In 2015, everything has its own day. India Pale Ale, probably the current most popular craft beer type, is no exception. So here is a list of 25 (or so) of my favorite IPAs. I tried to rank them because that’s what you do on the ‘net. There are probably a lot of major omissions. I knew that was going to happen when I started this.
IPAs are like snowflakes in that no two are the same and each one is beautiful in its own special way. And also if you have too many in a short period of time it can ruin your day. These are my favorite snow flakes. Some of the tastiest snowflakes I’ve ever drank. Everyone reading this could probably name another 25 snowflakes deserving of a spot on this list.
(Most notably Heady Topper. Chill. I have yet to track it down. As soon as I do, I will delete this list and simply post a picture of a case.)
With all that in mind… Here are 25 (or so) great IPAs that you should probably drink sooner rather than later.
1. Stone Enjoy By
A rotating, limited edition by Stone? SO MUCH CRAFT BEER CRED BRO! Seriously, this shit is delicious and worth your time to track down. Even if you have to call the same beverage center everyday for weeks until they finally say the most beautiful words in the world – “Yeah, we just got a case.” Leave your house immediately.
2. Gigantic IPA / Ginormous Imperial IPA
I hit 15 breweries during my short visit to Portland and this is the one that gave me the happiest/fuzziest memories. Maybe it was the walk to the bar in the 70-degree sun after months of harsh Northeastern weather. Maybe it was the fact that the beer was huge and delicious. If you go to Portland, visit this brewery. And all the other breweries. Especially this one though.
3. Shmaltz Hop Manna IPA
A homer pick. And a tough one. Shmaltz has been around for nearly 20 years, but just found a home in Clifton Park, New York within the last couple years. All their beers are strong and tasty. I’ve got a variety pack and a She’brew Triple IPA in my fridge right now. It’s just all so damn good.
4. Uinta Hop Nosh
In a can or a bottle, this is one of the best and most inexpensive Utah-brewed IPAs you can regularly get in a Mid-Southern Upstate New York. Their bigger IPAs are great too, but this is a good place to start if you have the opportunity.
5. Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin
It’s like… Heaven in liquid form, but with a hint of grapefruit.
6. Peekskill Eastern Standard IPA
Another homer pick. This is my current local brewery. If you’re ever traveling up or down the Hudson River by train, stop at Peekskill, walk a block to the brewery, have a great lunch and enjoy a few Eastern Standards. Or their sour. Or pretty much anything they make. Thank me later.
7. Captain Lawrence IPA
Not quite a homer pick, but it’s made a half-hour from my house and it’s available in every grocery store in the area. It’s grown on me to the point where it’s the main beer in my fridge most weeks.
8. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Ever heard of it? Probably.
9. Breakside IPA
One of the nicest brewpubs in all of Portland, which is saying a lot.
10. Lagunitus Hop Stoopid
Picking any single Lagunitas beer is tough, but you cannot go wrong with Hop Stoopid. Great taste and value for a 22-ounce.
11. Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
It’s really good!
12. Long Trail Limbo IPA
This is also really good!
13. 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die! IPA
So is this one!
14. Dogfish Head 60 Minute / 90 Minute / 120 Minute / More Minutes?
All good! If these rankings were more scientific, 90 would rise, 60 would drop and 120 would make you very sleepy after a couple tiny tulip glasses.
15. Fat Head’s Head Hunter
LeBron James and Fat Head’s. Cleveland has two things going for it!
Honorable Mention (In no particular order):
Sam Adams Rebel Rouser DIPA (The session IPA is fine. The regular IPA is OK. The solid double IPA for the same price is one of the best values you’ll find.)
Lake Placid Big Slide IPA
Tröegs Perpetual IPA
Saranac Legacy IPA
Widmer Brothers Upheaval IPA
Firestone Walker Double Jack
Otter Creek Backseat Berner
Half Acre Senita
If there’s anything I missed, don’t shout, make a recommendation. Or send me some.