The India Pale Ale, more commonly referred to as the IPA, is probably the most prominent and celebrated member in the American craft beer game. Contrary to what most people might think about IPAs, however, they aren’t all citrusy hop-monsters—there are actually quite a few subcategories of IPAs to explore and get to know. From the single-note British IPAs to the more iconic West Coast variety and even the soft, lethargic Oat IPA, there is a world to taste and navigate.
Such a heavy focus on this specific craft is bound to bear some winning beers, and we believe it definitely has.
Here’s our list of the best IPA beers that will show you what all the IPA buzz is about:
1. Stone IPA
Chances are that this horned bottle has caught your eye once or twice when browsing the craft beer shelves at the liquor store. The Stone Brewing Company has become one of the most respected craft brewers around the globe, and for good reason. The well-respected bottle of IPA boasts over two decades of fame, offering a palate of eight hops that is a monument of pride when it comes to West Coast IPAs. Take a sip of this bitter California classic to taste just what got West Coast IPAs to become the face of the India Pale Ale in general.
2. Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA
Here’s a truly democratic champion of ales. Despite being owned by Heineken, Lagunitas can be found in a huge variety of settings where respected beer tasters give the beer a knowing nod for how well done it really is. You should be able to find this IPA in bottles and on tap almost everywhere, even in your local dive bars. This pale ale is well balanced with its bitterness from the hops playing magically with its caramel malt body. This combination brings the citrusy flavors to the surface for a crisp taste.
3. Dogfish Brewery 60 Minute IPA
Just as with the Stone IPA, here’s another one that has managed to remain relevant for decades. A tried-and-true award winner, the 60 Minute IPA from Dogfish Brewery is moderately bitter and deliciously crisp. This lovely competitor from Delaware proves that the west coast isn’t the sole player in the IPA game.
4. Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale
Speaking of award winners, this IPA was voted the “best beer in America” three years in a row by Zymurgy readers. Available just about anywhere, this beer is basically what should appear in the dictionary under “American IPA.” A single-hop brew, Two Hearted Ale offers a very floral experience both on the nose and on the tongue. This heavyweight classic from Kalamazoo is another great example of a non-west coast champion.
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Hazy Little Thing
If we want to talk about an IPA that was truly chosen by the people, we don’t have to look any further than the Hazy Little Thing. In 2019, during the month of October, this IPA saw an increase in sales of 160%. It truly took the world by storm and by no arbitrary motive, either. Its clever combination of hops gives this IPA the iconic West Coast citrusy explosion that is as hoppy as it is refreshing. The Hazy Little Thing is definitely an IPA that falls in line with the more modern take on the IPA flavor profile.