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: 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. Enjoy!)
Your mind might not immediately go to Utah when you think of well-made IPAs, but Moab Brewery in Salt Lake City is trying to change that with this simply-titled brew. Citrusy hops and a soft malt base balance this well-executed IPA. Also, the label design is divine!
Aside from the marvelous image of a beaver’s gaping craw, this Belching Beaver offering conjures up dank images of melon, citrus and grapefruit from its blend of Nelson, Galaxy and Citra hops.
While some might scoff at the myriad flavored options Ballast Point has begun rolling out since its purchase by Constellation Brands, our judges are not amongst them. This sturdy Double IPA features all the usual trademarks of a West Coast DIPA but married with an intense and extremely juicy watermelon aroma. The flavor pumps the brakes a bit, and is perfectly balanced between a solid malt profile, dank, sticky hops and a sweet, lip-smacking watermelon flavor. Yum.
The first IPA from the South to medal in the GABF’s hotly-contested American IPA category (winning silver at GABF 2015), Wicked Weed’s Pernicious IPA is a winner in our books too. Grapefruit and pineapple aromas mingle with other tropical fruit and (regional favorite) muscadine flavors to create a complex West Coast IPA… made right here on the East Coast.