Bartenders Shout Out IPAs That Feel Perfect For Winter’s Last Gasp

We’re so over winter. Snow, frigid wind chills, and hour-upon-hour of darkness really seem to exacerbate the whole quarantine thing. Who needs it, right? This year, we’re making a declaration that everyone should go ahead and head into spring early. Like next week.

Honestly, we deserve this. After the year we all had, we don’t need to sit around and wait for warm, sunny days.

Through this winter of our collective discontent, we already got our fill of stouts, porters, barleywines, and old ales. So we’re going to spend the remaining chilly nights drinking closing things out with seasonally appropriate IPAs (not all IPAs are meant for summer, fam). To find the best options, we turned to the professionals — asking a group of well-known bartenders to tell us their choices for the best IPAs to sip on from now until the weather turns for good.

Crooked Can High Stepper

Crooked Can

Bianca Swilley, bartender at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa in Orlando

Those in search of an IPA to drink this winter should look no further than Florida’s own Crooked Can High Stepper IPA. Not only is this a local gem, but it is well balanced and refreshing, from the coldest days up north to the warmest Florida days.

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Lagunitas IPA


Michael Norat, bartender in Puerto Rico

Lagunitas IPA for a winter IPA is extremely refreshing. In Puerto Rico, there is no winter. It’s about 83 degrees in February, so it’s always summer here.

Average Price: $8.99 for a six-pack

Flying Dog Thunderpeel

Flying Dog

Dennis Shea, beverage director at Fish & Fire Food Group in Washington, DC

I would pick a juicy, hazy IPA. Flying Dog Brewery’s Thunderpeel has all of this without using any citrus fruits. This New England Style IPA achieves juice notes through its unique blend of hops.

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing

Sierra Nevada

Austin Zimmer, bartender Le Prive in New York City

The Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing is a great IPA for the winter season. The rye, herbal, and piney notes, paired with a nice, hazy presence remind the season and are way more balanced than most IPAs.

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Castle Danger White Pine Project

Castle Danger

Jeff Rogers, bar director for Jester Concepts in Minneapolis

Castle Danger Brewery’s White Pine Project IPA. The light pine flavors from the hops blend perfectly with citrus notes that remind you of the upcoming spring.

Made in Two Harbors, Minnesota, the sales of this beer help to replant the North Shore.

Average Price: $9.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

2nd Shift Art of Neurosis

2nd Shift

Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

I spend most of my summers wandering the Grove in St. Louis looking for pinball machines in various bars. The IPA I seem to have in hand is Art of Neurosis from 2nd Shift brewery. It’s big, hoppy, and malt-forward, so it stands up to frigid temps.

This one definitely transports me to summer.

Average Price: $11.49 for a six-pack of 16-ounce cans

Silver City Tropic Haze

Silver City

Kraig Rovensky, bartender at Deep Dive in Seattle

How can you drink something with tropic in the name and not feel like you are on a beach? Or in my case, hidden under an umbrella avoiding the sunshine out of fear of sunburn. The tropic part isn’t overbearing and doesn’t add sweetness. It just has this light pineapple/mango thing going on, with a nice balance of grapefruit to keep things nice and bitter.

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Clown Shoes Haze Cake

Clown Shoes

Andres Rairan, lead bartender at High Tide Beach Bar & Grill in Miami

This question is a little hard for me because, down here in South Florida, we don’t really have winter and almost never need to warm up. But I have lived in the Northeast and Boston area and dealt with some harsh winters and I remember drinking Clown Shoes Haze Cake.

This IPA is the perfect winter warmer because the aromatic fruit notes and malty finish give it a light-yet-warm feel, making it a perfect beer for a winter day.

Average Price: $12.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

Sierra Nevada Fantastic Haze

Sierra Nevada

Nikole Calvo, bar manager at SIX in Tampa, Florida

The best IPA to drink during the winter is Sierra Nevada’s Fantastic Haze IPA. It’s a full-body IPA with a hazy twist. It’s extremely hop-forward and is geared up to drink during the winter seasons. The fresh fruit and hops are a great take on a winter IPA.

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

New Belgium Accumulation

New Belgium

Ryan Cunningham, bartender at Anchor and Brine in Tampa, Florida

New Belgium does a great winter IPA called Accumulation. Not unlike other beers in their line, it’s gone through a few different recipes but one thing I’ve always enjoyed is the warmness of the hop selection while not destroying your palate with IBUs.

Average Price: $8.49 for a six-pack

Old Nation M-43

Old Nation

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

Open an M-43 from Old Nation. New England Style IPAs generally use hops that provide tropical fruit and creamy citrus notes. Make sure to pour it into a glass to enjoy its trademark murky haze.

Average Price: $13.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

Elysian Space Dust


Pascal Pinault, food and beverage general manager at Ambersweet at The Confidante in Miami

The best mid-winter IPA is Space Dust by Elysian Brewing Company. Its aromas remind you of winter with pine, citrus, and grass. It has a high alcohol content that isn’t noticeable and an elevated version of a classic IPA, making it a must-try.

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Glutenberg IPA


Siobhán Cusumano, bartender at Buya Ramen in St. Petersburg, Florida

I am not the biggest IPA drinker, and with a gluten allergy, there are few options. Glutenberg does a phenomenal job capturing a warm summer day on the beach with their session IPA. It’s not overly hoppy, but clean, light, and crushable.

Average Price: $11.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

Writer’s Picks:

Sloop Juice Bomb


This juicy, hazy, crushable, 6.5 percent New England-style IPA is the perfect last winter sip. It’s filled with tropical fruits like guava, pineapple, and mango. It’s so good, you’ll want to continue drinking it well into the spring and summer.

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

Troegs Joyous IPA


One of the newest offerings from the Pennsylvania-based brewery, Joyous IPA is a nice mix of spicy, resinous pine and juicy, fresh pineapple, mango, and tangerine. It’s quite possibly the best beer to ease your way into spring with.

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack