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These East Coast-Brewed IPAs Will Make Summer ’21 Extra Hoppy

The craft beer world has no shortage of styles. And while a casual drinker might not recognize the nuances between them, the hardcore heads definitely know the subtle differences. The West Coast IPA is a crisp, dry, citrusy, pucker-inducing, and unabashedly dank hoppy beer with a touch of caramel malts. It was the style that, in many ways, launched the craft beer industry in the 1980s — the Americanized take on the classic English IPA that launched way back in the late 1700s.

The style became so popular that most east coast brewers simply cloned that west coast beer style in the early days (hence, the style’s technical name, “American IPA”). But as time passed east coast brewers branched off into their own method of making IPAs in New England. The NEIPA — or New England IPA — was born. This version holds onto the hops but favors juicy fruits, tropical flavor notes, citrus, and more floral hops over the oily, dank monsters out west. To confuse passive beer drinkers even further, you’re starting to see some brewers call any IPA brewed on the east coast or one brewed mimicking the IPA styles brewed in that region “East Coast IPAs.” But that doesn’t really mean anything style-wise … yet.

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of hazy and juicy NEIPAs or simply well-balanced and dank American IPAs, east coast brewers have something perfect for every palate. To help you quench your summer thirst, we put together a mix of classic American, New England, and English IPAs that represent some of the best east-coast-brewed IPAs available now.

Check them all out below and click on the prices to give them a try yourself.

The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $20 (four-pack, 16-oz. cans)

The Beer:

One of the most beloved beers from the home of Ben and Jerry is The Alchemist Heady Topper. It’s so well-regarded that it has even garnered a perfect 100 ranking from BeerAdvocate. This double IPA is known for its fresh, unfiltered, hop-centric flavor. Its fame derives from its heightened hops that manage to (almost miraculously) maintain a low bitterness factor.

Tasting Notes:

You’ll be greeted with fresh-cut grass, mango, pineapple, orange peels, and a good deal of caramel malts. The flavor mirrors the aroma, with notes of tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple, sweet malts, and a nice kick of resinous pine at the end. There’s very little bitterness for the massive hop flavor.

Bottom Line:

People have taken pilgrimages to Vermont just to get it. We can safely say that it’s absolutely worth the trip. Though, this beer, in particular, is becoming a bit easier to find in specialty shops nationwide these days.

Whalers East Coast IPA

Whalers Brewing

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $12 (six-pack)

The Beer:

When it comes to New England craft beer, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine are leading the charge with multiple famous breweries in each state. Rhodes Island doesn’t have the same name recognition but it probably should. Whalers Brewing Company’s flagship beer is its caramel-colored, well-balanced throwback American IPA filled with caramel malts and floral hops.

Tasting Notes:

This is a highly drinkable summer beer. On the nose, you’ll find candied orange peels, lemon zest, and a nice hit of sweet malts. Taking a sip reveals pine resin, fresh-cut grass, tangerines, citrus peels, and a caramel malt backbone. The finish is a great combination of citrus and malts with very little bitterness.

Bottom Line:

If you’re tired of bitter, one-dimensional IPAs (or you simply want to take a break), grab a sixer of Whalers East Coast IPA and enjoy the balance of floral/citrus hops and caramel malts.

Trillium Double Dry Hopped Congress Street

Trillium

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $11 (750ml bottle)

The Beer:

Boston is well-known for its beer prowess. After all, it is the home of The Boston Beer Company (makers of Samuel Adams). Many drinkers believe the best brewery in the city is Trillium. Congress Street is the brewery’s flagship beer that’s double dry-hopped with Australian Galaxy hops.

Tasting Notes:

This is a bold, fragrant beer with scents of guava, ripe peach, pineapple, sweet malts, and a field of pine trees on the nose. The palate is swirling with mango, tangerine, pineapple, grapefruit, resin, and just a hint of bitter hops at the very end. All in all, this is a juicy, sweet beer that’s perfect for a hot summer’s day.

Bottom Line:

Instead of tasting like a bitter hop bomb, drinking this beer is like sipping on a cocktail of fresh tropical and citrus juices with just a hint of hops added for extra flavor.

Brooklyn East IPA

Brooklyn

Style: English IPA

ABV: 6.9%

Average Price: $27 (12-pack)

The Beer:

Well before the craft beer world exploded, Brooklyn was making high-quality, award-winning beers. One of its best is its East IPA. This beer was created to make a beer that would appeal to both British and American beer drinkers. Instead of being filled with bitter hops, it’s well-balanced with floral hops and sweet caramel/vanilla malts.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a good deal of earthiness, lemon zest, and subtle piney hops next to a strong biscuit-like aroma along with sweet caramel maltiness. The flavor is mellow, sweet, and filled with notes of tangerines, grapefruit, subtle herbs, caramel malts, and just a hint of bitter, floral hops presence.

Bottom Line:

This is a flavorful, crushable summery beer that you’ll go back to again and again all season long. It’s well-balanced and well-suited for an afternoon of yard games.

Maine Lunch

Maine Beer

Style: American IPA

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $8 (16-oz. bottle)

The Beer:

Named for a whale that’s been seen off the coast of Maine since 1982, this hazy, juicy beer is brewed with 2-Row, Carapils, Caramel, 40L, and Munich 10L malts and red wheat that’s then hopped with Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe hops. The result is a complex beer that balances hops and malts perfectly.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is swirling with aromas of grapefruit, peaches, tangerines, mint, and pine resin. On the palate, you’ll find notes of mango, pineapple, lemon zest, spruce tips, and a lot of biscuity, caramel malt sweetness to even everything out. It all ends with a nice combination of slight bitterness and fresh, juicy fruit.

Bottom Line:

All those flavors really feel like lunch in a pint glass. But at seven percent ABV, you probably should pair this gem with some food, too.

Bissell Brothers The Substance

Bissell Brothers

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 6.6%

Average Price: $19 (four-pack, 16-oz. cans)

The Beer:

Another Maine staple, Bissell Brothers does nothing but make outstanding beer. Its flagship brew is The Substance, an IPA brewed with Maine-grown 2-row malt, oats, and wheat as well as Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, Apollo, Chinook, and Simcoe hops. The result is a hazy, dank, juicy, well-balanced IPA.

Tasting Notes:

Breathe in the scents of fresh-cut grass, earthy notes, pine needles, mango, pineapple, and a nice hint of caramel malts. The flavor is filled with fresh fruit flavors like guava, grapefruit, orange peels, juicy watermelon, and more resinous pine. It’s all tempered with sweet, biscuity malts.

Bottom Line:

This a great example of New England IPA. It’s juicy, hazy, but has a great complimentary hit of sweet malts.

Tree House Julius

Tree House

Style: New England IPA

ABV: 6.8%

Average Price: $5.50 (16-oz. can)

The Beer:

One of the most beloved New England IPAs on the market is Tree House Julius. It’s juicy, hazy, and filled with citrusy and floral hops. But, like many of the IPAs on this list, it’s not just a bitter hop bomb. It’s well-rounded, balanced, and filled with aromatic and flavorful hops, but none of the bitterness you’d expect.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a good deal of fruit on the nose with this one. Guava, mango, passion fruit, and pineapple take center stage. Pine needles find their way in at the end. The palate is filled with hints of guava, fresh pineapple, ripe peaches, slightly bitter hops, and pleasing malt sweetness to round it all out.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason Tree House Julius is one of the most popular New England-style IPAs ever made. It’s fresh bright and filled with juicy, fruity flavors.

Other Half Double Dry Hopped Green City

Other Half

Style: American IPA

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $25 (four-pack, 16-oz. cans)

The Beer:

Other Half is so popular that the Brooklyn-based brewery now has off-shoots in the Finger Lakes region of New York and Washington D.C., as well as various pop-ups. It’s well-known for its innovative, hoppy beers. One of its best is Green City, a hazy American IPA brewed with oats and Simcoe, Citra, and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes:

Orange peels, citrus zest, mangos, cantaloupe, and a nice, piney hops presence all make an appearance on the nose. Take a sip and you’ll be greeted with caramel malts, wet grass, tangerines, ripe pineapples, and just a hint of resinous pine at the very end. All in all, one of the best examples of any IPA you’ll ever find.

Bottom Line:

This beer has everything an IPA fan could want. It’s easy to drink, hazy, juicy, and filled with citrus and piney hops flavors. Truly, it’s hard to top this beer.

Editor’s Pick: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head

Style: American IPA

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $12 (six-pack)

The Beer:

This beer from Dogfish Head is revelatory. The process behind the boil is that hops are added continuously for 60 minutes. The brewers out in Delaware bring in an abundance of hops from the Pacific Northwest to give this east coast brew a distinctly West Coast, classic craft brew vibe that really amps up those dank hops.

Tasting Notes:

The beer invites you in with a mix of orange oils, pine resin, and roasted caramel maltiness. The taste of this one delivers on those promises while folding in summer wildflower hoppiness next to canned brown bread maltiness and a thick layer of pine sap. All of that sounds heavy yet the beer remains dry, effervescent, and very crushable on a hot day.

Bottom Line:

Some would argue (including me) that this is where Dogfish Head hit the motherlode. This beer is perfectly balanced, innovative, familiar, and just really drinkable. Even if you’re not into the dank and overly bittered classic craft IPAs, you might still dig this thanks to all that maltiness and balance in every sip.


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