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Drink These West Coast IPAs If You’re A Fan Of Bold Citrus Flavors

Before there were New England IPAs, Milk Shake IPAs, and even session IPAs, there was the classic West Coast IPA. These hoppy, bitter brews are what many drinkers conjure first when they think “IPA.” They’re often quite dank, but they balance those pine resin notes with bold citrus flavors.

The West Coast IPA boomed so big in the early 2000s and into the 2010s that there was sure to be a backlash. But the style endures and remains loved by beer drinkers. It’s nothing if not high impact — grabbing your attention with all of those bitterness units combined with a fruity punch.

Check out ten of our favorite West Coast IPAs featuring bright, fresh, citrus flavor profiles below.

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Ballast Point

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This beer from San Diego’s Ballast Point is consistently ranked as one of the best IPAs ever made. It’s a 7% ABV West Coast IPA, hopped five different times during the brewing process to guarantee a little weed-terpene dankness matched with mouth-watering citrus flavors.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find hints of lemon zest, juicy peach, and pine trees. On the palate, you’ll find notes of guava, mango, pineapple, and resinous, spicy hops. The finish is filled with crisp, tart tangerine and lime flavors.

Bottom Line:

This award-winning IPA is guaranteed to please the most serious citrus fans. It’s balanced out with just the right amount of hop bitterness.

Sierra Nevada Dankful

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 7.4%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

The Beer:

It’s not simply the seven different hop varieties that make this piney, resinous, floral beer highly drinkable and memorable. It’s also the fact that this 7.4% beer is brewed to support various charities — including those involved in social equality and the environment.

Tasting Notes:

Before taking a sip, breathe in the aromas of crisp malts, caramel sweetness, and a nice mixture of pine, pineapple, and grapefruit. Take a sip and you’ll be greeted with spicy, bitter hops, fresh-cut grass, lemon zest, and ripe limes. It all ends in a memorable combination of resin and citrus.

Bottom Line:

This is a great beer for people who are just as interested in charitable acts as a beer that’s bursting with hop and citrus flavors.

Green Flash West Coast IPA

Green Flash

ABV: 8.1%

Average Price: $13.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

When it comes to West Coast IPAs, San Diego is the center of the universe. One of the best brewers of this style is Green Flash. Hop fans will enjoy many of ithe brand’s offerings, but it’s hard to top the classic Green Flash West Coast IPA with its five different hop varieties and pleasing mix of tropical fruits, ripe citrus, and floral hops.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find scents of ripe grapefruit, tangerine, pine, and wildflowers. The palate is swirling with caramel, rich malts, lemon zest, and subtly bitter, floral hops. The finish is filled with crisp, tart lime and orange notes that are balanced with a nice bitter backbone.

Bottom Line:

You can’t go wrong with a West Coast IPA that’s literally called West Coast IPA that also comes from one of the most well-known breweries on the whole West Coast.

Firestone Walker Union Jack

Firestone Walker

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

There are few beers more important to the history of the West Coast IPA than Firestone Walker Union Jack. Named for one of the co-founders of the brewery, this well-balanced brew is filled with Cascade, Centennial, and CTZ hops as well as dry-hopped with Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, Cascade, Chinook, and Amarillo hops.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to nose this IPA and you’ll find aromas of a lush forest of pine trees, wet grass, and ripe pineapple. The palate is filled with tropical fruits, tart grapefruit, lime zest, and resin. It all ends in a nice pairing of bright citrus and bitter hops.

Bottom Line:

If you’re only going to drink one citrus-filled West Coast IPA, make it this OG from California staple Firestone Walker.

Maine Lunch

Maine Beer

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $7.99 for a 16-ounce bottle

The Beer:

There are few beers with as much name recognition as Maine Lunch. The name and the bottle are simple, but the juice inside isn’t. Named for a beloved whale with a fin that appears to have had a bite taken out of it, this West Coast-style IPA from the East Coast is loaded with Amarillo, Simcoe, and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be treated to scents of ripe oranges, zesty lemons, and a nice floral throughline. Take a sip and you’ll find flavors of guava, juicy grapefruit, tangerine, caramel sweetness, and a nice herbal, piney backbone. The finish is a nice mix of sweet citrus and mild bitterness.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to a beer name, we couldn’t think of one more aptly named than Lunch. Who needs a turkey sandwich when you can just enjoy a pint or two of this citrus-filled brew?

Three Weavers Expatriate IPA

Three Weavers

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This West Coast IPA is named Expatriate because, in addition to American hops, it’s brewed with two-row barley and English crystal malt. This 6.9% IPA is popping with El Dorado, Simcoe, and juicy Mosaic hops. The result is clean, crisp, fruity, and perfectly hopped.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of orange peels, ripe mangos, and pine. The first sip is overflowing with juicy pineapple, tart grapefruit, subtle berries, and a nice, steady level of floral, piney hops. The finish bridges the gap between bitter and fruity.

Bottom Line:

The combination of English malts and American hops gives this a bold, rich, caramel flavor that is complemented by the ripe citrus hop flavor.

Stone IPA

Stone

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Like Firestone Walker and Ballast Point, Stone IPA is one of the best examples of the West Coast IPA style available. First released in 1997, it’s crisp, hoppy, filled with citrus flavor, and has a nice hop, bitter bite.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to breathe in the aromas of sweet cereal, rich malts, resin, and orange zest. The palate explodes with lemon juice, tropical fruits, ripe pineapple, and pine. It all ends with a pleasing, subtly bitter finish.

Bottom Line:

Stone IPA has been brewed longer than most of the breweries in this country have even existed. More than twenty years of brewing guarantees a clean, dialed-in brew every time.

Bear Republic Racer 5

Bear Republic

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This award-winning IPA is well-balanced thanks to the addition of wheat, malted barley, crystal malts, and Cascade and Columbus hops. Bear Republic’s flagship brew is refreshing, zesty, and filled with floral, hoppy, and citrus flavors.

Tasting Notes:

Give this beer a nosing and you’ll notice hints of pine trees, resin, ripe oranges, and a floral background. When you sip this beer, you’ll find flavors of juicy tangerine, guava, orange peel, and bitter hops. The finish is dry and citrusy.

Bottom Line:

Bear Republic expertly uses hops in its beers. Racer 5 is probably the cleanest, most crisp, and easily drinkable example of this.

Melvin IPA

Melvin

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $15 for a six-pack

The Beer:

California isn’t the only place crafting high-quality, citrus bomb West Coast IPAs. Wyoming’s Melvin has perfected the style with its award-winning 7.5% IPA. It gets its bold flavor from brewing with Centennial, Citra, and Simcoe hops. But it takes it one step further by dry hopping with all three of the same hops — a fascinating and fruitful move.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of bready malts, ripe grapefruit, orange zest, and plenty of bitter, herbal notes. On the palate, you’re sure to note the trifecta of orange, lemon, and lime as well as sweet malts, subtle caramel, and a palatable bitter finish.

Bottom Line:

If you enjoy West Coast IPAs with dry-hopped flavor, you can’t go wrong with Melvin’s absolute hop bomb. It will probably become your new spring and summer go-to.

Surly Axe Man

Surly

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $18 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

Don’t fear that axe man. Although he should be given the respect he deserves, as he is the Minnesota-based brewery’s most popular beer. This gem is double dry-hopped with Mosaic and Citra hops as well as Golden Promise malts. It was first brewed in a collaboration with Denmark’s Amager Brewery.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is filled with hints of mango, guava, and tangerine thanks to the dry-hopping process. This is followed by pine needles and a nice malt backbone. The flavor profile is dripping with juicy tropical fruits, ripe tangerine, mouth-watering peach, and loads of citrus — all of which lead toward a dry, slightly bitter finish.

Bottom Line:

This is the boldest, baddest IPA on this list. You don’t have to wear a Viking helmet when you drink it, but it would surely improve the experience.

As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

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