The Open Bar – A Handful of IPAs We’ve Had and You Should Too
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
Today is #IPADay, a social media driven craft beer holiday intended for beer drinkers to try out the style, embibe a few old favorites, or go out on a limb and try a new India Pale Ale they've never had. It's a celebration of the most popular style of craft beer in the United States and a day to revel in the incredible growth of craft beer in America.
Not everyone is crazy about IPAs. For many the taste is too hoppy, too bold, too bitter, but IPA Day is that day to give them another shot. It's probably less likely that you don't like IPAs and more likely you just haven't found the perfect IPA for you.
Here are a handful of India Pale Ales that we've hand in our FBM lives that we really feel like you should have too. This isn't meant to be a definitive list of “the best” IPA or a list of IPAs that will appeal to everyone… just good old fashion fun and appreciation of the style. There are most certainly loads of great ones we've had this year that didn't make this list as well.
As always we'd love to hear back from the FBM community as to what your personal favorite IPAs are. Leave 'em in the comments section.
Location: Comstock, Michigan
They say: “Bell's Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell's house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.”
Location: Santa Rosa, California
Hops: Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops
They say: “Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus
, and pine. Best enjoyed FRESH! That is why we make it in such limited supply. Actual bottling date is printed on each bottle!
Where did we come up with this name? Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. Vic invited 10 breweries, 6 of whom (including us) had to brew something special for him since we had nothing that would fall under this style category. Vinnie had made a Double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994, but was not brewing one at Russian River Brewing at the time. He had an idea for the recipe, but not a name. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with “Pliny the Elder”. Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!
Pliny the Elder was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who wrote about his uncle succumbing to ash and smoke during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. while rescuing people. Cheers to the scholar, historian, officer, writer, and Roman Naturalist- Pliny the Elder!”
Location: Munster, Indiana
They say: “This complex double India pale ale has an intense citrus and floral hop aroma balanced by a velvety malt body which has been augmented with lactose milk sugar. With this different take on an IPA we have brewed an ale that is both pleasing to drink and, once again, “not normal.”
Location: Austin, Texas
Hops: Summit, Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo
They say: “Flavor swoops in (cue EAGLE SCREAM), grabs you by the face and flies you through the hop rainbow. At the peak of the ride it swoops back to earth and gently drops you back on your bar stool where you are refreshed, excited and ready to ride again. It’s hoppy, bold and American.”
Location: Hearldsburg, California
They say: “A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.”
Location: Escondido, California
Hops: Chinook, Simcoe & Amarillo
They say: “We're brewers whose substantial mettle and idiomatic approach to brewing allows us to consistently create works of art such as this justifiably self-righteous ale. Its bitterness hits our sweet spot. Its blackness lightens our hearts. Its liquid dichotomy pulls it all together in this sublimely sacrosanct ale. Yes, we damn well know our stuff here at Stone, and it would be irresponsible of us not to acknowledge how remarkable this heavenly creation of ours is. Thus the name we are compelled to give it — Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale — serves as a reminder of just how good we are, in both liquid and verbal form.
We're certainly not perfect. Too often, we allow our modesty to get the best of us as we're simply not inclined towards senseless braggadocio. When you're good, you're good. And when you do something great, the least you can do is acknowledge it. Others benefit from knowing. In this case, we find that we are compelled to point out how amazing this ale is that we rightly call the Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.
First brewed in 2007 as the Stone 11th Anniversary Ale, this ale was an instant hit. With us. Other folks with great taste loved it too, but we were focused on how much we liked it, and we felt it was truly sublime. That euphoria didn't last long though, as it was soon replaced with the grim reality that when we sold out of it there wouldn't be any more. For us. And that was simply unacceptable. So, we are now blessing ourselves, and you the enlightened, with this ale. Thusly, you may now revel in your own self-righteousness as you see fit with this glorious example of ours. You are genuinely welcome, as it is our pleasure.”
Location: Downington, Pennsylvania
They say: “The tenacious grip of big, juicy hop aroma and character slides smoothly into rich, dark malts. This heavyweight battle between fresh, Yakima Valley hops and dark, roasted malts is resolved harmoniously as the flavors merge to deliver complex satisfaction with a warming edge. Bask in the “glory” of the bright and brassy hops!”
Location: Bend, Oregon
Hops: Cascade, Cenntenial
They say: “The citrus punch of a big IPA, minus the one-dimensional hop sledgehammer. Seven select European and domestic malts round out the edges for a complex, copper-colored brew. Like its namesake ski lift, it’s an insider’s ride to fresh thrills.”
Location: Brooklyn, New York
They say: “A beer that celebrates the extraction of hop resin for a concentrated yet balanced brew.”
Location: Milton, Deleware
They say: “60 Minute IPA is continuously hopped — more than 60 hop additions over a 60-minute boil. (Getting a vibe of where the name came from?)
60 Minute is brewed with a slew of great Northwest hops. A powerful but balanced East Coast IPA with a lot of citrusy hop character, it's the session beer for hardcore enthusiasts!”
Location: Brooklyn Center, Minnestoa
Hops: Warrior, Ahtanum, Simcoe, Amarillo
They say: “A tempest on the tongue, or a moment of pure hop bliss? Brewed with a dazzling blend of American hops and Scottish malt, this crimson-hued ale delivers waves of citrus, pine and caramel-toffee. For those who favor flavor, Furious has the hop-fire your taste buds have been screeching for.”
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