As one of the most popular beer styles out there India Pale Ales or IPAs have undergone a dramatic transformation over the last forty years since the craft brew revolution began. The pioneers of the movement back then would not have even recognized what most drinkers call an IPA nowadays. They’re used to a slightly bitter beer that followed the traditional British style that you can still find across the United Kingdom. It wasn’t until the brewers on the West Coast, always a rebellious lot, started experimenting with hop loads that people realized what heights you could take an IPA too. Part of the reason they broke the mold was due to the fact that the Pacific Northwest is the top hop producing region in the world. Pretty soon their flavorful creations gained a following.
What followed was the great hop explosion with brewers across the country turning out bigger and bolder beers, each one revelatory in what could be accomplished. These days brewers toss wild yeast into their fermentation, age them in booze barrels of every sort, filter them, and don’t filter them. The quest for creating the next big IPA is the modern-day brewers Holy Grail, and we drinkers could not be happier. Here are six beasts that you should search out and stock up on, because the sunshine is coming back and hoppiness is heaven.
Juicy Bits from WeldWerks Brewing in Greely has become a cult favorite. It’s the beer that you hear your friends raving about, that is if they’re lucky enough to have snagged a can of it this coveted beer. Brewed with Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops, it is a New England Style IPA that is unfiltered and looks like a glass of OJ. It’s loaded with citrus flavors and has a powerful nose from the moment you open a can of it, yet it’s nicely balanced and goes down smooth. An absolutely beautiful beer that is a joy to sip.
As one of the most celebrated brewers out there Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head is a force to be reckoned with. When his brewery turns out something new, brewers across the country anxiously await their first taste to see what new gem he and his team have made. The Perfect Disguise is yet another beer you need to try. It’s a Bavarian Frankenstein of a creation that somehow has merged two of the most disparate styles of beer together—an American double dry-hopped IPA and a German Kölsch. The end result is a beer with big hop characteristics, yet goes down easily.
From the moment 4 Noses Brewing Company opened their doors in Broomfield they have garnered a following for their well-crafted beers. Maybe their single best product is their Bout Damn Time, an American Style IPA. It’s got a big bold flavor that hits your tongue the moment the first drops trickle out of a can. Made with Simcoe, Amarillo, Ekuanot and Mosaic hops it’s a complex beer that only gets better with each sip. At 7.1 percent ABV, it’s also a brew to watch out for as it will catch up with you quickly.
If you’re a flavor freak, then look no further than Juicy Banger IPA from Denver’s very own Station 26 Brewing Company. It’s a fruit-forward beer that’s brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Centennial and Apollo hops that embodies all of the best parts of a West Coast IPA, melded with newer influences from the East Coast. It has over 100 IBU’s and the resultant piney flavors leave your mouth singing long after the liquid has left.
Who would of thought that Utah would be home to one of the better New England Style IPA’s available in the Rocky Mountains? Well it’s true. Epic Brewing Company’s New England Style IPA is pretty amazing. The best part is that the juice in the can is forever rotating as the brewers use the line to brew new and interesting styles of beer. Think of each can as a science experiment made just for you. Once might be more fruitful and yet the next could be a resinous bomb, you just don’t know. One thing for certain, they are damn good.
As one of the biggest and boldest beers out there the decidedly unapologetic Runiation IPA from California’s own Stone Brewing is not for the faint of heart. It’s literally designed to make those who are not dedicated hop heads swoon. It has a huge sticky hop aroma that will light your nostrils afire. The first sip is quite big with a heady dose of bitterness, that mellows as you sip it, but is never quite tamed. Grapefruit and floral flavors abound, yet there is a nice malty backbone just underneath. It’s the biggest of the beers here and also quite complex.
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