What else can be said about the ubiquitous style that continues to dominate the Craft Beer landscape? Just when we thought IPA may be slowing down, we were hit with the haze craze. New England IPA, and the subsections of it (see: Milkshake IPA, Creamsicle IPA, Brut IPA, etc.) have become a driving force for the broader style category, and in our opinion, it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Originally considered a fad brought on by poor brewing practices, these styles have become so widely accepted and sought after that the Brewers Association added ‘Juicy or Hazy IPA’ to their Style Guidelines this year.
All of this growth for IPA means that it’s become increasingly noisy out there. While the overall quality of beer continues to increase, with so many breweries offering IPA, there are bound to be some duds out there. It can be daunting staring at hundreds of 16oz canned IPAs, so we enlisted the help of Craft Beer Cellar store owners to see what they’re digging these days. Celebrate IPA Day 2018 by enjoying one of these hoppy offerings!
CBC Swampscott, MA
It’s tough to pick one, as I’ve been really enjoying all of the IPAs being put out by Winter Hill Brewing Company in Somerville, MA. Darlin’s IPA is nicely balanced with a lot of new school hop character but also enough malt to keep it all in check. If you’re looking for something that’s all about the hops, Mosaica, is more hop forward with notes of papaya, melon, and a pleasant onion character. I’m looking forward to trying Hourglass, their take on a hazy, New England Double IPA!
CBC Plymouth, MA
Second Fiddle from Shelburne, VT’s Fiddlehead Brewing is a great East-Coast-meets-West-Coast Double IPA with a blend of luscious tropical fruit up front backed by a piney/dank balance. We say it’s our go to and also a great beer to get NE IPA drinkers thinking about West Coast profiles as it offers the best of both worlds.
CBC Lynchburg, VA
An IPA I’ve been enjoying a lot lately is Hoptopus from Reaver Beach Brewing in Virginia Beach, VA. Thankfully the brewery expanded their capacity so we can enjoy Hoptopus year-round! It’s is a malty West Coast style IPA, giving it a very layered profile. You start with a grapefruit and tropical aroma, followed by biscuity, bready maltiness, all balanced out by bold, but not overpowering hop bitterness. The finish is dry and piney, begging you to take another sip.
When it comes to IPAs, I truly enjoy the bare bones, no frills approach. While I’m not one to buck the trend of hazy, low IBU, juice bombs or the milkshake craziness, I just really appreciate an expertly-crafted beer that’s centered around hops. I really love a clean, crisp, and bitter beer. These are my “everyday drinkers.” Right now, I’m loving 2nd Shift’s Art of Neurosis. It’s a citrus-forward, West Coast style IPA brewed right here in the heart of the USA, Saint Louis, MO.
CBC HQ – Belmont, MA
Sour IPAs are a fairly recent development, made popular by the likes of New York’s Hudson Valley Brewery who garners huge crowds for beers like Entheogen – a Sour DIPA with raw wheat, malted oat, milk sugar, passionfruit, strawberries, and orange peel — hopped with El Dorado. Brooklyn’s Sixpoint released Stun Gun, a Sour IPA with Mango and Pineapple puree through their mobile app and we were lucky enough to get a can at HQ. Stun Gun presents pleasant aromas of peach nectar, lemon candy and fresh squeezed pineapple juice with a subtle yogurt-like lactic character. A super refreshing, perfect for Summer IPA!
CBC Amesbury, MA
A birthday is always cause for celebration and the folks at Barewolf Brewing really delivered a fantastic gift to the palates of IPA drinkers with their Birthday Punches IPA. If the bright label and wild artwork of the can isn’t enough to catch you, crack one open, and pour it into a clear glass to really admire its aroma and color. Like it’s plentiful brethren New England brews it’s got that hazy color, and smells lightly of orange and almost floral, like blossoms less than a citrus fruit. Upon first taste let it sink in as it takes you from a sharp initial hop quality into a pleasant aftertaste I can best align with the lingering of an orange sherbet. Enjoy this awesome beer on these late summer days, as it pairs best with a warm sunset and days with those we love most.
CBC Brandon, FL
The best IPA I’ve had recently is Green Bench’s Turbid 7. YES, it’s a totally trendy style that everyone has an opinion on, but this one is actually SUPER good. Anyone can make a NEIPA, but making a good one is not easy. The beer is super hazy, nearly opaque, and has a foamy, soft, pillowy body to it. The color of the beer is on the lighter side and the head is thick and white. The beer has a crisp start and a citrusy finish that is more dry than lingering. Overall it drinks lighter than the 6.5% the can says – which means you better watch out! They go down easy, but so might you later as you trip going upstairs to bed after a night of too many of these! One of my favorite beers to have at lunch.
CBC HQ – Belmont, MA
My love for the folks out in Paso Robles, CA at Firestone Walker is well-known and has been earned through their continued devotion to producing some of the best liquid on the planet. I had a chance to try the latest in their rotating IPA series, Luponic Distortion No. 10 while at the brewery for this year’s Firestone Invitational. Not surprisingly, they nailed the tasting notes on this thing. Beautiful aromas of peach ring, creamsicle, and orange pith. While it’s not a hazy NEIPA, it’s certainly a modern take on the style.