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Eleven IPAs For Drinkers Unafraid Of Aggressively Bitter Hops

The IPA was created in the 1700s because British colonizers wanted to be able to drink pale ales when they arrived in India. To keep them fresh for months at sea, they loaded them with a crazy amount of hops. It worked and over the centuries the beer style hasn’t fallen by the wayside for being too hoppy and bitter. In fact, it might be more popular than ever.

While the current trend is all about IPAs that taste more like a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice than the beer, the old-school bitter, resinous, and floral hop bombs are still available to those who aren’t afraid of big green flavors close to a dank cannabis flower.

To find the best, aggressively hoppy IPAs on the market, we once again turned to the pros. We asked a handful of well-known bartenders to tell us their picks for the best IPAs for drinkers who aren’t turned off by sometimes harsh, vibrantly bitter hop-loaded IPAs. Check them all out below and click on the prices if you want to try them yourself.

Stone Ruination

Stone

Jeremy Williams, head mixologist at MDRD atop the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan

ABV: 7.7%

Average Price: $14 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Stone ‘Ruination’ is unapologetic hop punishment…in a good way. Its unbelievable hop presence creates a long-lasting resinous finish, making it perfect for bitter IPA fans.

Crafthaus Resinate IPA

Crafthaus

Daniel Yang, lead bartender of Electra Cocktail Club at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I’m not the bravest of IPA adventurers but I like the Nevada-based Crafthaus Resinate IPA. Toting an IBU of 58, it’s just enough for someone like me, but maybe not someone who rolls in the Triple IPA or Double IPA crowd.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

DogFish Head

Hayden Miller, head bartender of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

ABV: 9%

Average Price: $12 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA has a heavy push of pine and citrus that rounds out a nice bitter body. It’s well-rounded, floral, and fresh, but it’s definitely not for those who fear bitterness.

Sierra Nevada Dankful IPA

Sierra Nevada

Sebastian Mena, director of food and beverage at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort in Curaçao

ABV: 7.4%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Bottle?

Sierra Nevada Dankful IPA is fairly new to the market, but a total bitter hop fan’s dream. The rich, floral, dank IPA Flavors, the caramel malt sweetness, and my favorite part, the grapefruit flavor.

Crooked Stave IPA

Crooked Stave

Ryan Anderson, complex director of beverage at Ace Hotel in New Orleans

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

For those who seek bitterness in India Pale Ales, Crooked Stave Brewery in Denver makes delicious and flavorful brews. They really try to balance the bitterness with the malt and do so wonderfully. Specifically, its flagship IPA with its Amarillo, Azacca, Mosaic, and Motueka hops.

Patagonia Kilometer 24.7

Patagonia

Federico Doldi, beverage director of Gansevoort Meatpacking in New York

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I really like the Patagonia Kilometer 24.7. This session IPA with honey and elderberry features an intense hop aroma with high bitterness and a combination of herbal and citrus notes. It’s tough to find in the U.S., but if you can find it, buy it.

The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist

Chandra Richter, chief mixologist at Drinkworks

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $20 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

If you’re not afraid to explore an IPA that is all about the hops, then my pick would be The Alchemist Brewing Heady Topper. It’s a super bitter, intense double-IPA, but I love the grapefruit and tropical flavors that provide a nice balance to the hoppy bitterness. It’s delicious.

Russian River Pliny The Elder

Russian River

Piero Procida, director of food & beverage at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, California

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $8 for a 16-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

Russian River Valley’s Pliny The Elder Double IPA has citrus blossom, fresh-cut pine, and hops dominating the flavor with a firm and high bitter content that makes this an IPA lover’s dream come true. Winning numerous awards, like the American Homebrewers Association seventh straight title of America’s Best Beer, it is considered one of the world’s most sought-after IPAs. If you can get your hands on it, believe me, it is well worth it.

Parish Ghost in the Machine

Parish

Christina Ramirez, mixologist at SoBou in New Orleans

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $14 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Ghost in the Machine by Parish Brewing Company is a double IPA that’s super aromatic with an almost harsh bitterness. It’s floral and piney with notes of citrus and stone fruit on the tongue. And at 8 percent, it’s no joke. It pairs perfectly with a shrimp or crawfish po-boy and a side of Cajun fries.

Good People Snake Handler

Good People

Brandon Parnell, general manager and director of beverage for Flora-Bama in Perdido Key, Florida

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $12 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

Good People Snake Handler is a double IPA that packs a punch and delivers at the highest level for every IPA lover. This Alabama-made beer is 10 percent ABV and loaded with hop flavor.

Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet

Sierra Nevada

Jason Hsieh, director of food and beverage at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, California

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet Double IPA feels like it was made for bitter hop fans. It’s full of intense West Coast hops that play well with citrus and floral flavors, all culminating in a nice, dank bitter finish.


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