Top 20 IPA Beer Brands You Can Buy from Stores

Are you a fan of IPA Beer brands? How much have you explored as you try to find that best beer that leaves you refreshed, bold, and confident?

Below are some of the IPA beer brands outlined, tested, tried, and proven to serve you and satisfy your quench at its best.

Take your Spiegelau IPA Glass and read on.

Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

This reddish-orange beer has a fantastic taste ranging from grapefruit to citrus. Its tracing of cloudiness gives you the desire to pour it in your glass continuously.

The floral hops and lesser bitterness will give your body the refreshing feeling it deserves. The head drops and forms a foamy ring decorating your glass.

Its sweetness keeps the bitterness at bay, leaving you enjoying your beer.

New Belgium Brewing Voodoo Ranger

New Belgium Brewing Voodoo Ranger

Give your body a refreshing feeling with this IPA. It has an excellent sweet taste with a mixture of citrus, pine, malt, and earth.

Its bitterness will not overpower you. The earthy citrus makes it easy to get down your throat comfortably. The medium-bodied and expressive carbonation gives you easy drinking as it leaves some slight dry finish.

Voodoo Ranger Looks like a Budweiser IPA, but its appearance is pretty clear with copper color. As you put it in your Spiegelau IPA glass, it forms two head fingers on its top, but the foam settles within seconds.

This beer gives your tongue a smooth and slick feeling.

Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA

Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA

Jeremy Kosmicki is the Brewmaster of Founders Brewing Co. and, in below video,he explains how All Day IPA came to be, Founders session IPA and why we brew the beer for us.

All Day IPA is naturally brewed to satisfy your taste and quench your thirst after a long day. It has some multiplex arrangement of grains, hops, and malts with balanced aromatics.

Keep your senses sharp with All Day IPA and clear your throat with its clean finish. You can comfortably take it any time hence the name All Day IPA.

Stone Brewing IPA

Stone Brewing IPA

Are you a fanatic of hop? This brand offers you precisely this. The perfectly balanced malt feature gives it a beautiful aroma and citrus flavor which follows your nose.

Stone Brewing IPA is your quenching companion on both hot days and cold days. When it reaches midway as you drink, you will feel some sweet hint of bitterness balanced by grapefruit and pine.

The medium carbonation and average body will give you a unique style as it goes down smoothly. The blazing golden color pours down your glass then forms a three-finger head, which dissolves quickly, leaving some foam around the beer.

Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA

Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA

Give your taste buds a treat from Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA. When hops and malt are professionally combined, you can take several glasses to ease your weary body.

The gooseberry, white wine, lemon, pineapple, and lots of hop juiciness gives it the best flavor that makes you eagerly wait to take another sip.

The pear, peppery, grape juice aroma is on another level. The bitterness in it is just appropriate, as it is always balanced.

Brooklyn Brewery East IPA

Brooklyn Brewery East IPA

Brooklyn EAST IPA produces the best brands that have real hops in the flavor and aroma. Hop character subdues this IPA beer brand, and the malt character in it will refresh your soul.

This brew is clear golden in color, and the subtle esters, which are classical of the English yeast, give it some unique taste that no other brand has.

The head bubbles and lingers for some little time, and the bitterness and flavor is well balanced to nearly half caramel and half hop.

The sweetness of malt lingers as you finish your beer even as the acceptable carbonation level streamlines it.

Cigar City Brewing

Cigar City Brewing

Joey Redner found this company in 2007. Located in Trampa along the streets of West Pruce, our focus is to produce the highest quality lagers and ales.

We have won many accolades and awards, including bronze, silver, and gold medals at GABF, Best Florida Beer Competition, and US Beer Tasting Championships. www.cigarcitybrewing.com.

We have gained the market in more than thirty US states and twelve internationally. Get yourself a Jalai Alai, Florida Man, Jai Low, Guayabera, etc., and taste the best flavors and mild but sweet bitterness.

 Goose Island IPA

Goose Island IPA

As per our tradition, we create the English style beers, fully flavored with beautiful aromas plus a bright hop finish.

Goose IPA beers are perfect for bold discoverers of hop heads. It is dark yellow with the hops made up of celeia, cascade, pilgrim, and contenial. The malt components include Munich and 2Row. Both the hop and malt are well balanced and lingers stylishly as your beer flows.

How do you feel Goose Island Next Coast IPA? It is crushable with big hoppy, Citra, tropical flavors and well-balanced bitterness blending into a light and medium body.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Paul Camusi and Ken Grossman founded this company in 1979. Starting from homebrewers to now a globally known company with 1.5 million beer barrels annual production, we produce unique, different brands to give your mouth feel a treat. They are ranging from hazy IPA Brands to hoppy drinks.

Our headquarters are in Chico, Mills River, and Berkeley. We celebrate our number one production of Sierra Nevada, loaded with pine and citrus aroma.

You can try different brands, including Stout, Torpedo, 40 years, etc., and Tropical Torpedo characterized by the hazy feeling hence the term ‘hazy little thing.’

Elysian Brewing Space Dust IPA

Elysian Brewing Space Dust IPA

Space Dust IPA is full a Nebular IPA. Would you wish to know how you create a Fuzzduster? Follow these simple steps.

  1. Open your space dust bottle.
  2. Pour it in your Spiegelau IPA glass up to a half.
  3. Open your Superfuzz bottle.
  4. Top up your glass with the Superfuzz.
  5. Slowly sip your Fuzzduster!

The star radiant energy, the DextraPils cals, and pale malts combined with Amarillo, Citra, and chinook hops will give your tastebuds a great adventure.

It is a medium-bodied IPA with an ABV of 8.2%.

Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale

Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale

Dales’ pale Ale is a brand-new IPA beer that we have released in 2020. Are you a discoverer and likes to taste new things? You will love this new IPA from Oskar Blues Brewery.

Take your Spiegelau IPA glass and pour your beer; you will discover an elegant hazy bright amber with a whipped top. Your taste buds will enjoy the piney taste, which is evident but not overwhelming in this IPA.

The hop and malt are well balanced to give you a unique yeast, toasted bread, and citrus undertone. You will enjoy the light carbonation, medium-bodied, and dry finish.

Dogfish Head Brewery

Dogfish Head Brewery

Are you in Delaware and enjoy taking craft beer? Dogfish Head Brewery is a place you should pay more visits.

Sam Calagione founded this company in 1995, and since then, it has focused on producing quality IPA brands and produces more than 205,000 hl beer or 175000 beer barrels annually.

You will find a combination of refreshing lime, salty flavors, slight bitterness, and a sweet finish of malt in our company. We also own a restaurant where you can eat various meals as you slowly sip your beer.

The dogfish head low cal IPAs leave your mouth refreshing, sweet, and clean. These dogfish low cal IPAs include Seaquench Ale that is golden yellow and hazy colored.

Ballast Point Brewing Company

Ballast Point Brewing Company

This company has headquarters in the United States and California. Jack white found it in 1996 though it humbly started in home Brew Mart’s back that Jack found in 1992.

We create an aroma and taste that is perfectly balanced. We love what we make, and as our motto states, it is with no doubt that we are ‘dedicated to craft.’

Ranging from sculpin, Aloha Sculpin Hazy IPA brand, victory at sea, to Grapefruit Sculpin, we have your favorite flavor and taste at heart. We produce many beers because we love beer, and these brands have won us many awards due to their uniqueness and elegance.

SanTan Brewing Co.

SanTan Brewing Co.

We are a great company, and we do great things. Welcome to Arizona and witness this. Since Anthony Canecchia founded SanTan Brewing Company, we have always been up to date in our events to give you the best that you deserve.

You can stop and not only have a drink but enjoy some delicious local food. Since 2009 we have been on a mission to bring you our southwestern IPA style and craft food to give you good times.

And in 2014, we extended our wings to California and the southwest. This Covid 19 pandemic has given us the privilege to produce hand sanitizers and donate them to the City of Chandler and HonorHealth. You can see this in detail in this video.

Tree-House Brewing Company

Tree-House Brewing Company

When you walk along the Massachusetts streets, you will find Tree house brewing company around 97 kilometers west of Boston. Without further questions, we are known to be the best brewing company in the US and the rating sites, e.g., Forbes and Untappd.

Damien Goudreau, Nate Lanier, and Dean Rohan humbly found this company and begun brewing in Lanier’s Kitchen. But now we produce more than 30000 barrels of beer, and we are planning to expand in reference to here.

We basically sell our draught and canned beers onsite, but that has not stopped us from ranking the best globally on Beer Advocate.

We produce mainly stouts and American-style IPAs. Ranging from milky and thick stout to the piney Julius, all our beers give meaning to the word soft.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Two brothers-in-law came together and formed this company in 1996, David Walker and Adam Firestone.

The company started on a low note with many challenges, but now it produces the best IPA beer brands.

The brewmaster is Matt Brynildson, who came to Firestone in 2001, and his work is incredible. He has been named the best Brewmaster and ‘Brewer of the year, four times and six times, respectively.

Our bear is known throughout California as the best quality. We always aim to create world-class beers for generations that will come even after us.

We conserve power by using renewable energy and minimize every form of energy we use, be it fuel, natural gas, or electricity.

Try our taste with these IPAs, Mind Haze IPA, Flyjack Hazy Indian Pale, Union Jack IPA, DBA, and Luponic Distortion IPA series and many others to refresh yourself.

New England Brewing Company

New England Brewing Company

Before he came up with the New England Brewing Company, Rob Leonard looked for intense craft knowledge by looking for employment in a brewing company as a cleaner and packing cases.

He became the brewmaster in Westport and Manchester and, after that, the operations manager at New England Brewing Company. 1n 1996, when the company owners wanted to quit, Rob took over the company and continued with his brewing vision.

We craft the best beers in Woodland. Ranging from G-bot, Fuzzy Baby Ducks, Gandhi-Bot, to Herducken-the brand session IPA and many more brands to fulfill your taste and refresh you.

Founders Brewing Co.

Founders Brewing Co.

We are located in Michigan. Since our company’s foundation in the mid-1990s, it has won awards for producing highly rated craft-style IPAs.

Amongst our brands are Founders Porter, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Dirty Bastard, and Centennial IPA.

We are the 15th largest beer makers in the US and well respected in the Michigan brewing industry.

The majority owner of Founders is a Spain citizen, Mahou San Miguel.

Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Tony Magee founded Lagunita’s in 1993. Lagunita’s was growing so fast in the US until Heineken International took over.

Magee is still the board chairman, and Lagunita’s makes substantial annual revenues of up to 228 million dollars, a case in 2016.

Lagunita’s brands are your hoppy refresher exerting a carbonate sound when you open. It is correctly balanced with sweet bitterness, and it is proper for bold drinkers.

Revolution Brewing

Revolution Brewing

Only founded in 2010, but now it is the largest brewery in craft. You can visit us in Chicago and enjoy the best IPA beer brands.

We own a taproom and the largest production facility. We produce up to fifty different beer styles annually, including Workingman Mild, the session IPA brand, Double Fist, the hop bomb, and many than you can stare at.

We have both seasonal and all-year-round beers. Revolution Brewing is a brewery and an avenue for most of your functions, including weddings, birthdays, and many more.

Conclusion

I hope you can now confidently and bravely choose the beer that will quench your desire and thirst.

IPA beer Brands have different but the best flavors. Producers are different, but their work is sure and trustworthy.

Give yourself a treat and try each brand to see which one suit you best.

Top 7 Best CBD Beer to Enjoy without Alcohol Worries

Best CBD Beer

Have you ever thought of taking a Cannabis-Infused beer in your life? No doubt, you must have heard your friends and colleagues talking about CBD beer. There is lots of information about these types of beers on the internet that can overwhelm you, especially if you are going into it for the first time.

With personal experience, I have gathered all possible information to understand this idea. I am going to share with you the 7 best CBD beer. You can trust the 7 best CBD beers on this article as the best options you got out there.

Why infuse CBD in beer?

Why Infuse CBD In Beer
By just typing “CBD beers near me” in the Google search box, you get over 100 million results in less than a second. If you use Google Keyword Planner to search for the same, you will also get other suggestions related to CBD beers near me with very high search volumes. But why exactly do we need CBD beer in the market?

CBD beers are now available in almost every part of the world despite Cannabis being illegal in most states. Surprisingly, CBD-infused beers have attracted more than just beer enthusiasts. Back to our question, why have CBD in beer?

Hangover-free

CBD Beer Hangover-free

The answer is from the need to have a hangover-free alternative to alcohol-based beers. That is probably because CBD beers do not have alcohol and also have 0% THC.

A healthier alternative to alcohol

cdc beer A Healthier Alternative To Alcohol
From a study published by Livescience, cannabis users drink less alcohol. That leads to the sales reduction for alcohol-based brewers. To fight for the share, they introduced CBD-infused beer, a commercial product that was already legal in different states.

Comes with health benefits

According to the Newsweek report, people use CBD for pain relief, anxiety problems, muscle relaxations, etc. People generally prefer CBD-infused beer, or any other product, for the health benefits that come with them.

What are the aftereffects of drinking CBD-infused beer?

What Are The Aftereffects Of Drinking CBD-Infused BeerPeople who are eager to taste CBD beer asking this question. Some are willing to have their first taste but are afraid of the consequences that they do not know yet. If you are in this filed, then I am going to give you a satisfactory answer.

What are the components of the Cannabis plant used in cannabinoid-infused concoctions? Cannabis, as a plant, has many chemical compounds that are responsible for different behaviors that we see in marijuana smokers.

The compounds present in the marijuana plant are CBD, Hemp, THC, and many others. THC is responsible for triggering chain reactions in your body to drive you high. According to cannabisMD, the amount of this compound in CBD drinks is zero or negligible.
So, you will not worry about getting high when you drink CBD-infused beer.

What are some of the health benefits of CBD beer?

CBD is already trending for its very many health benefits. CBD offers pain relief, solves anxiety, boosts skin health, and many other tons of benefits. Could these also come along with its infusion into beers?
CBD beer reduces the urge to drink alcohol and vital in the fight against relapse from addiction, but that depends on an individual as people respond differently to CBD-infused products. From a report by some of its users, CBD-infused beer relaxes the mind and improves mood. You can find more explanation on YouTube.

What percentage of alcohol in CBD beer? What are different tastes and flavors?

different tastes and flavors-cropped
CBD-beer processing follows the same steps as alcoholic beers. The only difference comes when the alcoholic content has to be removed and replaced by CBD nanoemulsion. The quantity of alcohol in CBD beers is negligible. So, it is safe because they do not contain alcohol in them.

Tastes and flavors

When it comes to taste, you cannot tell the difference since the manufacturing process is the same for both of them. If you are looking for the easiest way to quit alcohol, while still enjoying the carbonated and delicious flavor of the beverage, then CBD beers are the way to go.
The CBD nanoemulsion is relatively tasteless. That gives the brewers all the advantage to determine the fi final flavor of their products. If you ask me what CBD beer tastes like, then my answer is that it depends on a particular manufacturer. You will find many different tastes and flavors in the market.

Infusing CBD in beers also come with additional benefits. For instance, an active smoker cannot do it in social places due to the restriction. But with CBD beer, you can take it in front of everyone. You can make it part of your dinner, parties, and any other function while still living a healthy lifestyle.

Our 7 Best Pick CBD-infused Beers

Up to this point, I believe that you the facts about CBD beer. On that note, I am ready to present you with 7 best beer that you can opt for, for a healthy leaving. I am here to help you reduce the overwhelming task of sorting among the results of your search.
Without a doubt, the next step you have is to search for CBD beers near me, just like many other people do. But refining your search is another task altogether. With our 7 best CBD beer, have to look any further for CBD-infused beer.

General Washington’s Secret Stash

General Washington's Secret Stash
This is number one on our list of 7 best CBD drinks that we have prepared for you. The brand inspiration was from the fact that some of the prominent leaders of the country grew hemp and were advocating for it.
While THC is still receiving strong opposition from different activists, CBD has been passed for use in many consumer products. General Washington’s Secret Stash is infused with 4mg of CBD per Pint. Despite the obstacles that were sabotaging its manufacture, it has bounced back as the best in the market today.
This invention by Dads and Dudes has a large market share and has found favor among many users. With just 6.5% ABV alcohol, you can enjoy the drink without much worry about your health and other side effects that alcohol-based beers have.

Two Flowers IPA

Two Flowers IPA
Two Flowers IPA is number two on our list of 7 best CBD beer. This Oregon-brewed CBD drink is infused with 5mg of CBD per Pint and is just 6% ABV alcohol. This product from Coalition Brewing Company took advantage of the legalization of hemp in this state.
Two Flowers IPA is citrus flavored and comes with a final touch of light crisp and very mouth-watering aroma. Being one of the drinks from Portland, Oregon, it comes with irresistible local pride. Besides, it is processed with one of the most reputable companies in the place.
If you are from Oregon, then the feeling of taking a tout of this CBD beer is just irresistible.

Hemperor HPA

Hemperor HPA
I know of some people with the urge to have a taste of CBD infused drinks but are still not sure whether to go for it or not. Hemperor HPA gives you the stepping stone you can rely on to introduce yourself to a whole new world of CBD-infused concoctions.
Hemperor is one of the few drinks in our list of 7 best CBD beers without both CBD and THC, just hemp hops. The inspiration originated from the kind of reception that hemp hop brews had from the customers. With its pale color with a strong aroma of bud and a taste of beer, Hemperor is on another level.
This product from Belgium Brewing originated from the time when Colorado joined the Hemp movement.

High Flyer

High Flyer
High Flyer is a CBD beer whose origin can be traced back to Britain. Despite this fact, it has found itself in a better position in the US market.
Of all the other three CBD beers discussed, this one has the highest percentage of BD and a very negligible amount of THC. It contains 10 mg of CBD per bottle and less than 0.2% THC per tint. The traces of THC in this beer are too small to make you feel high as alcohol would.
High Flyer is tropical and citrus flavored. That is the taste that you will have in your mouth after swallowing, as opposed to the bitterness that other typical CBD beers would have. On the positive side, it comprises of only 4.3% ABV.

Hemptails Hemp’d

Hemptails Hemp'd
Hemptails Hemp’d is CBD beer with 0% active CBD. Sounds odd, right? But that is for a good reason.

Some people want to taste CBD-infused beer, as can be concluded from the search volumes for CBD beers near me from Google and other search engines. However, these people are very cautious not to just dive into it. Instead, they prefer tasting CBD beer that is CBD free. That is where this one comes in handy.

Hemptails Hemp’d have 0% CBD and 0% THC, but a high percentage of alcohol of 8% ABV. It offers you a chance to take your drink without the fear of getting high on CBD. But drink responsibly, just the way you would with other alcohol-based drinks.

How is it possible to have a CBD beer without active CBD? Hemptails Hemp’d is processed with hemp seeds, components of the hemp plant that do not have active CBD as you would find in leaves. That is the reason behind the legalization of hempseed by the 2018 Farm Bill. CBD in hemp oil is praised for its fatty acid that good for skin health.

Hemp Ale

Hemp Ale
The second last in our list of 7 best CBD drinks is Hemp Ale, a product from Humboldt Brewing Company. It is another one with 0% active CBD since it is brewed with toasted hemp seeds. The seeds give it a unique and herb-accented flavor.

Despite being brewed from a legalized component of the hemp plant, all brewers of this brand have to follow the protocol and regulations set by states. The good news is that Hemp Ale is growing in popularity as brewers come up with new flavors and tastes for it.

Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale is a CBD beer that can form part of your dinner dish or as a standalone drink. To further prove that this is a drink on another level, let me mention that it is a twice winner of California State Fair Craft Brewing Competitions (1999 and 2000).

Outbound Brewing

Outbound Brewing
People are increasingly becoming aware of healthy living and are slowly but steadily shying away from alcoholic drinks. Outbound Brewing has an alternative to alcohol-based drinks. The company launches a new non-alcoholic CBD-infused beer with just 30 calories per bottle.
The Outbound Brewing’s CBD-infused, low-calory beer comes in three distinct flavors and tastes. On the list, we have:

  • Blood orange haze with blood orange peel aroma, orange-flavored.
  • Pale haze with a pleasantly hoppy aroma, citrus-flavored.
  • Grapefruit haze with citrusy aroma topped with lemon and grapefruit zestiness.

This variation gives consumers options to choose from depending on their tastes and preferences.
Outbound CBD beer has 20mg broad-spectrum CBD per bottle with a second option that has both 20mg CBD and 10mg THC. As a consumer, you got to decide what to take, bearing in mind that THC is responsible for sedation behavior that we often see in marijuana smokers.

Conclusion

CBD is, no doubt, one of the fastest-growing supplements praised for its very many health benefits. When infused in beers and other consumable products, the benefits can go to the users. For this reason, CBD has become legal in many different states across the US.

With the 2018 Farm Bill, many brewers from across the state saw an opportunity to process CBD-infused beers. Also, the increasing awareness of a healthy lifestyle has necessitated the need for a better product. Due to customer demands, CBD beers are now available almost everywhere.

The non-alcoholic, low-calorie CBD drinks are good for your health. It is easier to refrain from alcohol while still enjoying your favorite carbonated flavor. Hence, it becomes easier to reverse alcohol addiction. If you still have any questions and ideas want to share, then you can leave it in the comment sections. Your thoughts are welcome!

What is a Session IPA?

What is a Session IPA

The craft beer movement has been expanding rapidly in the past few years, and as a result, so has the number of labels we have to describe different styles of beer.

One that has appeared recently is “session IPA”, a sub-species of the current darling of craft beer lovers everywhere, the IPA. But what is a session IPA? How is it different from a regular IPA? And what can you expect when you try one?

Here, we answer discuss these issues and more as we answer the question, what is a session IPA?

If you want a preview of some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about – as well as a couple of alternative views on the subject – you can check out this video before reading on.

The cultural context

The concept of a “session” beer comes from the British tradition of sitting down for a drink with friends in a pub, and in this cultural context, the idea isn’t to have one or two, it’s to have “a few”.

The aim is not to get drunk; on the contrary, it’s to stay sober and remain capable of holding a conversation, in which case, it’s preferable to avoid imbibing anything too strong – and a session beer is one that’s brewed with this in mind.

In short, a session beer is one that you can comfortably drink several pints of during a “session”, which means the main distinguishing feature of these beers is low alcohol content; in Britain, session beers are generally regarded as having an AVB of around 3-4.5%.

You may hear people claim that something at 5% ABV or above can be a session beer because they can sit and drink five or six of them in a session. But that’s missing the point.

Plenty of people can handle six pints of 5%+ beer, there’s nothing to boast about there. But the fact that you can put away six of them without falling over still doesn’t qualify the beer as “session”.

The First World War connection

But where does the term “session” actually come from?

According to one theory, it dates back to the First World War when civilians were required to work in factories making armaments for the war effort.

Because the authorities (quite reasonably) concluded that alcohol consumption might not be so conducive to efficient work, the Defence of the Realm Act was passed in 1914, limiting the times when alcohol could be sold.

This meant that war-time factory workers could only drink from midday to 2:40pm and then again from 6:30pm to half-past ten at night. The idea was that by restricting drinking times each day to these two periods – or “sessions” – the workers would remain in a fit state for making bombs.

Since they were allowed to drink between shifts, workers chose beers that would leave them capable of returning to work afterwards, and so the phrase “session beer” was coined.

This version of events may be true or merely apocryphal, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. A session beer is one that is intended to be drunk over time in relatively large quantities without getting you too drunk.

What about in the US?

What is a Session IPA Beer

That’s the historical British context, but when we take the term and apply it to American-style IPAs, things get a bit more complicated.

IPA is a style that has become wildly popular in recent years due to the booming craft beer industry.

From the 1970s on, when small independent brewers in the US began experimenting with older, half-forgotten beer styles, IPA quickly became a favorite due to the fact that it lends itself particularly well to creativity and experimentation.

Furthermore, since brewers began incorporating American varieties of hops into their beers rather than the traditional European strains, American IPAs instantly appealed to patriotic American consumers.

However, IPA is defined by its strong hoppiness as well as – generally speaking – a relatively high alcohol content of at least 6% ABV or more.

So while these beers might sell well and win plenty of plaudits, they’re not the kind of beers that drinkers will be able to quaff in large quantities.

And so brewers began to produce what they termed “session IPAs”.

What should you expect from an American IPA?

The beer held up as the yardstick against which all other session IPAs are measured is probably All Day IPA brewed by Founders.

It has an ABV of 4.7% (slightly higher than what might be considered a session beer by the UK definition, but only just!), and with an IBU (bitterness) rating of 42.

This means that, unlike the kind of high-alcohol, extra-hoppy IPAs that American craft beer enthusiasts have come to know and love, this is a beer that can be drunk in larger quantities without getting you (too) drunk or making you want to switch to a different brew.

And this is the template session IPAs tend to follow. They need to be lower in alcohol content than regular IPAs so you don’t get drunk, but they also need to have lower levels of bitterness to allow you to keep enjoying the same beer without wanting to change.

At the same time, though, they still need to be an IPA; IPAs are defined by hops, so a session IPA needs to have enough hops for this to still be the dominant flavor.

This is a fine line to tread, but some skilled brewers – such as Founders – have managed to hit the sweet spot, carving out a niche for what is now being marketed as session IPA.

The session IPA controversy

Session IPA

The story of the session IPA is not without controversy, however, and it’s easy to understand why since, when you think about it, “session IPA” is something of an oxymoron.

If an IPA is supposed to be an unabashedly hoppy beer with an ABV tending towards the stronger end of the scale, then why brew a beer that tones down everything that makes IPA what it is? It’s not like there are no other beers with less alcohol and a less intense hoppiness.

Indeed, many would argue that a “less hoppy, lower alcohol IPA” describes something else that already exists: “pale ale” –  and that giving it the “IPA” moniker is nothing more than a cynical ploy by brewers to shift more units.

Since IPA is the flavor of the moment, and anything with “IPA” on the label is guaranteed to sell, rebranding pale ale as “session IPA” may just be a way of making an old beer sound sexier and cashing in on the IPA tag as a way of boosting sales.

Are session IPAs really “sessionable”?

The debate over this divisive beer doesn’t stop there, either. Even if you accept that a niche exists somewhere between regular IPAs and traditional pale ales for something called a session IPA, can we really call these beers “sessionable”?

In the original sense, a session beer is one with lower alcohol content, but it’s also one you can drink several pints of in a session without feeling the need to change to something else.

That also means the taste keeps you coming back for more rather than forcing you to seek out something different after a glass or two due to excessive bitterness or a one-dimensional flavor profile.

While session IPAs may check the box in terms of lower alcohol, many of them still don’t qualify as a “session” beer in this sense since the flavor profiles often aren’t suited to drinking several in a row.

These are beers that are meant to be enjoyed and savored, but they generally don’t work as well if you keep drinking the same one.

Again, some people might say they could drink six bottles of session IPA in a sitting, but that’s missing the point. A good session beer should make you want to keep coming back for more of the same; this is not the same as being able to put up with the same beer if it’s the only choice you have.

But it’s a different cultural context, right?

It’s also been argued that while session IPAs are not “session” beers according to the British tradition, they’re not meant to be since they are American creations for the American market.

Instead, they are “sessionable” in the sense that when you drink a session IPA, you’re supposed to take your time with it, observing the subtle notes and flavors and appreciating its complexity.

It’s not designed to be drunk in the same quantities as a traditional British session beer, and the American drinker is more likely to consume only a couple of them in a sitting.

This may be true, but then that’s not a “session” – it’s just called drinking slowly.

We’re not advocating downing large volumes of beer each time you drink – but for us, the word “session” implies a certain quantity of beer being consumed. So by all means, spend an hour or two on just a couple of bottles. But just don’t call it a “session”.

Do we need another label for beer? You decide

Beyond this, we’re going to sit on the fence on this one. Is “session IPA” a valid term or is it just something conjured up by breweries to sell less fashionable pale ales? We’ll let you decide.

In the end, perhaps it doesn’t matter what you call a beer. A session IPA is a type of IPA with less hops and less alcohol and it happens to closely resemble what is less glamorously known as plain old pale ale. And if you like the taste, what does it matter what’s written on the bottle?

India Pale Ale(IPA) Beer: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a fan of craft brewing, or even just have a passing interest in beer, you will almost certainly have heard of IPA – and there’s a good chance you may have tried one or two as well.

Within the hugely fashionable world of craft beer, IPA is the undisputed king, and it seems that just about every brewery has its own take on this style.

But how much do you know about IPA? What gives it its distinctive flavor? Where does it come from and what’s the story behind it?

In this post, we’ll consider questions like these and more as we answer, what is IPA beer?

If you want a preview of some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about – as well as a bit of extra info – you can also check out this video before reading on.

The short answer – what is IPA Beer?

To give you the short answer, IPA stands for India Pale Ale. IPA is a broad designation covering a range of styles, but generally speaking, they are pale ales brewed using lightly roasted malt, a top-fermenting yeast and a generous dose of hops.

More than anything else, it is the unmistakable flavor of hops that marks out an IPA, but thanks to variations in brewing techniques – and the range of hops that can be used – the IPA moniker includes a wide assortment of beers.

In a moment, we’ll have a look in more detail at the variations you are likely to encounter, but to appreciate how IPA became the hugely popular beer it is today, we need to look at where it came from.

A little history – pale ale in 18th-century England

To understand the origins and development of IPA, we need to travel back in time to the England of the 18th century.

Back then, several styles of beer were being brewed, among which was a type made by dry-roasting the malt with coke. This process produced a beer that was lighter in color than the other popular beers of the time like porter and mild, and by the start of the 18th century, people had begun referring to it as “pale ale”.

Jump forward a few years, and by the early 19th century, the British Empire was at its height, with colonies around the globe. The jewel in the imperial crown was India, and a ceaseless flotilla of vessels plied the route between England and its prized colonial possession, carrying all manner of items for trade – including beer.

George Hodgson and the Bow Brewery

When telling the tale of IPA, one name is inextricably linked to the early development of this style of beer, that of George Hodgson; however, the often-repeated claim that he “invented” IPA for export to India is probably wide of the mark.

Hodgson was the owner of the Bow Brewery, a relatively modest operation located on the border between Middlesex and Essex to the east of London. One of the beers he specialized in brewing was October beer, a well-hopped pale ale that was aged for two years in cellars before it was ready for consumption.

According to one version of the story, Hodgson is supposed to have deliberately added extra hops, a natural preservative, to his beer to help it survive the journey from England to India, a voyage which in those days took from four to six months.

However, Hodgson wasn’t the only brewer producing well-hopped October beer, and other beers such as porter had been shown to be quite capable of arriving in the far-flung colonies without suffering any significant loss of quality.

Rather, Hodgson’s initial involvement was probably attributable to the fortuitous location of his brewery close to the East India docks.

Instead of travelling to London to purchase beer for export, buyers were able to acquire goods from his more conveniently situated site, providing the Bow Brewery with a steady stream of customers.

However, the traders soon discovered that something unexpected was happening with the beer they were transporting. Thanks to the special conditions on board the ships, beer that usually required two years in a cellar to mature was found to be in perfect condition and ready to drink when it was unloaded in Bombay, Madras or Calcutta.

This was something Hodgson couldn’t have planned, but it ensured the continued popularity of his beer with the traders – although he also did his best to cement his position by extending an unusually generous credit of 18 months to his customers. In this way, they were able to acquire his beer before their departure, paying for it on their return with the profits they made from its sale.

The decline of Bow and the rise of the Burton breweries

The decline of Bow and the rise of the Burton breweries

There is room for debate over the precise sequence of events, and there are still those who maintain that the Bow Brewery consciously created a more heavily-hopped beer specifically to make it more resistant to the arduous sea journey to India.

In some ways, it doesn’t matter whether Hodgson planned it or just got lucky – what is important is that his brewery became the favored supplier of beer for the export market, and his product soon became highly sought-after by customers in India.

However, it appears that when the operation of the Bow Brewery was taken over by Hodgson’s son, his business practices made him less popular with the brewery’s regular customers.

At around the same time, the market for English beer in Russia suddenly dried up due to a punitive tax imposed on British beer imports by the tsar. This meant that brewers from the northern English town of Burton upon Trent who usually made beer for export to Russia were on the lookout for new areas in which to expand.

So at precisely the moment when former Bow customers were exploring other options, the Burton brewers were only too happy to step in.

Burton is a town blessed with water that is especially suited to the brewing of beers, and the high-quality offerings produced there in the style of what Bow’s had been exporting to India soon found favor among the colonial clientele.

This style of beer, which subsequently became known as India Pale Ale, quickly became popular in other British possessions around the globe and was exported to distant territories such as Australia and New Zealand – as well as being widely consumed in England itself.

The craft beer revolution and the resurrection of IPA

Although it never disappeared entirely, consumption of IPA dropped throughout the first half of the 20th century as it fell out of fashion.

However, this was not the end of the story for India Pale Ale as it was to experience a resurgence on both sides of the Atlantic, starting from the 1970s.

Since that time, there has been a growing demand for what has been termed “Real Ale” in Britain, a reaction to the mass-produced and often bland lagers that people were then regularly consuming.

This coincided with the craft beer revolution in the US, with brewers keen to experiment with styles that had fallen out of favor. This movement has seen a focus on beers of quality that exhibit unique or interesting flavors, and IPA lends itself perfectly to this exploration and rediscovery of beer by US brewers and consumers.

In particular, American brewers have been keen to produce beers brewed with American hops rather than the European hops that were traditionally used.

The different types of hops available to brewers in the US, along with a range of innovative brewing techniques, has led to an explosion in the types of IPA that are now available. As a result, India Pale Ale has established itself as the darling of the craft beer community both in America and around the world.

Different IPAs to look out for

Different IPA Beer

As one of the most popular, most sought-after styles among craft brewers, aficionados and beer dilettantes alike, a broad range of distinct versions now exists within the IPA family. Here are some of the most important ones to look out for.

1. West Coast IPA

The West Coast was where the recent IPA renaissance began, and these beers are characterized by a distinctive strong hoppy flavor and – usually – a relatively high alcohol content at around 6% ABV or above.

West Coast IPAs tend to use American hops, which imparts a complex flavor profile tending towards citrus and tropical fruits. They are usually bitter, but in a good West Coast IPA, this is balanced by deep maltiness, creating a beer with a crisp taste and a satisfying finish.

2. New England IPA

After West Coast IPA, perhaps the most important North American style is the New England IPA – and right now, this is the style that’s leading the way. These beers are unfiltered, resulting in a cloudy appearance, which is why they are also known as hazy IPAs.

In terms of flavor, expect notes of citrus – especially orange – which makes them crisp and refreshing. They are also less overpoweringly hoppy than West Coast IPAs, so if you’re just taking your first baby steps into the world of IPA, these beers are easy on the palette, making them a great place to start.

There is some controversy associated with these beers, however, with some purists claiming that many of them taste too much like orange juice – and that they are just beers for people who don’t like beer.

Also, some brewers have been accused of prioritizing Insta-friendly haziness over flavor – when in fact, the opaque appearance should be a side-effect of the brewing process rather than its goal.

3. East Coast IPA

The third of the major American versions is East Coast IPA, although it isn’t recognized as a distinct style in the same way as West Coast or New England IPAs. You will be able to recognize these beers by their pronounced hoppiness combined with a stronger, sweeter maltiness than their West Coast brethren, giving them a more balanced feel.

4. Black IPA

Black IPA is a less common style that is distinctively darker in color. This is because the malt is roasted for longer prior to brewing.

5. UK

A range of IPAs is available in the UK, some of which are more traditional in style while other more modern takes also exist. An example of the former is Worthington’s White Shield, a beer that has been brewed since the early days of IPA. In the last few decades, its popularity has grown again after it had fallen out of favor with British drinkers.

Perhaps the most famous of the modern craft beer-style IPAs is Punk IPA from Scottish brewer Brewdog. It is now the best-selling craft beer in the UK and is a common sight in pubs throughout the UK.

6. Fruit IPAs

Nowadays, with brewers trying to come up with more and more exotic techniques and flavors to make their products stand out from the crowd, some have begun incorporating fruit into their brewing process.

For the purist, this might seem like sacrilege, but some of them taste pretty good, making them a good option if you’re looking for something refreshing and unusual.

7. Double IPA

A double IPA gives you more of everything. The original idea was to produce an extra-hoppy beer, but to do this, you need to balance the flavor with more malt – and, in simple terms, this also results in more alcohol.

This beer is a relatively new member of the IPA family. It is a distinctively American creation, a brash and irreverent offspring of the IPA that has attracted many adherents.

IPA has been with us for a long time – and now it’s here to stay

IPA may have gone through a rough patch in the first part of the 20th century, but now it is most definitely back, and it’s unlikely to go away again soon.

There are many different types of IPA to sample, and American-style IPAs have now left the land of their (re)birth and set out to conquer the world. So if you haven’t had chance to enjoy one yet, perhaps it’s about time you did.

Hazy IPA: Everything You Need to Know

Hazy IPA

The burgeoning craft beer movement is already more than a couple of decades old, and one of the most popular styles that has help drive and sustain it is the IPA, the hop explosion that developed from a beer first brewed in 19th-century England.

The IPA has become such a fixture of the craft beer scene that’s it’s now considered more of a staple than something fresh and exciting. But craft brewing is all about challenging expectations and searching for the Next Big Thing, something that has given rise to an irreverent child of Indian Pale Ale, the hazy IPA.

Loved and loathed in equal measures, this is a beer that divides purists and casual drinkers alike – so here, we discuss the question of what is a hazy IPA?

If you want a preview of some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about, you can also check out this video before reading on.

What is a Hazy IPA?

A hazy IPA is easy to recognize due to its cloudy nature – which, unsurprisingly, is why it is so named. There are many takes on this relative newcomer to the craft beer scene, but something they all share is haziness.

The other part of the name is a giveaway, too. Hazy IPAs are IPAs – and as such, the most prominent feature of their flavor profile is hoppiness.

That said, another sought-after characteristic of hazy IPAs is fruitiness, often coming closer to the flavor of an orange juice than a traditional IPA. The turbid nature of the drink also tends to take the edge off the more extreme hoppiness of a regular IPA, making them a more accessible option for those who don’t ordinarily enjoy IPA.

In the world of craft beer aficionados – and beer snobs – these facts alone are enough to stir up plenty of acrimonious controversies, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Before we even begin to talk about any of that, let’s give ourselves a little history lesson to remind ourselves where the hazy IPA came from in the first place.

A bit of beer history

Hazy IPA History

The story of IPA starts in 17th-century England when people began using coke to dry-roast malt. This lightly roasted malt produced a paler style of beer that, by the turn of the century had acquired the name “pale ale”.

At some point, a more generously hopped version of pale ale was produced that proved popular with traders exporting beer to England’s most prized colonial possession, India.

It was found that the extra hops helped the beer survive the long sea voyage, which could take up to six months – and not only that, it was discovered that the time at sea actually seemed to improve the beer.

Whether the extra hops were put into the beer deliberately to make it easier to transport to India or whether it was just a fortuitous discovery is still debated (it was probably the latter), but for our present purposes, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that this strongly hopped type of pale ale was shipped to India in increasing quantities, quickly becoming known as India Pale Ale – or IPA.

Subsequently, demand for this new kind of beer grew throughout the British Empire, including back in England itself – and it enjoyed considerable popularity right up to the First World War.

IPA and the American craft beer revolution

IPA and the American craft beer revolution

Following the war, IPA went into decline in the UK. It never completely disappeared, but it became more of a niche drink than a mainstream tipple.

However, by the 1970s, it began to undergo a renaissance on both sides of the Atlantic. A growing appreciation of Real Ale in Britain saw a resurgence in IPA’s popularity while in the US, the nascent craft beer movement saw brewers taking a new interest in older, largely forgotten styles of beer.

And IPA was a beer that American craft brewers found particularly suited their ethos of experimentation and innovation.

They began brewing IPAs using American hops rather than traditional European ones, something that imparts a much more fruity, citrus flavor to the beer, and IPA quickly established itself as the darling of the craft beer world.

America’s love affair with hops had begun.

A new style of IPA hits the scene

The American IPA pioneers were located on the West Coast, and for this reason, the dominant style of American IPA – quite distinct from its Anglo-Indian progenitor – came to be known as West Coast IPA.

It is characterized by a strong hoppiness and usually – but not always – a higher ABV than many other beers, usually in the 5.5-7.5% range and sometimes higher.

However, the hops explosion of a West Coast IPA – and the hops nuclear blast of its other unruly offspring, the double IPA – may be too much for the palates of some, which leaves space for something a little mellower. Enter the hazy IPA.

The first brewers to come up with something we would recognize as hazy IPA hailed form Vermont – which is why this style is also known as New England IPA – but these creative brewers weren’t trying to invent a cloudy beer.

They were trying to produce something with a gentler hoppy flavor and plenty of fruitiness, and the opaque aspect of the beer, the characteristic for which it has since become known, was a side effect the brewing process rather than the aim.

Where does the haze come from?

Where does the hazy IPA come from

Without going too deep into the science and art of brewing, there are a few reasons why beers can be cloudy.

With hazy IPA, this cloudiness comes from colloidal haze from dry hopping – which means adding extra hops after the yeast has taken care of fermentation.

This is done mainly to add aroma to the beer, but it also adds particulate matter which remains suspended in the liquid, creating haze.

Part of the cloudiness also comes from what is known as “low-flocculating yeast”. This is yeast that doesn’t clump together, rise to the top or sink to the bottom, something else that also contributes to the hazy appearance.

If you want to know more about the long version of the science behind the haziness, check out this video for more info.

Often, turbid beers like this are filtered, but brewers making hazy IPAs claim that this would alter the flavor profile, making the beer more overtly hoppy and less fruity – in short, much more like a regular IPA.

Another way of saying this is that if you filter a hazy IPA, it’s no longer a hazy IPA, but not because it loses its haziness – it’s because it doesn’t taste like one anymore.

The hazy IPA controversy

Now we get to the part where opinion is divided: for some, they’re the sourdough of the beer world; for others, they’re an abomination, a “beer” for people who don’t like drinking beer.

The problem is, they can be so fruity that some purists argue they don’t taste like beer at all. This leads detractors to ask, if you like orange juice, why not just drink orange juice? Why do you need to drink a beer that tastes like orange juice?

Perhaps this comes down to individual taste, but it also depends on the beer.

A hazy IPA should be well balanced, and “balance” is the key word. The flavor should be complex enough to take you on a journey, allowing you to explore the different flavors contained within each sip and within each glass.

This is what a good hazy IPA can do, but a less refined one may be very one-dimensional and uninspiring. So basically, more like drinking a glass of OJ, and that’s never going to win any plaudits with the connoisseurs.

But then if your palate isn’t accustomed to beer and you hate regular IPA but love your hazy, who are the beer snobs to tell you you can’t drink it?

Adding flour to beer?

Adding flour to beer

The second accusation leveled at hazy IPA is that brewers have lost sight of the original concept and are chasing haziness in itself, promoting the cloudy appearance above any other characteristics.

As one of the hottest craft beer styles of the moment – and one that is eminently Instagramable – some brewers have sought to cash in on the coolness factor of the beer while allowing the taste to become more of an afterthought.

In some cases, brewers have even begun adding questionable ingredients – overtly or surreptitiously – to increase the opacity of their brew.

And when it comes to the point of adding things like flour to make beer murkier, many draw the line.

Beer is supposed to be a drink, and brewing it is an art – but the art is in producing a complex and balanced brew full of subtle flavors, not in producing a turbid but photogenic glass of liquid that just looks good on social media.

At least so the argument goes. We’ll let you decide.

A brew worth trying

Hazy IPA is a relative newcomer to the scene, and as such, its brewers are still finding their feet. It was only recognized as a distinct style by the Brewers Association as recently as 2018, so it is unsurprising that there are still many bad ones – along with a few good ones too.

Our advice is to try a selection before passing judgment since the first one to pass your lips may not be the finest example. However, hazy IPA certainly has its fans – as well as many converts from among the more skeptical – so try to keep an open mind until you’ve sampled enough to judge fairly.

India Pale Ale (IPA) vs. Double IPA (DIPA): What’s the Difference?

In the increasingly fashionable world of craft beer, one style now enjoys almost unrivaled popularity, making it the undisputed darling of the movement: the IPA.

Deliciously hopped and often packing a respectable alcoholic punch, IPA lends itself particularly well to craft beer production due to the scope it offers for experimentation and creativity.

However, in the last decade or so, a new kid has shown up on the block. An edgy, elusive beer that defies precise definition, the Double IPA – also known as Imperial IPA or sometimes “DIPA” – has steadily been building a following and making a name for itself.

So, to help you understand what all the fuss is about, here we answer the question, IPA vs. Double IPA – What’s the Difference?

For a preview of some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about, you might also be interested in checking out this video before reading on.

How do you brew beer?

Before we talk about brewing double IPA – or just regular IPA for that matter – it will help if we take a few moments to remind ourselves how beer is produced in the first place.

In the simplest terms, beer is made by fermenting starch sugars, which usually come from malted barley, although other cereal grains can also be used.

The malt is boiled in water to release the starch sugars, creating a liquid called wort. Hops, a natural preservative, are usually then added to balance the sweet flavor of the malt as well as to help prevent the beer from spoiling.

Yeast is then added when the mixture cools, which ferments the sugars, turning them to alcohol and transforming the wort into one of the world’s oldest and most popular beverages, beer.

What is IPA(India Pale Ale)?

India Pale Ale(IPA)

That’s the basics of brewing – so how do you brew an IPA?

IPA – which stands for India Pale Ale – evolved from pale ale, something that was already being brewed in 17th-century England, although people didn’t start referring to it by that name until the turn of the following century.

Back then, dark beers like porter were popular, but when brewers began using malts that were more lightly roasted using coke (a type of processed coal), a much paler beer resulted, hence the name.

Fast forward another hundred years, and the British Empire was reaching its zenith. The vast “empire upon which the sun never set” boasted colonial possessions around the world, and among these, India was preeminent.

A steady stream of ships plied the route between England and India, undergoing a journey of four to six months to carry all manner of goods between the Indian colonies and the motherland, including shipments of beer.

One type of beer that survived the voyage particularly well was a type of generously hopped pale ale.

The traders soon realized that, rather than spoiling during the journey, this type of beer actually benefited from the long sea voyage, and demand for it in India quickly grew.

This demand then spread to other British possessions, and the beer was also greatly sought-after in England itself.

This hoppy style of beer soon acquired the moniker “India Pale Ale” – IPA – and it remained popular throughout the British Empire right up to the First World War.

IPA(India Pale Ale) and the craft beer revolution

After enjoying great popularity for many years, IPA began to fall out of favor from the beginning of the 20th century.

Although it never disappeared entirely, it became far less common and was gradually supplanted in Britain by continental-style lagers.

However, from the 1970s, it began to undergo a renaissance on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Britain, interest in “real ale” began to take hold, and IPA began to make a comeback.

At the same time, with the nascent craft beer movement in the US, especially on the West Coast, creative brewers began experimenting with older, almost forgotten beers styles.

In particular, American craft brewers began brewing IPAs coupled with American hop varieties while also incorporating new brewing techniques into their production.

As a result, a unique type of American IPA appeared that was quite distinct from its British progenitor, and it is this style that has since become the poster boy for the whole American craft brewing movement.

There are now two major well-established IPA styles in the US. The first is known as West Coast IPA, a highly hopped, crisp beer with fruity citrus notes; the second, New England IPA, is an unfiltered cloudy version that sometimes goes by the name of hazy IPA.

There are also some other less famous or less clearly defined American IPAs, of which the best known is East Coast IPA.

So what’s a double IPA(DIPA)?

double ipa

In this atmosphere of creativity and experimentation, with brewers constantly striving to push boundaries and test what was possible, it is hardly surprising that somebody began to wonder, since hops are so popular, what would happen if we throw in a whole load more?

And that’s more or less what happened.

However, the thing about hops is that they are extremely bitter, and just adding more hops is a sure way to spoil your brew.

If you want more hops – and you want a beer that you can actually drink – you need to be able to balance the bitter hoppiness by using more malt.

But if you add more malt, in simple terms, you have more sugar, and that will lead to a higher alcohol content.

It’s not an easy balance to find, but if you get it right, a double IPA gives you more of everything.

They take longer to brew, they offer more hoppy bitterness, they have deeper malty undertones…and they contain more alcohol – double IPAs usually come in at around the 7.5-10% ABV mark.

In other words, double IPAs are big and boisterous hop explosions that also pack enough booze to knock your socks off.

What’s the flavor profile of a double IPA(DIPA)?

As we have already alluded, double IPA is a relative newcomer to the scene, and as such, a clear and generally accepted definition has yet to be established.

In fact, there is some controversy over the naming of this beer since, although descended from IPA, some would claim that this is an entirely new beer style that deserves its own name, perhaps one that references its Californian origins.

Furthermore, although double IPA is a distinctly American creation, due to the global influence of the craft brewing movement in the US, brewers around the world have also begun experimenting with the double IPA style.

The result of all this is that when it comes to double IPAs, it’s still almost a case of “anything goes”, and any extra-hoppy beer can be given the title of “double IPA”.

Of course, when taking your first sip of a double IPA, you expect to be met by the unmistakable bitterness of the hops.

This is likely to be the predominant flavor of the beer, and if it is one brewed using American hops, you can also expect plenty of fruity notes, especially citrus, along with pine and even flowers.

Due to the extra malt required to balance the hops, you are likely to be able to detect stronger undercurrents of malt too. Double IPAs are usually medium bodied, and in terms of appearance, often have a deep amber or rich golden color.

However, since this style hasn’t been around for long and is still at the forefront of brewing innovation, you can also expect to find many variations on these flavor profiles – although drinking a double IPA will always be an intense experience.

What’s an Imperial IPA?

You will sometimes also see beers labeled as “Imperial IPA”, but this is simply another term for a double.

This appellation derives from the late 19th century when strong English stout was brewed for export to the Russian court. These beers were typically stronger than average, and it has been suggested that they were brewed with a higher alcohol content to help them survive the journey.

This is almost certainly false, however. The truth is far simpler – they were brewed stronger because the Russians just preferred drinking stronger beer!

In any case, following this usage, double IPAs are also sometimes referred to as Imperial IPAs to indicate their higher alcohol content.

You may also occasionally hear people claiming that “double IPA” refers to the fact that “Imperial IPA” has two “I”s, effectively giving us “IIPA”.

This is not correct, however. When we talk about a double IPA, we are using “double” in the same way as “double” (or “dubbel”) is used in the Trappist brewing tradition – and not because Imperial IPA has two “I”s.

An exciting all-American take on the IPA

In American culture, bigger is often seen as better, and as a beer that packs in more hops, more malt, more bitterness and, of course, more alcohol, the double IPA fits perfectly into this tradition.

If you’ve tried a “regular” IPA and were delighted by the distinctive enhanced hoppiness that often comes as a surprise the first time it’s experienced, you may well enjoy taking things up a notch and sampling a double. For some, this might be one step too far – but for others, the intense hops explosion of a double is the ultimate IPA experience.

Pale Ale vs IPA: What’s the Difference?

Pale Ale vs IPA

Pale Ale vs IPA What's the Difference

In recent years, with the explosion of the craft beer movement, suddenly we are hearing all kinds of terms that we might have been unfamiliar with before. This is a good thing because the limited assortment of tasteless and characterless beers we were once used to has been replaced by a wealth of interesting and complex beverages for us to try.

However, if you want to understand more about the beers you are drinking, as a novice beer connoisseur, this means you have a whole new vocabulary to learn. To help, in this post, we introduce two common beer terms you are likely to come across as we explain pale ale vs IPA.

For a preview of some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about, you can also check out this video before reading on.

How is beer made?

Before we talk about pale ale and IPA, it may help if we take a step back and remind ourselves how beer is made in the first place.

The art of brewing beer can be intricate and complicated, and there is almost limitless scope for experimentation – which is at the heart of the craft beer movement – but in the most basic terms, it is relatively simple to understand.

In essence, beer is brewed by using yeast to ferment starch sugars from cereal grains.

The most common source of starch sugars is malted barley, although other grains can also be used.

First, crushed malt is mixed with hot water to convert the starch to sugars, and the resulting liquid is known as wort.

Next, the wort is boiled to evaporate off the water and to kill any remaining enzymes, and hops are usually also added. Hops serve the dual purpose of acting as a preservative while also counterbalancing the sweetness of the wort with their natural bitterness.

After this, the wort is cooled and the yeast is added to ferment the wort, turning it into beer.

So what is pale ale?

Pale Ale

What we’ve just described above is a simplified overview of the brewing process, and many possible variations are possible, providing us with an almost bewildering array of possible styles.

But what exactly is pale ale? And how do you make it?

Pale ales have existed for centuries and were brewed at least as far back as the 17th century.

Back then, beers were usually brewed with darker malts, resulting in a dark colored beer, but from around the middle of the 17th century, people began dry-roasting malt with coke (a type of processed coal, not a sugary soft drink!), and this lighter malt produced a lighter colored beer.

It appears that by around the beginning of the 18th century, people had started referring to these beers as “pale ales”, and the first known advertisement using this term was published in the Calcutta Gazette of 1784, offering “light and excellent” pale ales.

The pale ales of the day contained more hops than other popular beers, which gave rise to another popular term, “bitter”, that was also used to describe this style of beer.

Pale ales have remained more or less popular ever since, “pale ale” is a term that can now be applied to a wide range of related but varying styles.

However, what pale ales all have in common is that they are generally made with pale malts and are usually brewed with top-fermenting yeasts.

How about IPA?

IPA Beer

One extremely fashionable member of the pale ale tribe is IPA – or India Pale Ale.

IPA has its own long and interesting history, but the short version is that it was a type of well-hopped pale ale that became popular with traders plying the route between England and India from around the mid-19th century.

Since, as we have already seen, hops is a natural preservative, these beers were especially suited for the arduous sea journey that could take between four and six months.

It is unlikely that these beers were specially formulated for export to India. However, the six-month voyage by ship was found to actually improve the quality of the beer, and as a result, it became much sought-after in the British Empire’s most prized colony.

This style of beer subsequently became known as India Pale Ale and quickly gained favor not only in India but also in other parts of the British Empire – as well as in England itself.

What is IPA today?

IPA remained popular until the First World War, but after that, it gradually fell out of favor as continental-style lagers increased in popularity.

However, from around the 1970s with the incipient craft beer movement, brewers and drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic began to take notice of this half-forgotten beer once again.

On the East Coast of the US in particular, where brewers were becoming interested in reviving and experimenting with beer styles that had gone out of fashion, IPA became a particular favorite.

Rather than using traditional European hops, they began incorporating American hops varieties into the brewing process, creating IPAs with fresh and exciting new flavor profiles.

IPA is now inarguably the darling of the craft beer community, and the two most recognizable styles in the US are East Coast IPA, a crisp, citrus beer, and New England IPA, an unfiltered beer characterized by its cloudy appearance.

On the other side of The Pond, in the UK, Brewdog’s Punk IPA has established itself as the most popular craft-style beer in the country.

Are there any other types of pale ale to look out for?

other types of pale ale

As we have seen, a “pale ale” is a broad term that can be applied to a range of beers, and IPA is just one example. So are there any others that are worth looking out for?

In short, yes, there are plenty of others. Here are a few of the most interesting ones to look out for.

Blonde

A style of beer that is especially popular in France and Belgium, they are characterized by a light color and a crisp taste with a light bitter hoppiness. Some of the most famous examples from Belgium include Duvel, Leffe and Grimbergen.

The usual alcohol content of blondes is around 5% – although at 8.5%, Duvel is a much stronger example.

English bitter

When pale ale first appeared in England, the terms “pale ale” and “bitter” were used interchangeably to distinguish the style from other beers like porters and milds.

With time, brewers began using the term “bitter” exclusively for cask beers while “pale ale” was reserved for those in bottles.

In the UK, these beers are commonly found in traditional pubs where they are “pulled” from a cask. They are usually served at close to room temperature rather than chilled like lagers.

Burton Pale Ale

Burton upon Trent, a town in the north of England, is blessed with a water source that is particularly suited to the brewing of pale ales due to its high gypsum content.

Burton was a center for the brewing of pale ales – as well as IPAs for export to India and elsewhere – until a way was discovered to replicate the water conditions chemically in the 19th century.

Even after brewers began to refer to pale ales in casks as “bitter”, pale ale from Burton continued to be known as Burton Pale Ale.

American Pale Ale

American Pale Ale first appeared in the 1980s as part of the craft beer movement when American brewers began to experiment with local ingredients such as local varieties of hops.

There is some crossover between an American IPA and an American Pale Ale, but the distinction is in the amount of hoppiness in the flavor. A more heavily hopped beer will usually be called an IPA while one that is less aggressively hopped with American hops may be termed an American Pale Ale.

However, there is no strict delineation between the two, and often, the brewery will decide to call it whatever it chooses. For example, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is considered an American Pale Ale although it could quite easily be classified as an IPA – simply because that’s what the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. decided to call it!

Bière de garde

This is a type of beer that was originally developed in the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region of France. They were brewed during winter and spring because the summer weather could cause unpredictable problems with the yeast, making brewing during that period unreliable.

These beers were intended to be stored in a cellar until they were needed, and traditionally, the bottles were stopped with corks. They are characterized by a golden color and a smooth, slightly bitter flavor.

Many styles of beers to try

In sum, IPAs are just one type of pale ale, of which many others also exist. Pale ales have been with us for centuries, and the term now covers a huge range of styles, making it difficult to generalize beyond saying that they are usually top-fermented and brewed with lighter malts.

Thanks to the innovation that has accompanied the craft beer movement, the term IPA now also covers a diverse selection of beers with varying levels of alcohol content and a range of flavor profiles. However, very broadly speaking, an IPA is a generously-hopped style of pale ale that has become one of the most popular types of beer among craft beer enthusiasts.

31 Best Specialty Craft Beers In the USA

Maybe you picked up a brewing habit in lockdown. Or maybe you just prefer artisanal tastes to mass-market ones. Either way, home-crafted alcohol is beloved around the world, whether it’s bottled sake or intensely fermented kombucha. Let’s look at some of the most popular specialty beers in the USA. Some are pre-packed, others you probably shouldn’t try in your crockpot!

But first a primer. Beer is – generally speaking – any malt drink fermented with yeast and flavored with hops.  They can be ales (e.g. porter, stout, wheat, etc. fermented using warmer top fermentation where yeast settles above the vat) or lagers e.g. (pilsners, Helles, etc. fermented using colder bottom fermentation where yeast sinks to the bottom of the beer barrel).

These specialty brews are sometimes marketed as artisanal beer or craft beer, so we’ll use these terms interchange-ably. And while some of us are happy to start the beer-making process from scratch, most of us are content to crack open a ready bottle or pop open a pre-chilled can. So here’s a list of 31 specialty beers in the USA. We’re sure you’ll find one in a bar near you!

1. Ommegang Brewery, New York – Witte Ale

Ommegang Brewery, New York – Witte Ale

For lots of people, beer and Belgium are synonymous. So if you’re in New York and looking for crafty brews, try Ommegang. They have a café and restaurant for social drinking and fun nights out. But they also have a delivery service and curbside pick-up. If you haven’t had their beer before, Witte Ale and Three Philosophers are popular suggestions for gluten-friendly novices.

The venue has an old-school rustic feel, authentically mimicking a Belgian barn. Ommegang beer is brewed in five series including limited editions and GoT. The Ommegang Brewery sits in Milford. This former farmland once grew hops on its 136-acre grounds, located a little south of Cooperstown. The area is sometimes called Nova Belgium, and they host beer festivals regularly.

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2. Ithaca Beer Company, New York – Flower Power IPA

Ithaca Beer Company, New York – Flower Power IPA

IPAs (India Pale Ales) are often brewed on the West Coast of the US. This is because hops were originally grown in that area. Depending on what stats you check, the figure is quoted as anything from 75% to 97%, mostly in Yakima Valley. But Ithaca Beer Co. is a North East Coast crew that makes a mean artisanal beer. They even named their flagship after the hops flower.

Ithaca Flower Power IPA has an ABV of 7.4% and is flavored with pale honey malt. It’s a fruity beer with hints of clover, grapefruit, and pineapple. Its psychedelic product label echoes the swinging sixties tribute in its name. It’s considered the best IPA in New York and ‘hopped and malted’ every quarter, earning itself bragging rights and proving its tagline as a year-round beer.

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3. Stone Brewing Company, California – Bueneveza Lager

Stone Brewing Company, California – Bueneveza Lager

With quirky product names like Bueneveza and Scorpion Bowl, Stone Brewing is among the top ten artisanal beer producers in the US. They have two bases in California and Virginia, so they cover both traditional growing spots. Their IPAs are legendary, and the company is also known for its limited-edition releases. Stone IPAs are available year-round with ABV as high as 8.5%.

The company also has smaller facilities in Napa and Liberty Station, as well as several restaurants and beer taprooms. Their gargoyle mascot logo represents their brewing philosophy and quality. So whether you want double artisanal ruination or you prefer the tropical thunder of gargoyle lager, you can find Stone Beer in all 50 states plus 40 foreign countries.

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4. Alaskan Brewing Company, Alaska – Smoked Porter

Alaskan Brewing Company, Alaska – Smoked Porter

Depending on your demographic, Alaska might bring to mind ice caps, global warming, 6-month nights, moose, or paranormal romance – mostly husky werewolves. But Alaskan Brewing is also known for their Smoked Porter. It has an ABV of 6.5% and is smoked by hand. Many Alaskan brewers use the same smoker for their beer, fish, and meat, so the flavors are sure to mingle.

This may not sound pleasant, but it works because Alaskan Smoked Porter pairs better with food than other porter brands. This specially smoked beer can also withstand prolonged sub-zero temperatures. This is partly due to the hand-smoked malt used to brew these beers. One of their newer offerings is a berry-based IPA they’ve labeled Berry Milkshake. It has an ABV of 7%.

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5. Allagash Brewing Company, Maine – Allagash White

Allagash Brewing Company, Maine – Allagash White

Based in Portland, Maine, Allagash Brewing is best known for its Belgian wheat beer – Allagash White. They have other brands like River Trip ale and North Sky stout. The brewery also offers a line of ‘spontaneously fermented’ Coolship series and fruity Little Grove sparkling session ale. Allagash was the 2019 winner of the James Beard Outstanding Beer and Wine Pros.

Maine grants Benefit Corporation Status (B-Corp) to green companies that keep staff, customers, the community, the taxman, and the environment happy. As an artisanal beer specialist, Allagash became the first company certified by the B Lab. All their beers are brewed in the Belgian style, from their seasonal limited offerings to their year-round bottles.

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6. Victory Brewing Company, Philadelphia – Easy Ringer IPA

Victory Brewing Company, Philadelphia – Easy Ringer IPA

Not everybody brews beer in their bathtub. Or at least they don’t stay that way. Some artisanal beer companies have quite a large footprint. Victory Brewing is one such example. It started as a 1985 friendly home brewing ‘contest’ between childhood buddies Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet. They eventually opened a brewery together in 1996 and they now source 33.

They trained under Theo DeGroen, a German brewer at BBC (Baltimore Brewing Company) and Old Dominion Brewing Company before venturing out on their own. Victory’s flagship is HopDevil IPA, but their lo-cal Easy Ringer ‘diet beer’ is popular too. One of their four taprooms – the one in Parkesburg – has a raised platform where guests can view the brewing process.

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7. Founders Brewing Company, Michigan – All Day IPA

Founders Brewing Company, Michigan - All Day IPA

With specialty beers in the USA (and elsewhere), it’s more than just the taste or the buzz. It’s about the experience. That’s why many artisanal brewers have taprooms in addition to supplying stores, homes, and bars. Founders has a taproom at each of its breweries. The taprooms open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 9 pm though you can’t get in past 8.15.

The taprooms (and breweries) in Detroit and Grand Rapids provide tours and brewing classes too. As for their offerings, Founders has seven lines of beverages that include a series of flavored seltzers and a mothership series of limited edition bottles. Check their website for availability.

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8. Dogfish Head Brewery, Delaware – Slightly Mighty IPA

Dogfish Head Brewery, Delaware – Slightly Mighty IPA

Specialty beers are a bit like rock bands – half the fun is in the name. So, for example, everyone has heard of catfish, but dogfish? As a beer? Yes. And they lead with a lo-cal IPA called Slightly Mighty that packs a measly 95 calories per can and just 3.6g of carbs, 1g of protein, and 4 ABV. This bitter drink has the sweet, fruity accents of pineapple, mango, coconut, and citrus.

In 2020, Dogfish IPAs are rated by brewing time, so they have a 60-minute, 75-minute, 90-minute, and 120-minute offering. As they heat their hops, they periodically add batches to the boiler at least once a minute. So the 60-minute IPA will have hops added 60 times. This gives the beer its bitter taste. Dogfish also produce other ales, stouts, and lagers all year round.

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9. Bell’s Beer, Michigan – Best Brown Ale

Bell’s Beer, Michigan – Best Brown Ale

Deep in the heart of 1970s Kalamazoo, Michigan, a baker named Larry Bell discovered fun new things to do with yeast. As a staffer at Sarkozy Bakery, he began experimenting with brewing techniques and eventually opened Bell’s in 1985. It started as a local liquor store with a soup pot that brewed 15 gallons. It later grew into a brewery – Kalamazoo Brewing Supply Company.

They started with Amber Ale and currently have four beer lines – year-round, specialty, seasonal, and Larry’s Library of limited edition bottles. The brewery offers a convenient 12-month availability calendar on its website so you can check when your preferred brand is on tap. For Fall 2020, their seasonal brew is Best Brown Ale with its trademark owl mascot.

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10. Geary Brewing Company, Maine – Geary’s Pale Ale

Geary Brewing Company, Maine – Geary’s Pale Ale

Do you believe in (un)lucky numbers? Well, Geary Brewing was founded in 1983 as the first craft brewery in New England. Their lucky license number is #13 and their flagship was 1986 Geary’s Pale Ale. They offer Beer Garden services in the summer, and their specialty beers are divided into five categories of heritage (i.e. vintage), cotemporary, year-round, and seasonal beverages.

The company brews both British-style and American-style craft beer served on tap, 12-oz bottles, or 16-oz cans. Some of their beers come in 12-oz cans as well. The brewery has perfected both open and closed fermentation systems. This specialty brewer is committed to conservation and sustainability. They use renewable energy and donate their used grain to Portland farmers.

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11. New Glarus Brewing Company, Wisconsin – Coffee Stout

New Glarus Brewing Company, Wisconsin – Coffee Stout

This is a relatively young maker of specialty brews in the USA. The company started in 2017 by Dan and Deb Carey. Daniel studies brewing in university, including an internship in Germany. Deb specializes in marketing and entrepreneurship. So far, the company produces six beer brands, all listed on their beer schedule. The company offers brewery tours as well.

Dan creates limited edition Thumbprint beers a few times a year. It keeps his spirits up, pun intended, and you can check the beer calendar to see what’s available when. Their seasonal offerings include Cabin Fever, Coffee Stout, and Totally Naked. Use the Beer Finder on the brewery’s website to find a retail supplier near you. New Glarus currently has one location.

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12. Anchor Brewing Company, California – Anchor Porter

Anchor Brewing Company, California – Anchor Porter

Fritz Maytag sounds like a made-up name. Especially if it’s closely followed by ‘bunging’ and ‘kräusening’ because they sound equally invented. They’re not though. Fritz was the owner of Anchor Brewing in 1977 when they moved to their current premises. The brewery was initially a beer-and-billiards salon owned by Gottlieb Brekle in gold-rush California. He opened in 1871.

In 1896, the saloon was renamed Anchor Brewery by its new owners, Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr. Otto was married to Ernst’s daughter. The brewery closed during the 1920 prohibition but re-opened in 1933 and still brews beer in traditional copper pots to date. Bunging and kräusening are brewing techniques, and Anchor’s flagship is Porter.

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13. Widmer Brothers Brewery, Oregon – Hefe IPA

Widmer Brothers Brewery, Oregon – Hefe IPA

You may have noticed from this list so far that Portland (both in Oregon and Maine) is a popular brewing sot for specialty beers in the USA. And that IPAs are a must-have item on their taproom menus. Widmer Brothers is part of that club, owned and run by Kurt and Rob Widmer. They started brewing at home when it became legal in 1979 but didn’t open the brewery until 1984.

Initially, they distributed directly to pubs and bars. They were the first specialty brewers to start releasing seasonal beer in 1986, and they launched the Oregon Beer Fest in 1988. Up until 1996, they operated beer taps, but they started bottling in 1996. Today, they have 24 taps in their Widmer Brothers Pub and the IPA, Hefeweizen (better known as Hefe) is their current flagship.

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14. Elysian Brewing Company, Washington – Superfuzz Pale Ale

Elysian Brewing Company, Washington – Superfuzz Pale Ale

Companies that make specialty beers in the US have a template. They’ll release 4 or 5 series that include multiple IPAs. Possibly because their fruity flavors leave lots of wiggle room for signature recipes and formulations. Elysian takes the opposite approach. They have launched over 500 craft beers since 1996. All with quintessentially American names like Space Dust.

Elysian has three venues in Seattle. Two are restaurants and one is the brewery taproom. This contemporary brewery s big on quantity, so they produce a new beer brand every week. They’ve won three awards for Large Brewpub of the Year, presented at the Great American Beer Festival.

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15. Lagunitas Brewing Company, California – Hazy Wonder IPA

Lagunitas Brewing Company, California – Hazy Wonder IPA

Lagunitas is popular among the podcast crowd. Tony Magee started brewing beer on his stovetop in 1993 before moving his formal brewery site to a nearby storage shed. Today, Lagunitas has three taprooms in Petaluma, Seattle, and Chicago, all with a strong heritage of supporting locals. They routinely host live bands and even global headliners. Plus, they curate Spotify playlists.

Beer wise, Hazy Wonder is among their top seasonal IPAs, but if you want to explore specialty beers in the USA, consider trying their Hi-Fi Hops, a fusion of liquefied cannabis and fruity ale. It’s sparkling, has no alcohol, no carbs, and no calories. It comes in three flavors with varying THC: CBD ratios – Tuner (18:1), Unplugged (55), and Reverb (10:0).

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16. Pizza Port/The Lost Abbey, California – Cuvee de Tomme

Pizza PortThe Lost Abbey, California – Cuvee de Tomme

If you’ve ever doubted the importance of copyright, learn that lesson now. When brewer Tomme Arthur developed his Cuvee de Tomme in 1999, he set his rights right. So when he moved to a new brewer, he was able to carry his treasure with him. He developed this beacon of specialty beers in the USA while working at Pizza Port Brewery. It’s a brown ale with cherry accents.

The fruity infusions in this beer include raisins, malted barley, candi sugar, sour cherries, aromatic vanilla, and dusty cocoa. The beer id pre-fermented then aged in oak bourbon barrels. This beer has won numerous awards, and if brewed using Brettanomyces yeast as a disinfectant.

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17. SweetWater Brewing, Georgia – Trainwreck Hazy Double IPA

SweetWater Brewing, Georgia - Trainwreck Hazy Double IPA

How well do you know your specialty beers in the USA? If you’ve dabbled in the space for a while, you know a craft beer with ‘haze’ or ‘hazy’ in its name implies marijuana. These beers infuse cannabis into the beverage. SweetWater Brewing calls its hazy line ‘420 Strain’. It includes five branded ales, IPAs, and lagers, with Trainwreck being a firm favorite.

This 8% ABV drink is available on tap, 12-oz cans or bottles. This dank drink is peppered with citrus orange, pine, and vanilla. It uses Amarillo, Azacca, Bravo, Centennial, and Lotus. The beverage is infused with terpenes that bring out these flavorful strains. You can eat and drink at the newly renovated SweetWater taproom. The bar currently has 24 variants in their beer taps.

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18. Anchorage Brewing Company, Alaska – Bitter Monk IPA

Anchorage Brewing Company, Alaska – Bitter Monk IPA

Loves of specialty beers in the USA will often try to brew a batch at home. Looking at a typical artisanal brewery is part of that process. You want inspiration, ideas, and an inkling of where to start. Anchorage Brewing has a convenient 3D virtual tour on their website. They invite you to visit the most key corners of their facility without leaving home of dropping the phone.

The company was founded by brewers Bart Chelmo and Gabe Fletcher. Their trademark drink is Bitter Monk brewed in casks of chardonnay oak. It’s a sour beer derived from Belgian yeast. The barrels are treated with wild Brettanomyces and the beer is dry-hopped with Citra.

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19. Georgetown Beer, Washington – Bodhizafa IPA

Georgetown Beer, Washington – Bodhizafa IPA

Bodhizafa sounds a lot like bodhisattva, the state of bliss and enlightenment of attaining Buddhahood. It sometimes describes meditating monks who are consciously along their path. As a craft beer drinker, the implication seems cheekily obvious. But whatever the origin, this IPA is brewed from rolled oats rather than wheat, giving the beer a silky feel on your palate.

Coincidentally (or not?) this IPA has an ABV of 6.9% and a rich, citrusy mandarin orange flavor. Every barrel of Bodhizafa is loaded with 5 pounds of hops so the beer has lots of body and lots of bodhi too. The brewery itself does seem rather serendipitous since its founders – Manny Chao and Roger Bialous – got affordable 15-barrel brewing kits from a dying North Carolina brewery!

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20. Odell Brewing Company, Colorado – Golden Ale

Odell Brewing Company, Colorado – Golden Ale

In the old days, grain elevators were used to transport and store food in silos and towers. One of these elevators – traced back to 1915 – became the brewing base for Odell. The cylindrical structure has good acoustics, which is helpful because Odell routinely hosts live shows. The brewery was started by the Odells in 1989 – Corkie, her brother Doug, and his wife Wynne.

In 2015, the Odells sold most of the company’s shares to its staff, so now it’s an employee-owned set-up. Before starting up the company, Doug worked at Anchor Brewery, which we mentioned earlier in this list. Their first offering was Golden Ale. All their beers start in a 5-barrel pilot system. Once the recipe is perfected, they get officially moved to the 135-barrel production line.

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21. Wren House Brewing, Arizona – Spellbinder IPA

Wren House Brewing, Arizona – Spellbinder IPA

With an ingredient list that includes lupulin powder, oatmeal, Citra, and wheat, Spellbinder is a suitable name. This mid-level ale isn’t as dry as British IPAs or as bodied as American ones, creating a happy median. The brew has an ABV of 6.5% and is a home brew in the realest sense.

The owners spotted the abandoned property in Green Gables and snapped it up. They turned the guesthouse and garage into a brewery, converting the main house into a taproom. Brewer Preston Thoeny runs the show, and the homespun feel of this venue adds to the appeal.

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22. Rogue Ales & Spirits, Oregon – Combat Wombat IPA

Rogue Ales & Spirits, Oregon – Combat Wombat IPA

Three Nike executives walk into a bar … and take over from the bartender. Well, not exactly, but they did start a company brewing specialty beers in the USA. They call themselves the Brewers on the Bay, and their headquarters offers a gorgeous view of the marina and has 40 beer taps.

And given the founders’ background, it’s a comprehensive set-up from farm to froth. The Oregon HQ has a brewery, a distillery, and a barrel-making factory in addition to the taproom. Tours are available daily, and beer selections include Combat Wombat and Shavasana Blonde.

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23. Perennial Artisan Ales, Missouri – La Bohème

Perennial Artisan Ales, Missouri – La Bohème

The definition of specialty beers in the USA varies. But generally, beer is considered artisanal if it’s a domestic operation or a small facility without the backing of ‘big corporates’. Some may dismiss Rogue Ale and embrace Perennial based on this criterion, since the Rogues and ex-Nike.

Perennial opened in 2011. Its weirdly named beers include Grapefruit Spare Parts IPA or Lunchbox Treasures, a strange-sounding combination of vanilla, marshmallow, nutmeg, and cinnamon brewed into a stout. But Belgian La Bohème is recommended by first-time visitors.

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24. Oskar Blues Brewery, Colorado – Dale’s Pale Ale

Oskar Blues Brewery, Colorado – Dale’s Pale Ale

Microbrewing isn’t always about size. But many craft beers stay local and tapped. They don’t go into bottling or even canning. Oskar Blues made the leap though. In 2002, it became the first specialty beer in the USA to be served in a can. Of course, this brewing crew is much larger now. They have breweries in Texas, North Carolina, and the Colorado HQ. Pale Ale is their top seller.

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25. Russian River Brewing Company, California – Pliny the Elder DIPA

Russian River Brewing Company, California – Pliny the Elder DIPA

You probably know the acclaim of Russian vodka, but this dude brew packs a mean punch, pun intended. In 1997, a company called Korbel Champagne Cellars started RRBC. But after 6 years, they weren’t feeling it anymore so they sold the beer brand, its recipes, and its equipment to staff members Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo. Their top seller is Pliny Double Dry-Hopped IPA.

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26. Great Divide Brewing Company, Colorado – Collette Farmhouse Ale

Great Divide Brewing Company, Colorado – Collette Farmhouse Ale

There’s an urban legend that American beer is weak because initially, its ABV hovered at 3.5% while the global intoxication preferences were 4% to 6%. Today, Great Divide prides itself on craft beers as high as 7% or more. Its taproom offers 16 beer taps and if you want a bite to go with your booze, you can buy something from the numerous food trucks and popup stands.

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27. Blue Moon Brewing – Blue Moon

Blue Moon Brewing – Blue Moon

In some parts of the world, Blue Moon is a brand of low-grade vodka. But it’s among the top-selling specialty beers in the USA. Its history is controversial though. Blue Moon beer is a knock off by Coors, reverse-engineered off Pierre Celis Wit, a Belgian beer he introduced in 1992.

Pierre sold his Celis Wit brand to Miller Brewing Company in 1995, but they discontinued it in the year 2000 because they couldn’t challenge Blue Moon. Both beers are fermented in Belgian style using wheat malt (as opposed to American-style wheat beers that are left unfiltered).

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28. New Belgium Brewing Company, NC – La Folie Sour Brown Ale

New Belgium Brewing Company, NC – La Folie Sour Brown Ale

You might have picked up a few things from this list. Like the popularity of craft beers in Michigan, Oregon, Cali, and Philly. Or how many of these craft beers come from Belgium. La Folie is one such Flemish import. Its name translates as ‘the madness’ or ‘the idiocy’.

This might refer to the perceived folly of brewing Belgian beer in the states, but it ended up being a clever gambit. It has hints of cherry, plum skin, and green apple in oak barrels.

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29. Boulevard Brewing Company, Missouri – Quirk Spiked & Sparkling

Boulevard Brewing Company, Missouri – Quirk Spiked & Sparkling

As their Quirk sparkling seltzers are … picking up steam … pun intended, the brand is getting bigger. Usually, seltzers are a chaser, but these seltzers are ‘spiked’ with 4.2% ABV. Quirk comes in blackberry and pear. Boulevard Brewing also offers cannabeers like Phantom Haze. Their first canned Smokestack Series brand is Tank 7, an artisanal ale with an ABV of 8.5%.

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30. Goose Island Beer Company, Illinois – So-lo IPA

Goose Island Beer Company, Illinois – So-lo IPA

In 1988, John Hall went on a European tour, feel in love with their beer, and brought some back home. He launched his craft brewing company in Chicago, and in 2011, Anheuser-Busch acquired Goose Island. But the brand remains crafty and artisanal, including their popular brand of diet beer, So-lo. It carries 98 calories per can and but has a dismal ABV of just 3%.

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31. Shock Top Brewing, Missouri – Belgian White

Shock Top Brewing, Missouri – Belgian White

We’ve mentioned several times that strange names seem prerequisite for specialty beers in the USA, and Shock Top certainly qualifies, right down to its mohawked tangerine mascot. Belgian White (5.2% ABV) is its flagship. That makes sense because Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev) is their mother company. Shock Top also comes in ruby fresh and lemon shandy variants.

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Do you have a bottle or can of your favorite specialty beer? Show us a photo in the comments!