see more and more compelling stabs at the White IPA.
With a little more heft than a Brut IPA and less hangover-inducing punch than a Hazy IPA, the White IPA is your summer-ready version. Drink it on its own, throw in a wedge of fresh citrus, or pair it with a creamy cheese or with beer can chicken on the grill. Because the aromatics can be so tantalizing — due in large part to its yeasty nature — we commend you pour it into a glass you can really get your nose into. You’ll have almost as much fun sniffing it as you will throwing it back.
So, set down the Blue Moon and try these fine, flavorful examples:
Deschutes Brewery Chainbreaker White IPA
Bend, Oregon’s go-to brewery (which also has an outpost in Portland) offers a nice take on the style, with coriander notes, extra clean pilsner malts, and a zap of citrus.
Anchorage Brewing Company Galaxy White IPA
This Alaskan brewery’s take on the White IPA shows a bit more depth thanks to some aging in French oak foudres and just the right amount of brettanomyces.
Blue Point Brewing Company White IPA
New York’s Blue Point (which you probably know thanks to their Toasted Lager) makes a White IPA that’s on the lighter side, while still managing a tasty profile of earth and grassy hop notes.
El Segundo Brewing White Dog IPA
This hop-loving southern California brewery produces an intriguing version showing subtle tropical fruit notes and some herbal qualities.
New Belgium Brewing Company Accumulation White IPA
The Colorado/North Carolina-based brewery’s version of a White IPA represents the fresh powder that falls on both breweries during the winter. Mosaic and Amarillo hops add a nice citrusy character while the wheat creates a nice smooth mouthfeel.
Boulevard Brewing Company Tasting Room Series White IPA
The Kansas City brewery already makes a great Belgian Farmhouse in Tank 7. This beer from their Tasting Room Series features an ideal balance between floral and spice characteristics.
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