Sure, today might be National IPA Day, but we celebrate this beer category 365 days per year. Even as hop bombs have fallen out of favor (about time!), hazy, fruity New England IPAs have surged (also about time!). Much of the reason we can sip an IPA every day is that it’s comprised of so many different varieties. We’re talking about way more than just the bitter, pine tree flavored brews some people think of when they imagine the style.
While there are other options out there (English IPA, Black IPA, etc.), for today’s purposes, we’re going to take a look at six different IPA varieties that offer an intro course on the category. These include the classic West Coast IPA, the East Coast IPA, Double IPA, Triple IPA, Session IPA, and the Uproxx-beloved New England-Style IPA. For each entry, we’ll give you an example of a great beer to try today as well as a few other choices for your future bottle hunting.
Firestone Walker Union Jack (West Coast IPA)
If you want to sip on the pinnacle of West Coast IPAs, you can’t find a much better (readily available) beer than Firestone Walker Union Jack. This 7 percent IPA is not only one of the best West Coast IPAs on the market, it’s also one of the first. Named for co-founder David Walker, the “British Lion” that adorns the brewery’s bottles and cans, this is the perfect pint to start National IPA Day right.
This beer is so well-balanced, sipping it will instantly help you erase the stigma of over-hopped, bitter West Coast brews. But we’re not saying this beer isn’t full of hops. It starts with CTZ, Cascade, and Centennial before dry hopping with Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo, and Chinook. But it never feels over-hopped.
The result is a complex beer with hints of tropical fruits, subtle pine resin, citrus, all with a subtle malt backbone.
Also Try These: Ballast Point Sculpin, Green Flash Palate Wrecker, Stone IPA
Dogfish Head 60 Minute (East Coast IPA)
If you’ve never tried Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, what on earth are you waiting for? Brewed since 2003, this unique beer is made by continually boiling Chinook, Warrior, Summit, and Amarillo hops for (you guessed it) 60 minutes. With all those hops and the intense hop flavor, you might assume this beer is 12 percent ABV. Surprisingly, it’s only six percent ABV and highly sessionable.
The result of the continuous hopping is evident on the first sip. But this process doesn’t make this beer overly bitter. It remains floral, well-balanced, and full of vegetal hop flavors, juicy grapefruit, and subtle pine.
Also Try These: Alchemist Focal Banger, Maine Beer Lunch, Trillium Congress Street
Cigar City Florida Man (Double IPA)
‘Florida Man’ is a true legend. He’s the headline grabbing man from the Sunshine State who just as easily could be getting press for wrestling an alligator as he is for buying a Porsche using a check he printed on his home computer (real story). He’s America’s anti-hero and Cigar City paid him the highest compliment by naming a Double IPA in his honor.
They even paid homage to this character by using a “nearly-criminal” amount of hops.
While Florida Man is brewed with a blend of hops including Azacca, Citra, El Dorado, and Mandarin Bavarian, it remains well-rounded because of the addition of peach esters and Canadian honey malt. The result is a slightly hazy beer full of tropical fruit flavors like mangos and pineapples, all melded together with pleasing resinous pine hop flavors.
Also Try These: Bell’s Hopslam, Surly Abrasive, La Cumbre Full Nelson
Other Half All Green Everything (Triple IPA)
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There’s a reason Brooklyn’s (and Bloomfield, New York) Other Half is one of the most highly regarded breweries in the country. If you visit either location, you’ll find new and intriguing, boundary pushing flavors every time you stop by. But one constant is the flagship All Green Everything with its huge hop presence — including Motueka, Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic hops.
This 10.5 percent ABV Triple IPA deserves your respect. It’s just as high in alcohol as it is in flavors. The best part is that it has two different flavor-driven gears. The first is full of tropical fruits like pineapples, guavas, and mangos. Then the beer shifts into a hop-fueled citrus bomb. All in all, one of the best examples of the style to sip on for National IPA Day.
Also Try These: Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, Founders Devil Dancer, Wicked Weed Ménage-a-Freak
Founders All Day IPA (Session IPA)
If you’ve never had a session IPA, you might assume that all IPAs are high in alcohol. Well, the term “session” can only be applied to beers with less than 5 percent ABV. Founders All Day IPA is 4.7 percent ABV and everything you really need to know about it is right there in the name. This is the kind of IPA you can crush all day.
Sometimes low alcohol content means less flavor — we’ve all had our fair share of “light” beers. But just because this beer is low in alcohol, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in taste. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This supremely well-balance brew is clean, fresh, refreshing, and loaded with resinous pine flavor with just the right amount of bitterness at the end.
Also Try These: Lagunitas Daytime, Stone Go To, 21st Amendment Down to Earth.
Sloop Juice Bomb (New England-Style IPA)
If the West Coast IPA is the OG IPA, the New England-Style IPA is the new kid on the block. It’s only been around for a few years, but it’s taken over the beer world like a juicy, hazy storm cloud. Many IPA fans hate the juice-like flavor and appearance of the style, but its acolytes are truly fanatical in their enthusiasm. One of the best examples of the style is Sloop Brewing’s flagship brew Juice Bomb.
If you’re only going to drink one New England-Style IPA to celebrate this holiday, make it a Sloop Juice Bomb with its subtle bitterness and juicy tropical fruit flavors that are all rounded out well with resinous, piney hops at the very end. At 6.5 percent ABV, you’ll likely finish your whole six-pack before you even realize you just fell in love with hazy IPAs.
Also Try These: Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, Two Roads Two Juicy, Tree House Julius