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.

 

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!)


41. Hop Henge Deschutes Brewery
Expert Review

40. Hop Head Red (retired) Green Flash Brewing Co.
As much as we loved this beer, it was retired late last year. Try some of Green Flash’s other terrific IPAs instead!

39. Libertine Black Ale – BrewDog
Expert Review

38. HopArt Coast Brewing Co.
Expert Review

37. Johnny’s American IPA – Moab Brewery

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!

Expert Review

36. The Rainmaker Green Man Brewery
Expert Review

35. Hop Highway IPA Belching Beaver Brewing Co.

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.

Expert Review

34. Tropical & Juicy The Hop Concept
Expert Review

33. Ethos IPA (retired) Tallgrass Brewing Co.
As much as we loved this beer, it was retired earlier this year. Try Tallgrass’s newest American IPA offering instead!

32. Racer X Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Expert Review

31. Watermelon Dorado Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits

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.

Expert Review

30. Pernicious IPA Wicked Weed Brewing

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.

Expert Review

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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

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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

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