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Yes, You Need this IPA Milkshake for National IPA Day

Yes, You Need this IPA Milkshake for National IPA Day

Here's one new way to drink IPAs today

There's now a way to get your fix for comfort food and beer at the same time, thanks to this new IPA Blondie Milkshake.

We're obviously fans of milkshakes, and boozy milkshakes, and IPAs. (Excuse us while we wipe the drool from our keyboard.) But there's now a way to get your fix for comfort food and beer at the same time, thanks to this new IPA Blondie Milkshake.

Made at 5 Napkin Burger in New York City (at the Hell's Kitchen location), the 5 Napkin Burger is offering an IPA Blondie Milkshake featuring Vanilla Ice Cream with Firestone Union Jack IPA, homemade butterscotch, and a hop-infused blondie brownie. Um, can you say yum? That's one new way to celebrate National IPA Day. Click here to find the recipe for 5 Napkin Burger's IPA Blondie Milkshake.

Looking for more ways to add a brew to your milkshake? You'll have to wait until Oktoberfest, but Red Robin did it first with Samuel Adams Oktoberfest Brew. Or, you can make one with a Samuel Adams Lager. Yeah, we love our boozy milkshakes.


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We Asked 10 Brewers: What’s the Most Ridiculous Smoothie IPA You’ve Had?

Parallels are often drawn between craft beer and music. The saying goes that brewery sellouts are much like your favorite indie band signing to a mainstream record label. Of course, there are exceptions, and what stands out for some is heavy metal and IPA. From stoner metal to technical black metal, and from session IPA to black IPA, the parallel genres contain seemingly innumerable subgenres and innovations.

One of the more, uh, divisive subcategories of IPA is the much-critiqued smoothie IPA, a style that many beer drinkers (this author included) struggle to recognize as an IPA. With incredibly high grams per liter of fruit, and outrageous levels of lactose, it’s a substyle that resembles little of its parent style. Indeed, many of the brewers contacted for this piece simply said they’d so far successfully avoided drinking a smoothie iPA. Regardless, few can deny its popularity — and many agree it is delicious, if a little ridiculous.

So, what are the most ridiculous smoothie IPAs professional brewers are drinking? We asked brewers around the world to chime in on which sweet, dessert-like smoothie IPAs take the cake.

Every Beer Lover Needs This Hop Aroma Poster

“North Brew Co. Golden Milk Turmeric and Apricot sour with coconut. I’ve taken turmeric every day for a long time for its numerous health benefits and was intrigued to see how such a strong flavor could work in a beer. The beer poured a vibrant orange with a pillowy-white head. On first sip, the immediate flavor was apricot and sweet clementine. The turmeric is there in spades but somehow not overpowering, and works well with the sorbet-sourness. The coconut was present somewhere in the background, although, probably not a bad thing as it would stick out like a sore thumb if too prominent. I wasn’t sure how the mix of ingredients would blend together, but they did, and it made for a super-refreshing fruity sour that contributed to my overall health and supple joints!” — Maddie Culling, Shift Lead Brewer, Northern Monk Brew Co., Leeds, U.K.

“We’ve brewed our fair share of milkshake IPAs (well, four to be exact, so maybe fair share is a stretch), but we’ve always strived to make sure that the liquid has a semblance to beer over a milkshake. The most ridiculous one I’ve ever sampled was from a brewery who poured next to us at a festival — a mixed berry/vanilla milkshake IPA that had literal chunks when poured into my glass. I had to use the bathroom sink to rinse out the glass thoroughly afterwards because them fruit particles like to cling!” — Libby Crider, Owner & General Manager, 2nd Shift Brewing, St Louis

“I have never knowingly drank a smoothie IPA, apart from one which was some kind of banana Daiquiri number from a Swedish brewery that will remain nameless. I love me a Piña Colada but this was more aroma of baby shite and a texture like liquified blancmange. Almost as bad as the Negroni Saison from one of my favorite London breweries [served] at Moeder Lambic, of all places, in 2014… Ho hum. Pass the Pils, please.” — Olly Plimsoll Bartlett, Sales Manager, Stockholm Brewing Co., Stockholm, Sweden

“At a previous job, we brewed a beer with a famous Swedish brewery known for their bold graphic design, and ever-bold flavor combinations. The beer was to be the main beer for the second Beavertown Extravaganza, and as such had to live up to the hype of the previous beer for the festival, Heavy Lord, a 15 percent bourbon-barrel- aged imperial stout brewed with 3 Floyds from Munster, Indiana. The brewery we decided to pair up with for the second year was none other than Omnipollo and the beer was Mango Milk Power Breakfast IIPA. I still remember the look of disgust and fear on our faces when we heard we were going to be using whey protein isolate (which Omnipollo specified should be the highest grade possible) in a beer. I was even more shocked when Cosmo, our lead brewer at the time, was allowed to spend almost a grand on a pointless adjunct that would probably have coagulated in the kettle anyway and provided very little flavor or texture, or muscle-bulking benefits. The beer itself was actually really difficult to build, and I say ‘build’ because it was less about brewing and more about the technicalities of putting these flavors of hops, mango, coconut, lactose, vanilla and… protein isolate together in a harmonious and tasty way. The event came around, and of course Omnipollo had set up the beer to be poured from their soft serve dispense at their stall… I saw one poured into a coconut shell, and so I tasted it and thought, ‘yeah, that’s pretty good for what it is.’ I was proud that we had made a balanced, well-made Mango, Coconut, Vanilla, Lactose, Protein Shake Smoothie Imperial IPA… Now, where is my Pilsner?” — Jonathan Hamilton, Brewer, Newbarns Brewery, Edinburgh, Scotland

“Trick question: all smoothie IPAs are equally ridiculous.” — Ehren Schmidt, Master Blender, Mikkeller Baghaven, Copenhagen, Denmark

“The most ridiculous smoothie/milkshake IPA I’ve ever had was probably a sour black double IPA hopped with Citra and El Dorado and had wheat, malted oats, lactose, mandarin orange purée, tangerine purée, dark chocolate, vanilla beans, pink sea salt, and orange peel. When I drank it, it was a bit of a sensory overload: so many different flavors going across my palate as I drank it was interesting but I don’t think I would go so far as to call it enjoyable. I don’t purchase them, but a friend of mine loves the style, and she keeps giving me different examples to try. Personally, I don’t really like the style for one thing I don’t really like overly sweet beer (or sweet wine, or any other sweet beverage generally) and this style of IPA is aggressively sweet. The other reason why I don’t like smoothie/milkshake IPA is that I feel that the style is just a gimmick designed to garner attention in a crowded marketplace. It all screams, ‘Look at me! I’m an IPA that tastes like s’mores!’ or, ‘Look at me! I’m an IPA that tastes like strawberry pancakes!’ or, “Look at me! I’m an IPA with as much lactose as a glass of milk!’ And yes, all three of these examples are real. At the end of the day, I think that the people that like this style enjoy it because they have an affinity towards sweet, sugary things.” — Mark Ryan, Head Brewer, Jersey Girl Brewing Company, Hackettstown, N.J.

“I’m going to have to say Definitive Vanilla Dome with Mango. It’s not ridiculous in its absurdity, but in the way the flavors work together. The vanilla accentuated the sweetness while the acidity of the mango kept it from being cloying. It is a well-put-together beer.” — Peter Heggeman, Brewmaster, Bath Brewing Company, Bath, Maine

“Tired Hands, a name on most ‘hype bois’ lists of breweries to try, make absolutely stonking beer and along with Omnipollo helped spearhead and fetishize the milkshake/smoothie IPA. Their double vanilla double IPA is probably one of the most intense (read: ridiculous) IPAs I’ve had and yeah, it was decadent, but it was also a huge miss for me. Their house [yeast] strain and hefty use of oats brings heaps of vanilla for me in their beers anyway, but the sheer eye-watering amount of vanilla in that IPA was too much when paired with Citra, Mosaic, lactose (f*ck lactose!) and rumored apple in the mash for pectin haze. The hop profile was great (when is Citra and Mosaic not) but when the screaming sweetness from the lactose and vanilla washes in it’s overpowering, and detracted from the balance of the beer. The beer is perfect for a bottle share where a whole can is too much but a quarter of a can is more than enough. This sort of innovation ‘for innovation’s sake’ means that you’ll always have to one-up yourself and your competition when the haze bros come calling.” — Jack Delaney, Assistant Head Brewer, Alefarm Brewing, Greve, Denmark

“The most ridiculous ‘smoothie IPA’ I have ever drank would probably be something from Decadent Ales out of Mamaroneck, N.Y. Their IPAs are not packaged with as much fruit purée as the popular sour smoothie beers, but they are still loaded with tons of sweet and tangy fruit flavor. The Orange Cream Pop IPA packs so much flavor and a thick mouthfeel into one can, it’s a great summer replacement for an actual Creamsicle. Tons of creamy sweetness up front from additions of sugars and vanilla beans, followed up with a surprising kick of orange that lingers on the tongue. Plus, it clocks in at a steady 6 percent ABV, so don’t be afraid to enjoy more than one. I’ve had quite a few ‘smoothie’ and ‘milkshake’ IPAs, but this one takes the cake for most well balanced while still being able to detect the hops. As for even more ridiculous, their Double Toasted Marshmallow IPA is basically a can of sugary-sweet alcohol. While it is fairly tasty, at 9.5 percent ABV, it’s a touch too sweet and boozy to enjoy much more than a few sips.” — Bri Burrows, Head Brewer, Big Rip Brewing Company, Kansas City, Mo.

“To quote a line from a beer bottle, ‘I didn’t choose hops, hops chose me.’ I love a good, crisp, dank West Coast IPA, one of my most favorite styles to brew. I’ve never been a fan of the hazy, fruity IPAs that have taken hold here in the states. Stone Brewing is one of my favorite breweries, so when a beer rep buddy of mine dropped off a 6-pack of Stone Neverending Haze at the brewery, I was surprised. But, being that Stone does some amazing beers, I gave it a try. This beer is oh-so hazy with flavors of citrus, pineapple, and strawberry. It comes in at 4 percent ABV and 35 IBUs. I have to say, I was impressed. In no way have I converted to a hazy, juicy IPA drinker but it is one of the best ones I’ve had.” — Joe Crockett, Brewmaster, Rockin’ JY Nano Craft Brewery, Ewa Beach, Hawaii


Orange Creamsicle IPA - my first attempt at a "Milkshake" IPA

With the number of commercial breweries at an all-time high, it's not surprising that new beer styles are popping up on a fairly regular basis. I use the word "styles" very loosely, of course some people don't really like seeing that word used when these beers aren't actually official styles, at least according to the BJCP or other organizations. Me? I don't really care if you want to call your beer a "Purple Yak Juice IPA" style, go for it. As long as I don't have to drink it.

One style I've been hearing about for months now is the Milkshake IPA. I believe Tired Hands was either the first, or at least one of the first, to start brewing such a beer (as to how that got started, I suggest you Google it. it's a pretty funny story!). But even Atlantic Canada is starting to hop on the Milkshake train, with at least two breweries releasing their own: Tide & Boar in Moncton, New Brunswick, has released several iterations with different fruit (such as Peach Ale Shake), and Nova Scotia's Big Spruce Brewing currently has their take on the style out, Liquid James Brown.

  • Lactose powder is added to the beer to give some residual sweetness, and bump up the mouthfeel even more.
  • Vanilla bean is usually added to bring the aromas/flavours associated with vanilla milkshakes.
  • Fruit is often added (but not always), bringing even more to the aroma and flavour.

The more I read about Milkshake IPAs, the more I wanted to brew one, and not because I thought it was a slam-dunk style. If anything, this type of beer strikes me as one that could be either really tasty, or a complete mess. There's a lot of different ingredients working together! If you add too much lactose, your beer could be TOO full-bodied, and maybe a bit too sweet (although lactose is only 1/6 as sweet as table sugar, I believe). Too much vanilla? That's an ingredient that could overwhelm the hops pretty easily. But I was intrigued enough to give it a try on my own, even though I didn't really have anything to go on. Giving it some more thought, I moved towards making this beer orange-heavy combined with the vanilla, this would give it an orange creamsicle-ness in the aroma and taste - I hoped, anyway.

I started with the grist, putting together a recipe that looked like it would work well for a Northeast-style IPA: 2-row and Maris Otter make up the base, with a good amount of Flaked Oats (

15%) to provide the creamy mouthfeel and haze I also added a little bit of Carapils and Acid malt. The lactose powder is of course meant to be added in the boil I didn't really know how much to go with, here. With the Flaked Oats already boosting the body, I was worried that too much lactose would overdo it, not to mention the potential to add too much sweetness. The only time I've brewed with lactose in the past was for a couple of Sweet Stout recipes, where I added a pound for each 5 gallon batch. I decided to halve it for this beer, figuring it'd be better to go too light than too high.

Now, for a truly orange creamsicle-type aroma, I would add Galaxy and Citra to this beer. Orange characteristics are present in plenty of different hop varieties, but I find it particularly strong in these two. However, I didn't have a lot of Galaxy or Citra on hand. What I DID have a lot of were two other varieties I really enjoy, Equinox and Azacca. I've seen "tangerine" and "citrus" used when describing Azacca, and Equinox definitely has some other citrus characters that I thought would work well, so this was the combo I chose. I went with my fairly-standard approach of an ounce each at 10 min, a good amount for a hop steep/whirlpool addition, and then two separate dry-hop additions (with the second dry hop made up of Equinox, and the remaining Galaxy in my inventory). With a touch of Polaris at the beginning of the boil, the IBUs come in at a calculated mid-50s range, which seemed perfect to me. With the majority of the 10 oz of Azacca and Equinox being added after flame-out, I was going for lots of fruity, citrusy hop aroma and flavour.

After fermentation with LAIII was complete, I dry-hopped the beer in primary for 5 days, then racked to my DH keg (which has two filters surrounding the dip tube) along with more hops. This was where I also added the orange zest I went on the seemingly-heavy side, adding 9 g zest (that's about 0.5 g/L) in a sanitized, mesh bag, weighted down with some marbles, and held suspended in the keg by some dental floss. After 4-5 days in this keg (I roused the hops frequently by picking up the keg and basically turning it back and forth a few times every day), the beer was pushed via C02 to the serving keg.

This is when I added the vanilla bean, another ingredient that I was worried about adding too much. Instead of adding a full bean as I've done in the past with other beers, I went with a half. I suspected this may be at the low end, but again, I didn't want the vanilla too strong, where it could start hiding the hops. I had scraped and chopped the vanilla bean about a week previous, and soaked it in a bit of vodka for that period (this method had worked well in my recent Belgian Dubbel). That liquid was then strained into the serving keg before transferring the beer onto it.

After chilling and carbing the beer, I had my first taste. and was quite happy, especially considering it was a first attempt with several things I thought could have went wrong. Because I've been behind on blogging, this beer has now kicked, but many people got to try it, and feedback was good. The beer was definitely cloudy, with a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The aroma and taste had a lot of hop character - plenty of citrus, fruit, and yes, some orange - with some slight sweetness coming through. but thankfully, not too much. Bitterness was medium-low, right about where I wanted it.

In terms of what I'd like to see changed, the vanilla character was definitely too low. Yes, there was some there, but I think for this style there needed to be more. A friend had brewed a Milkshake IPA as well, which I got to try after I had brewed mine. He had added two vanilla beans to his, and while the beer was tasty, the vanilla character was too strong, and definitely overwhelmed the hops (this was easy to confirm because he had split the batch, with half getting no vanilla at all). I'd say you could safely add one vanilla bean, and have a better chance of hitting that sweet spot. Finally, the beer could be a bit drier not sure why, but my final gravity was several points high at 1.022. Keep in mind that high number is because of the lactose, which isn't fermented by the yeast, but it still would have been a better beer if it had finished at 1.018, as the recipe called for.

Ultimately, this was a good beer, and I think a pretty decent recipe. Azacca and Equinox sure aren't the easiest hops to find, but I'm sure there's a multitude of substitutions you could make and still have a great beer. maybe even better! Hopefully some of you try this recipe, and have equally good results.

Recipe Targets: (5.5 gallons, 75% efficiency) OG 1.068, FG

Grains & Sugars:
2.9 kg (47.2%) Canadian 2-row
1.75 kg (28.5%) Maris Otter
900 g (14.7%) Flaked Oats
180 g (2.9%) Carapils
180 g (2.9%) Acid malt
227 g (3.7%) Lactose powder (added during the boil)

Hops:
Polaris - 8 g (17% AA) @ 60 min
Azacca - 28 g (7.8% AA) @ 10 min
Equinox - 28 g (13.4% AA) @ 10 min

Azacca & Equinox - 42 g each @ 0 min (with a 15 min hop steep)

Azacca & Equinox - 28 g each dry-hop for 5 days (in primary)

Equinox & Galaxy - 42 g each dry-hop for 4 more days (in DH keg)

Misc:
9 g orange zest (in DH keg)
1/2 vanilla bean (scraped and chopped, soaked in vodka for a week, strained and added in serving keg)

Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London Ale III (

Water: Fredericton city water, carbon-filtered 3 g Gypsum and 7 g calcium chloride added to mash

- Brewed on November 16th, by myself. 50-minute mash with 16 L of strike water mash temp on target at 150 F. Mashed-out for 10 minutes with 8.5 L of boiling water to 168 F. Sparged with

3 gallons of 168 F water for final volume of

- Pre-boil gravity at 1.053. 60-minute boil added the lactose in the final 20 min. Final volume

5.5 gallons OG a bit low at 1.066. Chilled to 64 F, then poured into Better Bottle. Aerated with 90 seconds of pure O2, pitched yeast at 64 F.

Appearance: Pours with a moderate-sized, white head nice retention, some sticky lacing as the beer recedes. Body is a beautiful light-orange colour, very hazy/cloudy.

Aroma: Lots going on here - interesting mix of orange, tropical fruit, and light vanilla. No alcohol.

Taste: I'd say in decreasing order of intensity, I get tropical fruit hop character, orange, and vanilla, with a lingering low amount of sweetness. Very smooth. Medium/medium-low bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall: This turned out better than I had really expected obviously, luck was a big factor here. I'd love to experiment with this style - different fruit, different hops - but I'd definitely keep the grist, mash schedule, and yeast as-is.


Hop Selection for IPAs

IPAs are all about hops and we focus heavily on our hop procurement and quality program.

We have developed relationships with and source hops from some of the best growers around the globe. We use a ton of American Grown hops in our IPAs and they are the cornerstone of our IPA brewing program. US Growers have become famous around the world for growing hops that work particularly well in modern IPAs.

That said, we have found some amazing IPA hops in Germany, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Hop breeders and growers globally have keyed into Craft IPA brewer’s needs and are delivering some of the best hops ever grown. The focus is on aroma and flavor with alpha acid or bitterness taking a back seat.

It is an amazing time to be an IPA brewer and hops are at the center of the massive IPA movement in beer.

Stock up on all your favorite Firestone IPAs and celebrate National IPA Day on August 6. Stop by one of our three California brew stores, find our beer at a store near you, or get it delivered with an app like Drizly.


Maui Brewing Imperial Coconut Porter

Another fine option from Maui Brewing, this beer is the heavier sibling of its popular standard coconut porter. It’s as smooth as molasses, with nicely integrated flavors of coconut, baking chocolate, malt, and a hint of toffee. Try it with your favorite mole dish or by itself as a post-meal dessert in a glass that will whisk you away to the land of volcanoes and surf. A bigger beer through and through, it’s more suited for evenings and nightcaps than daytime refreshment.


New England IPA

The New England IPA style showed up on the national beer consumer radar around 2011 when The Alchemist began canning Heady Topper, but it wasn’t until after the 2015 Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Guidelines were released that the style really exploded (at least, outside of New England) and became one of the most sought after styles. At the time the style guide was being revised we definitely foresaw continued experimentation and variations of IPAs. The 21B Specialty IPA style was created to house these new styles, but to be judged consistently a style description is in the works.

While it still seems like the style is evolving, it has become popular enough that there is demand for a competition reference. For those who haven’t tried one of these, a New England IPA is basically an American IPA that features an intense, mostly tropical fruit, hop aroma and flavor, is heavily dry hopped to the point of being hazy, and that has a fuller body, smoother flavor, and less perceived bitterness than other popular IPA examples.

Commercial examples are expensive and don’t travel well, so they can be hard to find outside of New England. Heady Topper is the best known example (and probably the original), but other good examples include Tree House Julius, Trillium Congress Street, Hill Farmstead Susan, and Tired Hands Alien Church. They generally follow the IPA and Double IPA styles for alcohol level, but some standard-strength versions exist (although they may be labeled as New England pale ales).

Sensory Profile

The most common word used in beer enthusiast forums for this style seems to be “juicy,” which can be somewhat misleading. I can think of several meanings, including “like juice,” “mouth-watering,” or “wet,” but I think the implication is the sensory equivalent of eating ripe or over-ripe fruit, especially tropical fruit.

The first thing you will notice looking at an example of this style is that the beer is quite hazy. Not cloudy, murky, turbid, milky, or otherwise thick-looking with large suspended particles just a somewhat opaque, shiny, light-reflecting haze. The beer should not look like a yeast starter or a protein shake. The color is fairly pale (straw to golden), but some examples can have an orange hue. The opacity of the haze can make the color appear slightly darker than it is. A dense, white, rocky, persistent head is common as well.

The aroma and flavor should be dominated by hops, which are quite intense and fresh. The hop varieties used are commonly associated with ripe or overripe tropical fruit (mango, passionfruit, guava, pineapple, papaya, etc.), but can also have some stone fruit (apricot, peach) or citrus (orange, tangerine) character. Excessively resiny, piney, dank, herbaceous, or grassy characteristics are not typically found.

The malt profile is relatively neutral, with grainy or bready flavors commonplace. Caramel is not typically found, particularly the darker caramel flavors. A light toasty, honey-like, or biscuity malt flavor can sometimes be found, but the malt should not interfere with the appreciation of the hops.

The apparent bitterness level for this style is generally less than traditional IPAs, often at the moderate level. The bitterness is generally smooth and clean in character. The finish is soft, and there is rarely a minerally dryness or bite. The body helps mask some of the bitterness and support the late hop character. Some of the stronger versions may have a light alcohol character, but as with other IPAs, this shouldn’t be a hot or burning sensation.

While the beer is very fruity, it shouldn’t be sugary sweet and heavy from unfermented sugars. The high ester level may increase the perception of sweetness, as can the smooth body, soft finish, and lack of harshness. However, the mouthfeel is more from dextrins than sugars. A high final gravity is not appropriate for the style as this would negatively impact drinkability.

Ingredients & Methods

This beer style is hop-driven, but the choice of specific hop varieties and methods used to extract their best qualities is paramount to the success of the recipe. To get the tropical fruit character, you’ll have to use modern hop varieties such as Citra®, Mosaic®, GalaxyTM, Azacca®, El Dorado, or newer experimental varieties that may only be known by a number. Hop descriptors aren’t standardized, so you may wish to try small batch experiments before relying too heavily on expensive, untried varieties.

Hopping methods should be selected that avoid deriving too much bitterness from the hops while maximizing the extraction and preservation of positive hop oils. That’s a big problem since the way you get more of a hoppy character is to add more hops. Using first wort hopping instead of a traditional boil addition can give a smoother bitterness and more hop flavor. Omitting traditional boil additions up until the last 15–20 minutes can reduce harshness extracted from the vegetal matter in hops.

Adding most of the hops at the end of the boil, at knockout, or in the whirlpool can retain more of the hop oils while reducing the bitterness extracted from the hops. One whirlpool trick is to allow the wort to cool down from the boiling point since this will reduce the utilization rate of hops. This hasn’t been exactly determined, but I try to let the temperature reduce to 180 °F (82 °C) or less. Not all recipe software will calculate this effect properly (some will show zero utilization of hops added at knockout, for instance), so don’t overdo your main bittering additions.

Dry hopping is the biggest driver of hop character in this style. Multiple dry hop additions add a more complex character. Keep the additions in contact with the beer for a shorter time frame (2–3 days, perhaps) to focus on the hop oils without getting too much of the vegetal/grassy character from hops. One area of new research is dry hopping during active fermentation in the hopes of achieving biotransformation of the hop oils. This basically means certain hop oils will be transformed by metabolic pathways of yeast into different chemicals with additional fruity properties. This phenomenon is not well understood or characterized, so some amount of trial and error is still being used.

The grist for this style is relatively simple. Mostly neutral base malt is used, although some characterful pale ale type base malts may join the party. Caramel flavors are not desirable, so any crystal type malts should be used with great restraint and mostly in the paler color range. I leave them out of my recipes, but that’s the same thing I do with my normal IPAs too. Additional body is gained through the use of unmalted grains such as flaked wheat and oats. This practice is becoming more common in modern IPAs, but New England IPAs will use a higher percentage of these adjuncts. Simple mash programs are commonplace I would avoid intensive step mashes since the additional body-building starches in the adjuncts are desirable.

I have heard of some recipes using raw starch, fruit purees, and other similar additives in the attempts to add haze and fruit character. The haze in this style is from the dry hopping process, not adding raw starch. Fruitiness comes from the hop choices, techniques, and biotransformation, not adding fruit.

The yeast selection is a matter open to debate. This style can be made with neutral or fruity American or English yeast. However, some swear by special strains derived from some of the well-known commercial producers. These products are available from some smaller yeast suppliers, such as GigaYeast GY054 Vermont IPA, Yeast Bay VT Ale Strain, or Omega Yeast Lab OYL-052 DIPA Ale. White Labs WLP095 (Burlington Ale) and Wyeast 1318 (London III) are also popular.

Nothing special needs to be done with the yeast, except perhaps allowing it to rise in temperature towards the end of fermentation to make sure it finishes strong and reduces any diacetyl present. Using other ester-producing techniques such as underpitching, using open fermenters, and fermenting warmer are not necessary. Try the biotransformation technique to see the effect of enhanced fruitiness before adding any other steps.

The water profile for this style is another matter open to debate among brewers. Some go quite heavy on the calcium chloride, which can give the beer a “wet” character. Some like to use some calcium sulfate to balance the bite. I prefer to go low on minerals in general, but you can tweak the balance of chloride to sulfate to help get the character you want. I don’t want the sulfur character from too much sulfate, so avoid Burtonizing the water. I can see increasing the calcium sulfate level rather than manipulating mash temperatures as the way to fine-tune the dryness of the beer.

Homebrew Example

The example I’m providing below follows the recommendations in this article fairly closely. I have made American IPAs with the same hops, so I do have a preference for modern IPAs with a tropical fruit character. But instead of using my normal Munich malt for a little more body, color, and flavor, I’m using flaked wheat and oats to give it some extra body. Golden Promise adds a little more malt interest to the neutral 2-row base malt I chose. A simple infusion mash will accomplish my goals, so I won’t use anything more involved. I have a preference for calcium chloride in my water treatments, but I’m adding a touch of calcium sulfate to give it a slight bite. I certainly don’t want a minerally character in my beer.

Amarillo® hops are one of my favorites, and they add a distinctive apricot flavor to the beer. They are the lowest alpha acid of the hops I’m using so I’ll use them for bitterness. I’ll save the tropical fruit hops for the late hopping. I’m using Citra®, which has a mango-guava character, GalaxyTM, which brings the passionfruit, and Mosaic®, which provides pineapple. Together, they should have the tropical fruit salad experience I want.

The hop techniques I’m using are a variation of my normal methods. I frequently use first wort hopping for a smooth bitterness and hop flavor, so no surprises there. I’m following this with hop bursting the knockout and whirlpool additions, including waiting for the whirlpool to cool off enough to minimize bitterness extraction.

I’m selecting one of the well-known yeast strains for this style, hoping for some extra biotransformation of the hop oils. To encourage this, I’m using three equal dry hop additions, with one of them during active fermentation. I’ll limit the dry hopping to three days for each addition, taking care to avoid oxygen uptake during the process. As soon as the last dry hops are pulled, I would keg and serve as quickly as possible to get the most fresh hop character.

I know the hop choices are expensive and popular, so they may be hard to find. But if you want the tropical character to shine, these are your best choices. Freshness of the hops is important, so make sure they aren’t oxidized before you use them (check that the hop cones are still green, and the lupulin is yellow not orange).

Recipe

New England IPA

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.061 FG = 1.012
IBU = 56 SRM = 5 ABV = 6.5%

Ingredients

9 lbs. (4.1 kg) US 2-row malt
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) UK Golden Promise malt
1 lb. (0.45 kg) flaked wheat
12 oz. (340 g) flaked oats
12.9 AAU Amarillo® hops (first wort hop) (1.5 oz./43 g at 8.6% alpha acids)
1.5 oz. (43 g) Amarillo® hops (0 min.)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) GalaxyTM hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (hop stand)
3 oz. (85 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
1.5 oz. (43 g) GalaxyTM hops (dry hop)
1.5 oz. (43 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
GigaYeast GY054 (Vermont IPA) or White Labs WLP095 (Burlington Ale) yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

On brew day, prepare your ingredients mill the grains, measure your hops, and prepare your water. This recipe uses reverse osmosis (RO) water. Add 1⁄4 tsp 10% phosphoric acid per 5 gallons (19 L) of brewing water, or until water measures pH 5.5 at room temperature. Add 3⁄4 tsp. calcium chloride (CaCl2) and 1⁄4 tsp. calcium sulfate (CaSO4) to the mash.

On brew day, mash in all the grains at 152 °F (67 °C) in 5 gallons (19 L) of water, and hold this temperature for 60 minutes. Raise the temperature by infusion or direct heating to 168 °F (76 °C) to mashout. Recirculate for 15 minutes. Fly sparge with 168 °F (76 °C) water until 6.5 gallons (25 L) of wort is collected.

Boil the wort for 75 minutes, adding the hops at times indicated in the recipe. The first wort hops are added to the kettle just before lautering begins. The 0 minute hops get added right after the heat is turned off. Stir the wort gently and allow to cool to 180 °F (82 °C) then add the hop stand hops. Allow to stand for 20 minutes then chill to 64 °F (18 °C) and rack to the fermenter.

Oxygenate, then pitch the yeast. Start fermentation at 64 °F (18 °C), allowing temperature to rise naturally as fermentation progresses. Mix the dry hops and divide into three equal portions. The first portion gets added after two days of active fermentation. The second portion gets added at the end of fermentation.

The third portion gets added three days after fermentation ends. Allow each dry hop addition to be in contact with the beer for two to three days, then remove.

Rack the beer, prime and bottle condition, or keg and force carbonate to 2.5 volumes. Do not filter or fine the beer.

New England IPA

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.061 FG = 1.012
IBU = 56 SRM = 5 ABV = 6.5%

Ingredients

7.2 lbs. (3.3 kg) pale liquid malt extract
1 lb. (454 g) dried wheat or weizen malt extract
12.9 AAU Amarillo® hops (first wort hop) (1.5 oz./43 g at 8.6% alpha acids)
1.5 oz. (43 g) Amarillo® hops (0 min.)
1 oz. (28 g) Citra® hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) GalaxyTM hops (hop stand)
1 oz. (28 g) Mosaic® hops (hop stand)
3 oz. (85 g) Citra® hops (dry hop)
1.5 oz. (43 g) GalaxyTM hops (dry hop)
1.5 oz. (43 g) Mosaic® hops (dry hop)
GigaYeast GY054 (Vermont IPA) or White Labs WLP095 (Burlington Ale) yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Use 6 gallons (23 L) of water in the brew kettle heat to 158 °F (70 °C). Add the malt extracts and stir thoroughly to dissolve the extract completely. You do not want to feel liquid extract at the bottom of the kettle when stirring with your spoon. Turn the heat back on and bring to a boil.

Boil the wort for 60 minutes, adding the hops at times indicated. The first wort hops are added to the kettle just after the malt extract is dissolved but before bringing to a boil. The 0 minute hops get added right after the heat is turned off. Stir the wort gently and allow to cool to 180 °F (82 °C) then add the hop stand hops. Allow to stand for 20 minutes then chill to 64 °F (18 °C) and rack to the fermenter.

Oxygenate, then pitch the yeast. Start fermentation at 64 °F (18 °C), allowing temperature to rise naturally as fermentation progresses. Mix the dry hops and divide into three equal portions. The first portion gets added after two days of active fermentation. The second portion gets added at the end of fermentation. The third portion gets added three days after fermentation ends. Allow each dry hop addition to be in contact with the beer for two to three days, then remove.

Rack the beer, prime and bottle condition, or keg and force carbonate to 2.5 volumes. Do not filter or fine the beer.


How Do You Make a Hazy Session IPA That Actually Tastes Good?

The protein-polyphenol haze helps keep certain volatile hop aromatics dissolved in the beer, as well as providing a different mouthfeel than you get in a bright beer. The haze isn't just for visual appeal. The problem with some hazy beers is that they're also served with a ton of yeast in suspension, and macroscopic hop chunks too.

Because the article is about how to make a hazy session IPA that tastes good.

Off topic but does anyone else think hazy IPAs and milkshake IPAs should not be called IPAs? The difference between a strawberry milkshake IPA and a classic English IPA are huge. Why not create a new category? And the there are black IPAs. is everything just labeled IPA these days because it sells?!

I do think they belong to the same family, in a very Wittgenstein sense. Thus, a milkshake IPA can trace it's lineage to the original English IPA. Even the West coast IPA has already got profound differences with the original style (heavy hopping to withstand long sea voyages versus heavy hopping for taste which makes a beer that should be drunk as fresh as possible). Whether you like milkshake or hazy ales is another story (I don't care for milkshakes and I quite enjoy hazy stuff as long as it's still bitter and doesn't cloy me up). As well, we should be critical enough to tell a honest brew from someone who tries to cover their mistakes or crappy recipes with lactose or can't filter properly. Edit: apparently the idea that English IPAs were designed to withstand long sea trips is a myth. I stand corrected.


What Defines a Double IPA?

Illustration by Jon Campolo

I recently moved back home to central California from the Portland, Ore., area, where I became very spoiled by a fantastic selection of beer. Most people here (in central California) don’t even know what an IPA is. I have found a few people, however (one of whom directed me to your site), who know their stuff and told me I should try making my own at home.

I want to try the IPA and Double IPA, and was wondering what needs to be done differently to make a double instead of a single? I know the hoppiness has to be kicked up, but doubles typically have a higher ABV as well. What part of the brewing process is responsible for this? Do you need to use any different ingredients? Longer fermenting or cook times?

Any help on this matter would be much appreciated. Thanks. —M. Downs

Good question, especially since the lines have gotten more and more blurred as the style has evolved.

Double (or Imperial) India Pale Ales (IPAs) can resemble everything from a Pale Ale to a Barleywine, reserved International Bitterness Units (IBU) to hundreds, from pale to black in color. On top of that, this truly unique American style has also been interpreted by brewers around the world who also put their signature twists on the style for instance, Belgian IPAs, many of which resemble hoppy, unfiltered Tripels.

In my opinion, this “no rules” approach is actually what makes a Double IPA—and it’s so American. The style is also very much in its infancy (maybe a decade old), so arguably trying to truly define it today could be considered a bit premature. That said, there are general guidelines as to what makes a Double IPA.

Hops
That’s a tricky one. Is your intention to provide some assertive balance to offset the higher malt profile and subsequent alcohol, or do you want to shred tongues? As the style originated on the West Coast, high alpha acid hops from the larger Pacific/Northwest region are typically associated with the style however, any hops can essentially be used. It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Alcohol
Once an IPA reaches the 7-plus percent alcohol by volume (ABV) range, it’s entered Double IPA turf. And, to your question, the higher ABV is derived from more fermentable sugars, usually from malts. So yes, the grain bills will be increased to achieve a higher ABV. Mash (60 mins), kettle/boil (about 90 mins) and fermentation times could also vary depending on your desired outcome, ingredients and conditions, just like with any batch. You’ll want to aim for between 7 and 9 percent. More, and you risk creating something less drinkable.

Basically, a Double IPA should be hop-centric and assertive both in aroma and flavor, and have a higher alcohol content than a standard IPA (not “double,” per se, just higher), achieved by adding more malt.


The 25 Most Important IPAs Right Now, Ranked

With more than 150 officially recognized beer styles, the global domination of Big Beer’s macro lagers, and the tidal wave of hard seltzer, the IPA’s domination over American craft beer drinkers’ palates is truly iconic. Once an obscure and quirky push from small brewers onto curious beer drinkers bored with American light lager, IPA — and its many sub-styles, such as the now-ubiquitous New England-style IPA or hazy IPA — is craft beer’s success story.

The level of success for each of these beers is constantly in flux. What we considered the best one year will undoubtedly change the next. Similarly, so too will the cultural significance and economic impact of each IPA on this list. In some cases, even the beer’s recipe, packaging, hop charging technique or grist will make a subtle shift that changes its trajectory for the better — or worse. The following beers have all impacted the beer industry, community, and us in some significant way in the past year and potentially those preceding it. More importantly, these are the IPAs we expect to affect craft beer’s future.

These are the 25 Most Important IPAs right now, ranked by the VinePair staff.

Every Beer Lover Needs This Hop Aroma Poster

25. Pipeworks Ninja Vs. Unicorn Chicago ABV: 8%

In 2015, Ninja Vs. Unicorn became the first Pipeworks beer packaged in cans — straight to 16-ounce tallboys with electrifying artwork — with a launch party to go with it. It remains the brewery’s most popular beer. This year, we found ourselves falling in love with it all over again. Perfect for crisp winter days and lazy summer afternoons alike, this boozy-but-balanced double IPA is a stellar example of the style now as much as then. By the way, ninja always wins.

24. Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Bend, Ore. ABV: 6.4%

Fresh Squeezed IPA debuted as an experimental brew in 2013, and became a year-round IPA the following year. At the time, it was a hot take on hops, showcasing the “juicy,” citrusy character of Citra, Mosaic, and Nugget, as well as dialing back the malty side with pale malts. Today, it’s a symbol of resilience, and a damn tasty one at that.

23. Cerebral Brewing Denver ABV: 6.4%

It’s hard to pin down our favorite Cerebral beer each year. Although we handed it to foeder lagers this year, that top 50 spot could easily have gone to this double-dry-hopped version of its popular Rare Trait IPA (itself a “modern classic,” according to a fellow Denver brewer). DDH Rare Trait is the one we’ve been craving since we first tasted it several months ago, which we also very much hope will not be the last.

22. Athletic Brewing Co. Free Way ‘DIPA’ Stratford, Ct. ABV: <0.5

We know it seems crazy to include a non-alcoholic double IPA as one of the most important IPAs right now — and in truth, as recently as five years ago, we didn’t think we’d be here, either. But Athletic Brewing has proven that the NA category can exist, and that it can offer astonishing quality compared to NA beers of previous years. Free Way, also one of our 50 Best Beers of 2020, stocked our fridge this year as we made our way through the indistinguishable weekdays and nights, and even weekends. Perfect for those occasions when we wanted to kick back with a beer but were really craving the ritual more than anything else — before moving on to a “real” alcoholic beer, of course — Athletic was ever-present.

21. Hudson Valley Incandenza Sour IPA Beacon, N.Y. ABV: 6%

Sour IPA? It’s possible. Citra and Mosaic hops and lactic acid give this tart little gem a lemony, fruit-forward tang, while oats, wheat, and milk sugar contribute creaminess without going full smoothie or milkshake. While availability is sparse, rest assured if you are ever looking for a sour IPA, Hudson Valley is the place to find the standard — and the bar is set higher with every batch.

20. Triple Crossing Falcon Smash Richmond, Va. ABV: 7%

Falcon Smash is a flagship IPA that reinvents itself — that’s because reinvention is built into the brand. The Virginia-brewed NEIPA is an ode to Falconer’s Flight, a proprietary hop blend (Hopunion) that includes Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra, Cluster, Columbus, and Crystal hops — a.k.a. “C Hops” — along with rotating varieties from Hopunion’s experimental toolshed. Triple Crossing’s reputation for hop-driven experimentation gets stronger every year.

19. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA Tampa, Fla. ABV: 7.5%

Cigar City Brewing launched in 2009, and sold to the CANarchy Craft Brewers Collective in 2016. By 2018, Cigar City Jai Alai IPA was the top-selling 6-pack of canned craft beers at major grocery stores in the U.S., solidifying the tropical IPA as one of our 50 best Beers of the Year, and Cigar City as one of the most important breweries of the decade. Years before it reached newsworthy accolades such as these, Jai Alai amassed fans around the world, including resident beer lovers at VinePair. Now squarely situated in a new decade on the cusp of 2021, Jai Alai shows promising signs of growth: Dollar sales of Jai Alai increased more than 40 percent in 2019. Beyond that, it remains the Florida-made IPA we daydream about drinking by the pitcher under an umbrella in the sand. Riffs on the classic include White Oak Jai Alai and Spanish Cedar Jai Alai.

18. Dogfish Head 60 Minute Milton, Del. ABV: 6%

It’s indisputable that 2020 has been an “off-centered” year but one thing that consistently kept us centered was 60 Minute. With its continually hopped balance of citrus and herbal flavors, strong malt backbone, and relatively sessionable 6 percent ABV, 60 Minute is still impressing us. Call it Covid-induced grocery store stocking up, tastebuds getting nostalgic, or the fact that our mom keeps a sixer of it in the fridge all summer, but we definitely drank a lot of 60 Minute this year. Also be on the lookout for Hazy O! – exclamation point theirs, not ours – an oat-packed addition to the DFH lineup set to launch in January 2021.

17. Firestone Walker Double Jack Paso Robles, Calif. ABV: 9.5%

The power of social media shone through many beer-filled glasses this year, but as one VinePair staffer aptly noted, “people are freaking out that Double Jack is back.” Indeed, “bring back Double Jack” became a rallying cry on the brewery’s social media accounts since this beer was discontinued in 2016. The imperial version of the original Union Jack, itself widely known as one of the first definitively West Coast IPAs, was that beloved. After a brief reintroduction last fall, it’s back in the year-round lineup, and better than ever. (FWIW, it should probably be called “Triple Jack,” but anyway, who’s counting?)

16. Russian River Pliny the Elder Santa Rosa, Calif. ABV: 8%

Respecting your elders is easy when it’s Pliny: No matter how much time passes (almost 21 years, as of this writing) or how many IPA styles fly in and out of fashion (remember brut IPA?), reverent beer drinkers can’t seem to get enough of this West Coast legend. Our only problem with Pliny is how infrequently we get to drink it in NYC. DM us for our mailing address.

15. Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale Comstock, Mich. ABV: 7%

Bell’s Brewery has released its fair share of IPAS since its founding in 1985. This includes the Official Haze, its year-round, wheat-based take on the hazy IPA and Light Hearted Ale, its January 2020 answer to low-alc, low-cal beer-seekers. And yet, try as they might to win over new palates with fresh takes on trends, Two Hearted Ale consistently commands a national following. The grapefruit-and-pine-flavored ale — not even branded as an IPA when it was released in 1997 — is made with only Centennial hops, making it an all-around American classic.

14. WeldWerks Brewing Co. Juicy Bits Greeley, Colo. ABV: 6.7%

Often imitated, and occasionally recreated by WeldWerks, Juicy Bits is the New England IPA of the Southwest. It’s the orange juice with pulp of IPAs, packing Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops into its feather-soft, smoothie-like mouthfeel. It’s also available in stores like Whole Foods on the West Coast, which to us East Coasters is basically like saying the tooth fairy is real.

13. Hop Butcher for the World Neon Green Relish Darien, Ill. ABV: 7.5%

Neon Green Relish evolves with every sip, sniff, and sampling session. Zesty and herbal like a G&T with bergamot or lime, then dank as a wheel of brie before going back to fruity berry notes, it’s somewhere between a pickle and a danish. It’s exactly this bewildering, and beguiling, character that has hop-obsessed beer drinkers hooked on Hop Butcher. The Illinois brewery’s constantly changing range of thick, juicy hazies is for those who like their flavors extreme.

12. Alchemist Brewing Company Heady Topper Stowe, Vt. ABV: 8%

Heady Topper is a legend, albeit a relatively young one — achieving cult status soon after its 2003 (!) release. Nearly two decades later, it’s still turning heads — with even some of our own team trying the beer for the first time this year (and loving the results). To their defense, they went all the way to Vermont to try it, even though they didn’t have to. Once only available at the brewpub in Stowe, Heady Topper and other Alchemist beers such as the similarly flavored and beloved Focal Banger are now available in retail stores in various states.

11. Lagunitas IPA Petaluma, Calif. ABV: 6.2%

Yes, we know it’s owned by Heineken. But if we’re in a bind, and the only tap handles in sight resemble red, white, or blue Big Beers or an orange-billed goose, Lagunitas is the macro IPA we choose every time. There’s consistency in its quality that is as dependable as it is hoppy, and its recognizable hop character serves us a solid dose of nostalgia, too. With good reason this is the nation’s top-selling IPA.

10. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine Waitsfield, Vt. ABV: 8%

Every time we think we might be “over” Sip of Sunshine, we try it again and feel stupid for doubting ourselves. This is a New England IPA that both set the standard for and has nothing to do with the NEIPA of today. It’s golden orange, and cloudy but not opaque like OJ. It has huge citrus fruit on the nose, and an unapologetically bitter pith on the palate and lingering finish. In retrospect, it is the Northeast West Coast IPA that you didn’t know you needed to try again, but we highly recommend you do.

9. Hill Farmstead Susan Greensboro, Vt. ABV: 6

In September, Hill Farmstead’s Susan became available in cans for the first time since debuting on draft in 2012. This beer has history: First of all, it’s named for founder Shaun Hill’s great aunt (sister of his grandfather Edward, whose legacy is also honored in Hill Farmstead’s “Ancestral” series). It’s also the original Riwaka IPA — Hill went to great lengths to source this unusual varietal back then, and nearly a decade later, it’s all the rage. While we’ve sipped Susan on many sunny occasions in vessels spanning shaker pints to tulips, and in later days Tekus, we’ve not yet had the pleasure of grasping the dewy periwinkle you can see pictured here. In Susan as in life, there is always something to look forward to.

8. Maine Beer Co. Lunch Freeport, Me. ABV: 7%

Lunch is a whale — literally — that gave this coveted IPA its name after Maine Beer Co. “adopted” it through the marine non-profit Allied Whale. It’s also a “whale” in the beer-geeky sense, meaning it’s a rarity to spot for the majority of beer lovers. But for those of us lucky enough to live in the Northeast (or have a generous pen pal), Maine Beer Co. Lunch is a year-round reminder of how utterly delicate and balanced an IPA can be. The gimmick-free beer is both malt- and hop-driven, with slightly cooked Carapils and Caramel malts and red wheat complemented by Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. While its big sibling Dinner is delicious, and we’re always game for Another One, it’s Lunch that holds a sacred and habitual space in our hearts.

7. Toppling Goliath King Sue Decorah, Iowa ABV: 7.8%

Roaring with hop flavor, King Sue is packed with pineapple and citrus notes and bold bitterness. Craft beer lovers flocked to Toppling Goliath by the thousands for a taste — or a trunk full — of this hazy double IPA in years past. If its perpetual popularity is any indication, we expect this excitement to return in-person someday soon. King Sue cannot be dethroned, not even by Covid.

6. Great Notion Super Ripe Portland, Ore. ABV: 9%

Opened on New Year’s Day in 2016, Great Notion earned fast fans in fellow brewers for its fresh yet consistent take on the hazy IPA. Ripe led the (hop) charge, inspiring a continuing line of variants and iterations. Super Ripe dropped onto our radar in 2018, and we regularly recall its double-take-worthy decadent tropical fruit aroma, as well as its ultra-juicy flavor and mouthfeel. While the original Ripe lets Citra shine in all its trendsetting glory, Super Ripe adds a second dimension – and a second DDH addition of Vic Secret.

5. New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA Fort Collins, Colo. ABV: 9%

The growth rate of New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, particularly for a double IPA, is, as one VinePair staffer says, “bonkers.” Even after the brewery sold to Japanese global brewer Kirin, and the subsequent controversies involving Kirin’s connection to ongoing genocide in Myanmar, Voodoo Ranger continuously strolls onto and skitters off of supermarket shelves with unlikely swagger — to the tune of 85 percent growth in dollar sales in 2019. It’s among the top five best-selling IPAs on the market right now, and considering the size and scale of the brewery’s distribution — and its hefty 9 percent ABV — it’s clear this beer is potent for a growing number of American beer consumers.

4. Trillium Brewing Company Congress Street Canton, Mass. ABV: 7%

Congress Street put Trillium on the map — or maybe it was Trillium that put Congress Street on the map? — when the New England brewery opened in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood in 2013. An early example of the craft beer culture defining NEIPA, which lives up to the hype, Congress Street IPA showcases Galaxy hops, bringing pine, melon, citrus, and tropical fruit flavors together with a light touch of malt character in a silky, smooth texture.

3. Other Half HDHC Dense Brooklyn ABV: 6.5%

HDHC has only been around for a minute, but Dense is the best high-density, hop-charged (HDHC) IPA we’ve tasted this year. The acronym may not reach “DDH” status, or even be as relevant, but it still showcases that Other Half is always a few steps (and hops) ahead with both brewing techniques and marketing. While it was inventing new hop-related terms and marketable acronyms, Other Half has also been busy opening two new locations this year: Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Washington, D.C. This, in addition to its Finger Lakes location in upstate New York and its Gowanus, Brooklyn HQ means Other Half is dominating the hop game from four different zip codes.

2. Tree House Julius Charlton, Mass. ABV: 6.8%

Most flagship IPAs don’t look or taste like Julius. Like the orange-gold sun peeking over the horizon, this ultimate juicy IPA is both archetypal and endlessly exciting, counting fans around the world and more ISOs than one could possibly track in this lifetime. There are countless variations, adding all manner of tropical fruits to mirror the beer’s prevalent peach, passionfruit, and mango aromas and flavors as well as even more aggressively hopped iterations such as the imperial King Julius, and the triply juicy JJJULIUSSS! originally brewed for the brand’s third anniversary.

1. Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing Chico, Calif. ABV: 6.7%

Hazy Little Thing may never have the thick, smoothie-like texture of small-scale hazies like Julius. It doesn’t need to. Hazy Little Thing turned out to be not so little at all: After topping our 50 Best Beers list of 2018, it went on to become an affordable, ubiquitous, and well-respected hazy IPA that can be found anywhere from a beer geek’s fridge stash to the beer aisle in Walmart. While hype-addicted haze bros are arguing over the Tree Houses and Trilliums of the beer world, brewers all over are pulling their hair out trying to figure out how Sierra Nevada does it.

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Watch the video: National IPA Day At The Tarmac. Studio209 (November 2021).