Chris Guest's picture

Top 41 IPAs

In honor of Anchor Liberty Ale's 41st year of production, we take a look at the finest IPAs we've ever reviewed.
Top 41 IPAs

IPAs. All craft beer lovers have an opinion about them, and all craft breweries make one. They’re hopped-up, bitter and delightfully ubiquitous; the staples of the modern craft beer scene.

With so many different options saturating the market, it’s hard not to get a little fatigued with the innumerable options. The style itself is so popular that the Beer Judge Certification Program has splintered the category into a kaleidoscope of colors and descriptors. Instead of just an American IPA, brewers can now make Session IPA, Red IPA, Black IPA, Belgian IPA, Double IPA, etc. You get it. IPAs are everywhere.


Anchor Liberty Ale, the granddaddy of them all.


However, some IPAs are better than others. Sure, you pretty much know what you’re going to get when you crack one open, but chances are you have some personal favorites, as well as some you think are inferior to those favorites.

We too, have our favorites, and they are all represented here in this list. In honor of the 41st year that Anchor Brewing’s Liberty Ale (debatably the first modern American IPA) has been in production, I present to you: the top 41 IPAs The Beer Connoisseur has reviewed!

(Disclaimer #1: I’m sure there are hundreds, perhaps thousands more IPAs out there that we have not reviewed, but for this list, I’ve stuck with ones that we have an actual opinion on.)

(Disclaimer #2: This list does not delineate between American IPA, Double IPA or Specialty IPA since this is a celebration of all IPAs -- hence the title of "Top 41 IPAs" not "Top 41 American IPAs," "Top 41 Double IPAs," or Top 41 Session IPAs." Cheers!)


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#41

95
by Michael Heniff
Hoppyright Infringement
NOLA Brewing Co.

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Featuring one of the best beer names on this entire list, Hoppyright Infringement from NOLA Brewing Co. in New Orleans is a New England-style DIPA that's double dry hopped with Centennial, Equinox, Mosaic and Citra hops.


#40


95
by Randy Scorby
Stone 21st Anniversary: Hail to the Hop Thief
Stone Brewing Co.

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This Double IPA was brewed in honor of Stone Brewing's 21st Anniversary and employs the rarely used Pekko hop varietal. Unfiltered and brewed with wheat malt, this complex DIPA continues Stone's unparalleled IPA brewing tradition.


#39


95
by John C. Tull
Greenhouse IPA
Hops and Grain Brewery

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#38

95
by Pete Garofalo

Hopothermia
Alaskan Brewing Co.

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#37

95
by Joseph Formanek
3rd Anniversary Ale
Roughtail Brewing Company

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A delightful hop bomb brewed with an immense hop bill of Citra, Galaxy and El Dorado varietals, this yummy DIPA was brewed to celebrate Roughtail Brewing Co.'s 3rd Anniversary out of Oklahoma City.


#36

95
by Sal Mortillaro II
Reviver Red IPA
Starr Hill Brewery

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Virginia's Starr Hill Brewery knocked it out of the park with this rare Red IPA that exemplifies the style in almost every way, with a strong malt bill intertwining with a hefty dosage of hops.


#35

95
by Tracy Hensley
Suicide Squeeze IPA
Fort George Brewery

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#34

95
by Owen Ogletree

Hop Hunter IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada is known for heavily-hopped creations, and Hop Hunter IPA, which debuted in 2015, is no exception. The first beer to be brewed with distilled hop oils, Hop Hunter is a massive rush of dank and juicy tropical hop aromas and flavors. I’ll always be cravin’ this hunter.
 


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#33

95
by Nelson Crowle

DirtWolf
Victory Brewing Co.

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Unassuming name, powerhouse beverage: Victory's DirtWolf Double IPA has been a stalwart of the style since its inception in 2013. A howlingly impressive hop profile headlined by Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra, this Wolf is here to stay.


#32

95
by Nelson Crowle

Grapefruit Sculpin
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

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Fruited IPAs have become something of a trend, and this is one of the best. The nose emits astonishingly spot-on fruit aromas, and the flavor follows suit – the base IPA and grapefruit flavors intermingle gorgeously.


#31

95
by Randy Scorby

MoonJuice IPA
SanTan Brewing Co.

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#30

95
by Nelson Crowle
Apex
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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#29

95
by Richard Wong

Mad Hatter
New Holland Brewing Co.

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The beer is as stellar as the name, with light yet highly aromatic citrus and peach notes, born of the Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin hopping. The malt base is equally light while remaining firm enough to provide a fine platform with which to fully savor the bounty of some of the year’s biggest hop stars.


#28

95
by Sal Mortillaro II
Luau Krunkles
Terrapin Beer Co.

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This tropical breeze in a can comes courtesy of Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Georgia and is infused with a heaping helping of passion fruit, guava and orange. A delightful fruited IPA.
 


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#27

95
by Michael Heniff
Decadent Imperial IPA
Ska Brewing Co.

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#26

95
by Rodney A. Tillinghast

Captain’s Daughter
Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island

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Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, makes one of the biggest Double IPAs around. Grey Sail Brewing’s Captain’s Daughter is a terrific canned DIPA with a nose full of lemon, papaya and pine. Light grassiness in the flavor along with dense, hop-derived dankness make this a standout DIPA that’s worth walking the plank for.
 


#25

95
by Phil Farrell

Hop Drop N Roll
NoDa Brewing Co.

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Piney with a hint of hay and grass aroma, this perfectly resinous IPA balances mild, clean malt with grapefruit and melon. Crisp and refreshing for its 7.2 percent.
 


#24

95
by Phil Farrell

Whiter Shade of Pale
Starr Hill Brewery

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#23
 

95
by Dan Preston
Alter Ego
Tree House Brewing Co.

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The first of two Tree House Brewing IPAs to make this list, Alter Ego's sumptuous blend of Mosaic and Amarillo hops makes for a massive punch of citrus in this hazy, New England-style IPA.


#22

95
by BC Review

All Day IPA
Founders Brewing Co.

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Just as the name indicates, this beer strikes a perfect balance between flavor and drinkability. A true Session IPA in the sense that it does not sacrifice flavor for lower ABV.
 


#21

96
by BC Review

Hop Stoopid
Lagunitas Brewing Co.

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Described as a “hop minefield,” this 102 IBU hop bomb is tempered with a subtle balance of sweet, light malts that allow the hops to shine without completely blinding you. And the head is incredibly billowy.


#20

96
by Phil Farrell

Extended Play
Lakefront Brewery

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#19

96
by Nelson Crowle

Habanero Sculpin
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

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#18

96
by Josh Weikert

Blast!
Brooklyn Brewery

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#17

96
by Tracy Hensley
Big Guns
Fort George Brewery

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As the highest-rated Session IPA on this list, Fort George Brewery's Big Guns sports a blend of Nugget, Meridian and Mosaic hops with a miniscule 4.2 percent alcohol content -- perfect for beachfront or poolside imbibing.


#16

96
by Phil Farrell

Two Hearted Ale
Bell's Brewery

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Crisp, clean, biscuity, and checking the entire spectrum of hop flavors, this gem is a gateway IPA any connoisseur can be proud of drinking. And as Bell’s most widely-available offering, it’s almost guaranteed to be super fresh.
 


#15

96
by Randy Scorby

Moirai India Pale Ale
Fate Brewing Co.

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#14

96
by Phil Farrell

Cali-Belgique
Stone Brewing Co.

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#13
 

96
by Nelson Crowle
Mach 10
Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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#12

96
by Tracy Hensley

Duet
Alpine Beer Co.

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Duet is a reference to the “harmonious” balance of Simcoe and Amarillo hops present in the beer, which provide top-shelf aroma with only mild bitterness. Structured beautifully, with a slight creaminess and a hint of alcohol heat, it is the embodiment of a West Coast IPA.
 


#11

96
by Joseph Formanek

Unsessionable
Revolution Brewing

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#10

96
by Phil Farrell

Tropicália
Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

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The juiciest IPA to ever come out of Georgia, Tropicália has been reaping plaudits from anyone and everyone that has tried it since its debut in cans in early 2015 – including our expert judges. An abundance of tropical fruit flavors (guava, mango, orange) couple with a toasty malt backbone with hints of caramel to create a lush, nuanced and well-balanced IPA.
 


#9

96
by BC Review

Modus Hoperandi
Ska Brewing Co.

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#8

96
by Jason Johnson

Todd the Axe Man
Surly Brewing Co.

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While 3 Floyds Brewing tends to rock some of the most “metal” beers around, Surly’s Todd the Axe Man is a one-man show of an IPA. Featuring maximal flavor from minimal ingredients, Axe Man only requires Citra and Mosaic hops and Golden Promise malt to provide an IPA rock opera for the ages.
 


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#7

96
by Mike Castagno
Rare Trait
Cerebral Brewing

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This New-England Style IPA showcases all the striking haziness and immense hop quotient that one would expect of the style, as Azacca, El Dorado, Mosaic, Citra and Columbus hops express the finest hop aromas and flavors imaginable. A delightful Denver favorite.


#6

96
by Joseph Formanek

Hopslam
Bell's Brewery

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Generally regarded as one of the finest DIPAs in the land, our expert judges mostly agreed with that assessment. A pungent, thunderous hop character assails the nostrils, but is tempered by a soft, creamy mouthfeel courtesy of the honey used during the brewing process.


#5

97
by BC Review

Sculpin
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

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You thought Sculpin would only make our list twice? Think again! An all-time classic beer, Sculpin practically wrote the book on resinous, tropical West Coast-style IPAs. It is still a benchmark beer for any brewery that makes IPAs (i.e. any brewery anywhere) or any person who calls themselves an IPA connoisseur.
 


#4

97
by Pat Mulloy
The Partner Ships Series: Stone Brewing Co.
Heavy Seas Beer

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A fascinating style combination from two heavy hitters in the craft beer sphere, this Imperial Brown IPA brewed with blackstrap molasses is a sticky, sweet IPA delight of the highest degree.


#3

97
by Rick Franckhauser
Santilli
Night Shift Brewing

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A better example of an American IPA is almost impossible to find: Night Shift Brewing's Santilli continues to expand the New England Style IPA into the collective craft beer consciousness. Bright and fresh in flavor and slightly hazy and golden in appearance, this is a stunning example of the evolution that the American IPA style has undergone in recent years.


#2

98
by Phil Farrell

Wookey Jack
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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As our highest-rated Specialty IPA, the pine is strong with Wookey Jack – in the best way possible. This Double Black Rye IPA sets a delightfully complex, smoky-sweet malt base tempered by sharp Pacific Northwest hops, making for a journey as unique and mysterious as the Wookey itself.


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#1

99
by Dan Preston
King JJJuliusss
Tree House Brewing Co.

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A transcendent example of a supremely limited release living up to sky-high expectations, this Double IPA from Tree House Brewing Co. in Monson, Massachusetts is a white wale of the highest degree. An orgy of passion fruit, mango, orange, citrus fruit and pineapple aromas and flavors greets any craft drinker lucky enough to get his or her hands on this extremely rare release. As the highest-rated IPA in The Beer Connoisseur's history, King JJJuliuss stakes its claim to the history books with a near-perfect score of 99.


Check out all of our other IPA reviews, and share this article with the button at the top of the page. Cheers!

Comments

pmwarner's picture
Okay is this an IPA review or an IPA, session IPA, and double IPA review? I would not rate all these together as they are all different categories of beer. If you are going to include all of them there are a lot others out there that should be on this list. Beachwood Amalgamator should be number one or at least on the list. Along with heady topper, treehouse, pipeworks, pliny which are all some of the most sought after beers and better than most on the list. Modus Hoperandi has to be one of the worst beers I have ever had in my life and a disgrace to an IPA. This list no credibility to me.
Sparky702's picture
Ok so i just have to say i know this is all personal preference and individual taste but....if you guys put sculpin ballast point that's become an everyday over the counter not that great sold out beer over victory dirt wolf...YOU'RE FRIGGIN CRAZY HAHAHAHAHA
Sparky702's picture
Hahaha yeah second that other guy to pmwarner i was thinking the same thing...yall might as well have put blue moon white ipa in there at the top hahahahaha
Sparky702's picture
Don't take me wrong I'm not trying to be mean at all its all opinion and i do respect everyone's opinion just thought I'd throw mine in there all in good fun
edbeglau's picture
Some very fine beers in this list but missing some of the very best IPAs in the world. Neither Pliny the Elder nor Pliny the Younger on your top 10 nor top 20 nor top 30 - these are not even on your list. Really? And what about IPAs from The Alchemist, AleSmith and Trillium? Oh my. Jesus wept.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hello enthusiastic and opinionated readers! We recommend you read the introductory paragraphs in this article. This list was populated in 2016. It includes only the top rated IPA's that have been reviewed by our Judges Panel in our single-blind review. Our Official Review is a highly controlled process to protect the integrity of the single-blind format. Therefore we have not reviewed many IPA's that, yes, could possibly have made the list at the time. There are a number of reasons why these IPA's have not yet been reviewed. 1. We have limited space in our review each month. (do the amount of work involved producing single-blind reviews) 2. The brewers of these absent IPA's haven't submitted their beer to our review yet. Help The Beer Connoisseur by contacting these brewers via social media or email and let them know you would like to see us review their beer. Hope this helps clarify and thx for reading. Cheers! BC
chickman's picture
Wookey Jack at #1??? I don't get it as that beer isn't even in production anymore. No mention of Other Half, Tree House, Equilibrium, Trillium, Magnify, Tired Hands, Sand City, Russian River, Aslin....no Vermont IPA's either. This is a very questionable list in my opinion. Stone Enjoy By series ranks above most of these as well. Anyway, to each his own.

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Comments

pmwarner's picture
Okay is this an IPA review or an IPA, session IPA, and double IPA review? I would not rate all these together as they are all different categories of beer. If you are going to include all of them there are a lot others out there that should be on this list. Beachwood Amalgamator should be number one or at least on the list. Along with heady topper, treehouse, pipeworks, pliny which are all some of the most sought after beers and better than most on the list. Modus Hoperandi has to be one of the worst beers I have ever had in my life and a disgrace to an IPA. This list no credibility to me.
Sparky702's picture
Ok so i just have to say i know this is all personal preference and individual taste but....if you guys put sculpin ballast point that's become an everyday over the counter not that great sold out beer over victory dirt wolf...YOU'RE FRIGGIN CRAZY HAHAHAHAHA
Sparky702's picture
Hahaha yeah second that other guy to pmwarner i was thinking the same thing...yall might as well have put blue moon white ipa in there at the top hahahahaha
Sparky702's picture
Don't take me wrong I'm not trying to be mean at all its all opinion and i do respect everyone's opinion just thought I'd throw mine in there all in good fun
edbeglau's picture
Some very fine beers in this list but missing some of the very best IPAs in the world. Neither Pliny the Elder nor Pliny the Younger on your top 10 nor top 20 nor top 30 - these are not even on your list. Really? And what about IPAs from The Alchemist, AleSmith and Trillium? Oh my. Jesus wept.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hello enthusiastic and opinionated readers! We recommend you read the introductory paragraphs in this article. This list was populated in 2016. It includes only the top rated IPA's that have been reviewed by our Judges Panel in our single-blind review. Our Official Review is a highly controlled process to protect the integrity of the single-blind format. Therefore we have not reviewed many IPA's that, yes, could possibly have made the list at the time. There are a number of reasons why these IPA's have not yet been reviewed. 1. We have limited space in our review each month. (do the amount of work involved producing single-blind reviews) 2. The brewers of these absent IPA's haven't submitted their beer to our review yet. Help The Beer Connoisseur by contacting these brewers via social media or email and let them know you would like to see us review their beer. Hope this helps clarify and thx for reading. Cheers! BC
chickman's picture
Wookey Jack at #1??? I don't get it as that beer isn't even in production anymore. No mention of Other Half, Tree House, Equilibrium, Trillium, Magnify, Tired Hands, Sand City, Russian River, Aslin....no Vermont IPA's either. This is a very questionable list in my opinion. Stone Enjoy By series ranks above most of these as well. Anyway, to each his own.

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