As a passionate fan of delicious craft brews, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for a hoppy, sudsy American-style IPA. There’s just something that lingers about the tickle of a beer that’s turbo-charged with hops on the back of the palate. It’s a beautiful flavor burn.
Today is IPA Day. In celebration of India Pale Ales, I decided to rank 10 of my favorite IPAs that every Bro should try. I don’t take my beer drinking very seriously (“tastes good, goes down easy… I’ll have another!”), so my reviews are far from an expert taste analysis. Rather, I wrote about how these suds have been integrated into my day-to-day life. At the end of the day, isn’t good beer all about the experience?
My half-assed review of 10 IPAs you need to try before you die below. Add yours in the comments.
Heady Topper – The Alchemist, Vermont
The Golden Goose of all IPAs for beer snobs on the East Coast. It’s made in an extremely small, limited edition batch, so it’s super tough to find. I think people camp out for it when the brewery starts sell it? That’s what I heard, at least. The market demand in the Northeast for Heady Toppers is nuts; I paid $10 for a can in parking lot of a Phish show. I was taken back by the price expecting a usual 2-for-$5, but the dude put me in my place telling me “it’s worth every penny” and “other people will pay that price, so you should too.” I handed him a 10.
He was right: Heady Topper is the Dom Perignon of IPAs. I think it tastes best when celebrating something and, for me, usually that’s being at a Phish show since it’s the only damn place I can ever get it.
HopDevil IPA – Victory Brewing Company, Pennsylvania
In college my roommates and I got snowed in with this beer. We played a lot of Mario Kart, as I recall, before passing out at like 8pm out of lethargy/boredom. It was a good day and I’ve been in love with it every since. It has a little bit of a bite like a West Coast IPA with a bit of carmel.
60 Minute IPA – Dogfish Head, Delaware
Don’t get me wrong: Dogfish 90 Minute IPA is delicious and packs a hell of a punch at 9% ABV, but 60 Minute does the trick just nicely as well. Plus, who the hell buys four-packs of beers? Snobs, that’s who. The 60 Minute was one of the first IPAs I’ve ever tried, meaning that every IPA I’ve had since has had to measure up to it.
Two Hearted Ale – Bell’s Brewery, Michigan
I picked up a sixer of this at the grocery store on my block because of the fishing illustration. The beer itself was sharp and bitter, just how I like it. Staring at that fish on the label made me really miss fishing.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo – Sierra Nevada, California
It always surprises me how sweet this IPA is. It stands out because there’s a strong hint of rich molasses buried in those hops. As of last year six bangers of it became very widely available all over NYC, so I assume it’s just as widely available elsewhere. Don’t miss it.
Snake Dog IPA – Flying Dog, Maryland
Flying Dog makes it in a bottle, but the real experience is slamming these bad boys in a can. That’s what I recently did at an art gallery party for Ralph Steadman (the illustrator who designs all the Flying Dog packaging) here in NYC a few months back. It has a SERIOUS bite to it that’s super bitter.
Kelso IPA – Kelso Brewing, Brooklyn
The only beer I drink when I go see live music at Brooklyn Bowl. One of the smoothest IPAs you can get your hands on.
Racer 5 IPA – Bear Republic Brewing Company, California
Very crisp and refreshing tasting. Widely distributed enough for Duane Reade to carry it here in NYC.
Lagunitas IPA – Lagunitas, California
California loves its damn IPAs. Lagunitas is always a safe go-to because it’s not nearly as harsh as it’s San Deigo IPA rival, Stone. I wish I could enjoy Stones as much as you Pacific Beach Bros do, but holy shit that stuff is skunky. Widely distributed nationally, Lagunitas is my go-to happy hour beer; it’s light an refreshing (as far as IPAs are concerned) and has a nice citrus aftertaste.
Nugget Nectar – Troegs Brewing Company, Pennsylvania
Nectar of the gods. Probably because it’s not *technically* an IPA, but more a super hoppy Imperial Amber. I first had it on draft at Zenos in State College with raw hops thrown in to make it even hoppy-er. My brother and I get a case to drink over the holidays when we’re back in PA, because who doesn’t need a beer after all that family time.
Tell me about your favorite IPAs in the comments, or just Tweet me about it.