Happy IPA Day everyone!
As you know, I’m a huge craft beer fan and IPAs hold a very special place in my heart. They were the style that got me into craft beer and while I’ve branched out to many other styles, they’re still my favorite. I consume far more of these gifts from the hop gods than other beer style. So I thought it only fitting to share my favorite IPAs today.
Before we begin, a few notes about me and beer:
- I’m not a beer expert by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t sniff a beer and find trace scents of frosty mountain pine or salted caramel. Yeah, sometimes I pick up on some major notes, but don’t look for any nuances from me. I just know what I like.
- When I use the term balanced, I mean the beer didn’t fling me off of the hops seesaw. Whatever technical reasons for the balance can be found on a site like Beer Advocate where experts and those posing as such describe every minute element of every beer.
- I only truly hopped on the craft beer wagon a little over a year ago (see what I did there).
- Because I’m still a newbie, I try to cut myself some slack for not knowing everything. I’ll get there. Until then, I’m just gonna enjoy my beer!
- I apologize in advance for any cheesy use of the word hops throughout this post. It can’t be helped.
Saddle up to the bar and get ready for some major hopitude:
Sculpin IPA- Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits, Massachusetts
American IPA- 7.00% ABV
Great flavor, well balanced and very smooth. It’s a bit on the lighter side of the IPAs I tend to prefer most. I first tasted this one on our last trip to Pensacola at Hopjacks Filling Station at the recommendation of the bartender. If you’re ever in Pcola, you should check this place out. It’s part bar, part growler filling station, part beer store, and part restaurant. All of those things add up to it being totally awesome.
IPA- Lagunitas Brewing Company, California
American IPA- 6.20% ABV
Initially hoppy, smooths out as you sip. A bit dark for an IPA. This one’s been around for a while (1995). Back then I thought beer tasted horrible (probably because growing up in a redneck town my tastings were limited to Natural Lite and Bud). How wonderful that all these years later it turns out to be one of my favorites.
IPA- Sweetwater Brewing Company, Georgia
American IPA- 6.30% ABV
Very well balanced, but the hops are still the star. Awww Sweetwater. It’s beer excellence right in my own backyard. This is my go to when I’m not out trying something new. It has great drink-ability compared to the next two on my list.
Galactica- Clown Shoes , Massachusetts
American Double/Imperial IPA- 8.00% ABV
Well balanced and a bit malty but packing one hell of punch! I just discovered this a few weeks ago at our liquor store. I was eye-balling the four packs (why god must I always gravitate toward the expensive stuff??) and another customer said, “Oh, you have to get that!” He went on and on about its deliciousness and as he was a fellow IPA enthusiast, I took his advice. Man, was I not disappointed. This may be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. It has almost dethroned my favorite IPA.
and last, but certainly not least, my darling of IBUs, the hops of my heart, the lumber to my jack……
Timber Beast- Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, Mississippi
American Double/Imperial IPA- 9.00% ABV
Unbalanced, a bit skunky, and unapologetically hoppy. This beer just shoves it in your face. Seriously, I always half expect a hops plant to actually sprout out of the bottle when opened. My friend Bee calls this my sweat sock beer. Maybe this wasn’t the one to ease him into IPAs….
Well, there you have it, five IPAs that satisfy my craft beer newbie tongue. Have you had any of them? What are your favorite IPAs?
Stay positive & love your life!
Random fact: The first beer I remember really loving is Killian’s Irish Red. Can’t remember the last time I had one of those.