Although IPAs have taken the United States beer industry by storm, this iconic beer was dreamed up across the pond in Great Britain. IPAs were born out of necessity; essentially, the British sailors realized that hoppier beers kept better than maltier ones; and thus, they created IPAs.
IPAs are an acquired taste. Although beer snobs tend to think that hoppier is better, others feel that too many hops lend a grapefruity or bitter taste to the beer.
If you’re all about the big and bold hoppy IPAs, this list of the nine best IPA beers is for you. Cheers!
If there’s one thing that Sierra Nevada does well, it’s creating beautifully appointed, balanced beers. Their Pale Ale is a superb example of a great IPA, but “Hazy Little Thing” really takes the hop cake.
Todays’ beer culture skews heavily towards “the hoppier, the better,” and Hazy Little Thing fits the bill and more. It’s a New England-Style IPA that’s had a loyal following since Sierra Nevada first rolled it out in October of 2019.
This flavorful beer gets its punch from citrus, which balances out the natural firm bitterness of an IPA with fresh fruity flavors. The secret is in the combination of hops, including El Dorado and Citra.
It’s a solidly drinkable beer, perfect for a summer afternoon hanging out with friends. Thanks to Sierra Nevada’s reach, you can find it virtually anywhere!
Milkshake IPAs take your traditional IPA formula and add one key ingredient; lactose. Hubbard’s Cave “Milk of the Murder Hornet” is a superb example of this style of beer and one that will take you right back to your childhood.
Milk of the Murder Hornet is strawberry-forward and kind of tastes like Neapolitan ice cream. It’s a grown-up riff on a childhood classic, and we here are for it 100 percent.
Milkshake IPAs like Milk of the Murder Hornet cut back on the bitterness that you get with traditional IPAs by supplementing them with plenty of fruit and more than just a hint of sweetness.
Sip on this IPA, and you will get heavy notes of summery strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and a light cherry finish. It’s a medium-bodied, golden beer that goes down easy.
Unfortunately, Hubbard’s Cave doesn’t have a vast distribution, so make sure to pick up this beer if you find yourself in the American South.
This legacy brewer certainly deserves more than one spot on our list. However, they hit the mark with “Hoptimum,” an incredibly hoppy beer that expertly walks the line between being super hoppy and too aggressive.
You won’t be overwhelmed by the hops in Hoptimum, but you will undoubtedly know that they’re there. It packs a punch with its ABV as well, clocking in at 10.4 percent. Hoptimum is one beer that can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.
Hoptimum is known as a triple-IPA, and it has seven distinct varieties of hops. In addition to hoppy flavor, you’ll find tropical notes like juicy pineapple and mandarin.
It’s an incredibly well-balanced beer that’s both refreshing and satisfying. Even discerning beer palates will have a hard time finding any fault with Hoptimum.
Want a drinkable IPA that tastes a bit like a summer ale? Then, it’s time to reach for Goose Island’s “IPA.”
Goose Island Brewery is a Chicago legend that is well known for producing solidly balanced, good beers. Their IPA is an inspired blend that balances hops and malts expertly for a summery drink that pairs perfectly with baseball games or barbecues.
Goose Island’s IPA is fruitier and takes a light hand with the malt. More malt gives it a distinct IPA flavor without any lingering hit of bitterness that so many people take issue with.
This beer is so good that it’s won six medals at the Great American Beer Festival. If you have a friend who swears they can’t stand hoppy beers, treat them to a pint of this golden goodness.
When you think of IPAs, you probably think of golden-colored beers that have that signature citrusy crisp bitterness. Mother Earth’s “Hoppy Red IPA” turns that assumption on its head with this vibrant offering that looks almost scarlet in the glass.
Hoppy Red IPA’s distinct color is just the beginning of this beer’s surprises. It’s crisp, dry, and has a remarkably low-key mellow bitterness that renders it palatable to even people who don’t usually like IPAs.
You’ll get tons of floral notes with this craft beer, as well as a touch of sweetness and pine. It’s an unexpected combination that makes it the perfect transitional beer between summer and fall.
Hoppy Red IPA’s presentation is impressive, with a clear, sharp red color and a prominent head. You’ll immediately get the aromatic notes of flowers and pine, as well as some fruity sweetness.
Many beer enthusiasts think that Russian River’s “Pliny the Elder” is the gold standard of IPAs, and it’s very easy to understand why. This double IPA has been around for decades and has amassed a very loyal following.
While some IPAs are flashes-in-the-pan or experimental beverages rolled out by breweries, Pliny the Elder has stood the test of time. This robust beer is heavy on pine and citrus notes and doesn’t shy away from bitterness like so many other brews do.
It’s also superbly balanced, with plenty of malt, hops, and aromatics. Russian River suggests that you enjoy your brew fresh, so don’t leave bottles of Pliny the Elder lingering around for a rainy day.
Crack one open and enjoy it now! Since this is such a wildly popular beer, you might not be able to get your hands on another one for a while.
As the name suggests, this is one premiere IPA! Interboro’s “Premiere IPA” prides itself on being a clean, delicious beer that doesn’t waver from traditional East Coast-style tradition.
It’s a beautiful drink, with a little bit of a hazy look to it and a generous head. Full of Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic hops, this beer has layers without being overly complicated. Like some of the other beers on our list, it’s a good IPA for people who swear they can’t stand that beer style.
Sip on a Premiere IPA, and you’ll get a strong dose of citrus and melon. It’s a pleasant, familiar combination that makes this beer perfect for an afternoon of chilling out with friends.
Also, Premiere IPA has a lower alcohol content than many other IPAs. It’s only 6 percent, so you don’t have to worry about getting too loopy on a single pint.
This beer is the Holy Grail of IPAs. Dogfish Head’s “90 Minute IPA” takes the same formula for their 30 minute and 60-minute IPAs and adds a whole bunch of extra hops during the brewing process for an additional amount of time.
Through actively adding more hops over an hour and a half, Dogfish Head ensures that their 90 Minute IPA is as citrusy, hoppy, and juicy as possible. At 9 percent alcohol by volume, 90 Minute IPA is no slouch, but you can easily enjoy one or two of these on a summer day.
Sip on 90 Minute IPA, and you’re bound to find a lot of citrus flavors, as well as pine, resin, and herbs. It’s a beautiful, delicate balance that stands up to just about any other beer on the market.
If the 90 Minute IPA is a bit too hoppy for you, you can always check out their lighter versions. However, if you find yourself hooked on the hops, remember to stock up as this beer always goes fast.
Port Brewing’s “Wipeout IPA” is a solidly good beer that holds fast to its American IPA roots. American IPAs or APAs tend to be maltier and lighter than IPAs.
APA is a style that not a lot of brewers are embracing these days. Instead, many move further in the IPA direction, loading up their offerings with hops and making them as bold and juicy as possible.
Port Brewing’s adherence to tradition and their desire to make a solidly good beer makes Wipeout IPA a clean, crisp offering that is not too hop-forward. It’s a good beer for people who swear that they don’t really like IPAs.
Even though Wipeout IPA is a great, drinkable beer, it still has those heavy citrusy notes that make IPAs so delicious. It just happens to be a whole heck of a lot more subtle about them.
This restrained, understated nod to IPA tradition in a uniquely American style certainly deserves a place in your refrigerator this year.