Last week, I let out a loud bellow complaining of the current landscape of the trading scene. I ended the piece with the solution of drinking local, easy to obtain beer. So in this article, rather than listing a bunch of amazing, yet hard to get IPAs, I’d like to share a list of awesome and easy to obtain craft IPAs. As long as you check the date on it, the recommendation should hold true. Are you wondering where some of the beers not listed are? I deemed them not easy enough to obtain. Once Jai Alai and Six Point Resin get a wider distribution, they will be sitting pretty on this list.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale – There was a time when getting your hands on Bell’s was kind of hard to do, but with Bell’s recent expansion initiatives, their flagship IPA is getting in reach of beer lovers all around. Two Hearted is a textbook example of the American IPA. This beer has a beautiful color, great classic C hop aroma. This does have a substantial malt body, and it serves the beer well. If you can snag a mini keg of this, you will be the life of the party.
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA – This hasn’t been on the market that long, but as soon as Deschutes released this beer, it became an instant hit. Typically, hoppy beers I’ve tried from Deschutes have been hoppy, yet balanced in the end, but this beer resembles something that leans closer to the highly aromatic West Coast IPA profile, which is why it may be one of their biggest hits to date.
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA – Firestone Walker has expanded a great deal over the past few years, and this means you can get familiar with all of the Jacks. The sweet spot between Easy, Union, Wooky and Double is Union Jack IPA. This is a definite West Coast IPA, but gives a wink to England with a rich malt presence that makes this beer so easy to enjoy. Last year they began canning this in addition to big and little bottles, and I find it even more enjoyable than before.
Green Flash Soul Style IPA – While Green Flash may have you believe their flagship West Coast IPA is their best IPA, last year, they released Soul Style IPA, which I find to be far superior, and just as easy to obtain. This beer bursts with tropical hop aroma from a mile away, has that signature dry bitter Green Flash bite, and a sturdy, yet low malt presence.
Oskar Blues IPA – When I took my first sip of Oksar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale years ago, I thought it was pretty damn close to a remarkable IPA. Since then, brewers have pushed the boundaries of hops while scaling back on the malt bill, all while maintaining drinkability. Last year, Oskar Blues added a perfect rendition of a West Coast/ San Diego style IPA to their focused lineup. It hits all the right notes for me as an IPA lover/beer drinker. It’s pale, it’s dry, it’s aromatic, finishes clean, and drinks perfectly fine even from the can.
Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA – For decades, Sierra Nevada was most famous for their green labeled, flagship Pale Ale. By most people’s standards, that defined hoppy beer. Then along came Torpedo IPA, which almost seemed like a doubled version of Pale Ale. It had plenty of hops, but was a bit on the malty side. With all of the techniques and resources at Sierra Nevada, they were able to formulate an innovative IPA last year called Hop Hunter. Using distilled hop oils from freshly picked hops, they were able to capture a great deal of fresh essence and flavor for this beer. What makes me happy is it weighs in at 6.2% abv., so I can enjoy more than I could with Torpedo.
Stone Go-To IPA – Stone makes many beers that have the acronym IPA in it. We know this. My favorite of them all for my daily drinking and enjoyment is their Go-To IPA. You can smell it a mile away upon cracking one open. It is magically crafted in such a way that it feels full bodied, has quick zippy bitterness that doesn’t linger too long, all in a 4.5% abv. beer.
So what did I miss? Sound off in the comment section below. Cheers!