Beermerchants’ Top 10 IPAs
11 September 2015, By Jonny
It is the beer that launched a thousand breweries, reigniting the world’s love of beer and inspiring literally thousands of people to found their own businesses. So it’s safe to say that IPA is now the second most love style of beer, and the greats are in demand in every corner of the globe. Here are our favourites from our selection. What are yours?
Brewed with lazy afternoons in mind, this IPA treats the drinker to more than just a big hop hit. It gives you a tropical, passion fruit and mango, nose with more fruity notes in the mouth from the malts, before a sizeable dollop of dry lipsmacking bitterness on the finish.
There’s nothing babyish about this beast of a beer. It’s totally in your face and snarling the whole time. The nose is a delight all tropical fruits and grapefruit, the body is light biscuits but enough to hold the whole thing from flying into the stratosphere. The use of purely citra hops makes for a focused, heady attack on the senses and a deep bitter finish that leaves you gasping for more.
Hailing from Norway and brewed by an American, this IPA rocks! The initial smell is lightly floral and a little sweet, but it is just a precursor to what happens when you taste the beer. The oats anchor the beer superbly – giving it a smooth, slightly sweet body. Then the hops burst from the beer flying over the palate like a crop duster filled with citrus and tropical fruit. It finishes stongly with a lasting dryness and lingering fruits on the back of the tongue.
A true hop Bomb of a beer. You are greeted by huge floral hops and a slight sweet sherbert tang before you even dive in. At first you get a sweet caramel baseline from the malt before that is driven over by a truck-load big bold hops. Somehow refreshing and drying at the same time, that bitterness lingers right until the next sip.
A modern take on the classic British IPA from one of the UK’s first craft breweries. Its a light and sweet malt base coats the mouth well before the hops bowl on in, with subtle citrus and plenty of tangy spice. The smell is very floral like a fresh wild flower meadow, given some body and balance by the malts.
IPAs are not a common style in Belgium, but Troubadour are a Belgian brewery famed for making non-Belgian beers. This beer has a rich caramel body that holds the beer while lots of Belgian yeasty easters attack your tongue – full of sherbert and stone fruits – before the classic American style hops kick in with loads of pineapple and mango, creating a fruity and dry finish.
You'd have thought that one of the world's most successful IPAs wouldn't need reinventing, but Stone have never been a brewery to care what we think. When the original Ruination came out it was (probably) the world's first "double IPA". Since then, thousands have been released and Stone it had been left in the dust. So they reinvented it, bigger, better, hoppier and more ruinous than ever before. It's now just about the bitterest beer you can regularly get, and that hop aroma has to be witnessed to be believed.
8. Kernel IPA 6.5%
So it changes every damned time and is about as clear as the Thames, but that is part of what makes Kernel IPAs so special. You never know what you’re going to get, save one of the best hoppy beers you’ve ever tasted. Remarkably consistent, and always with big piney, citrus aromas and bittersweet bodies, the brewery is untouchable when it comes to experimenting with hop profiles and even the US are jealous that we get it fresh whenever we want it.
A big ballbuster of an IPA – all pine and grapefruit, but the underlying caramel malts have a little aniseed and allspice in there too. It’s hot and spicy and has a fruity grapefruit and gooseberry dryness that last well beyond the last drop.
An IPA hailing from Seattle, Redhook IPA was one of the first IPAs brewed in America, just as craft beer took off. It has citrus hops aplenty but is much more balanced than the modern hop bombs. The malts are individual too, giving you a dry biscuit flavour rather than the sweet caramel – in line with European lagers and pales. The finish is dry with the spicy hop notes carrying it out on a high.