Dig into the forums of sites like BeerAdvocate and it won’t take long to find names like Tree House, Trillium, Other Half, Bissell Brothers, The Veil, Civil Society, Monkish, Moonraker — breweries that many diehard beer fans consider to be the gatekeepers of the modern American IPA. In the last year, I’ve gone out of my way to try beers from all of these breweries and I can tell you without pause that the hype is real. All of them make delicious and memorable beers I hope to try again, and soon.
I’m also going to go out on a limb here and guess that most people reading this don’t have regular access to those beers; have time to wait in hours-long lines on release days; or want to trade cans of beer like Pokémon cards — added cost aside, it’s technically illegal to ship beer in the mail without a permit. And even if you do, there are probably still nights where you just want a nice beer without having to think too hard about it. In other words, something tasty, reliable and easy to find. Nothing wrong with that. Here are nine delicious IPAs, both big and small, that fit the bill.
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger
Founded in 1991, New Belgium is the fourth largest craft brewery in the United States, distributing to 45 states as well as Sweden. While most known for its amber ale Fat Tire, Voodoo Ranger (launched earlier this year) is an excellent, clean-tasting IPA, hopped with Mosaic and Amarillo hops (among Nugget, Cascade, Simcoe and Chinook).
Brewery Location: Fort Collins, CO
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Torpedo Extra IPA gets its name from a dry-hopping device Sierra Nevada invented in 2009 called the Hop Torpedo, which essentially circulates beer with hops in a way that imparts flavor without bitterness. The beer itself, hopped with Magnum, Crystal and Citra varietals, is darker than most IPAs with notes of pine and citrus.
Brewery Location: Chico, CA
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Led by the vision of Sam Caglione, winner of a 2017 James Beard Award, Dogfish Head makes what it calls “off-centered ales for off-centered people.” 60-Minute IPA may be the most centered beer in Caglione’s repertoire, however, a balanced and approachable beer that first debuted in 2003. It’s light gold in color, moderately bitter and incredibly crisp.
Brewery Location: Milton, DE
Founders All Day IPA
All Day IPA is the most successful session beer in the country, accounting for more than half of Founders’ annual sales. At just 4.7% ABV — almost a full percent less than Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale – it’s light in both body and mouthfeel, though surprisingly complex for a beer of its gravity. Best part, though? 15 packs can be found for less than $20 at select retailers.
Brewery Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Founded in 1996 in Escondido, California, Stone Brewing has become one of the most respected craft brewers in the world with satellite operations in Richmond, Virginia, and Berlin, Germany. While the Enjoy By series has recently garnered the respect of beer drinkers across the country, its the 20-year-old IPA, which features seven different hops, that helped put West Coast IPAs on the map. Available in every state except for West Virginia.
Brewery Location: Escondido, CA
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Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
One of the biggest beers in this guide, Hop Stoopid from Lagunitas clocks in at 8% ABV with 102 IBUs — beer speak for the measurements of bitterness. For reference, most IPAs have from 40 to 70 IBUs. Still, Hop Stoopid is a balanced and approachable beer, backed by a sweet malt backbone, with tropical notes of mango and pineapple.
Brewery Location: Petaluma, CA
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Formerly known as Northstar IPA, Sculpin is one of the most storied IPAs in the country. Winner of numerous brewing awards and the recipient of a “world-class” rating on BeerAdvocate with almost 14,000 reviews, the beer is fruity — with notes of citrus and stone fruit — and characterized by its light body and crisp mouthfeel. It’s also available year-round across the country.
Brewery Location: San Diego, CA
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Unlike the other beers here, Two Hearted Ale features a single hop — Centennial, which gives it an almost-floral taste and smell. Other notes include pine and grapefruit. Though the beer has yet to arrive in major places in the US, like the Northeast, Bell’s continues to expand its distribution footprint every year.
Brewery Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Victory DirtWolf Double IPA
DirtWolf is the most unbalanced beer on this list. Depending on your mood, that might be a good thing. Aggressively hopped with Mosaic, Citra and Chinook varietals, this imperial IPA is full bodied and slightly boozy, with an 8.7% ABV.
Brewery Location: Downingtown, PA
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