In recent years, the India pale ale has become the beer of choice for serious aficionados. And with the explosion of craft brewing, you’re never more than a skip and a jump away from a brew full of top-tier hops. But, with such a surplus of suds, it’s hard to know which selections will leave a bitter taste in your mouth and which ones won’t be as good. To help you navigate the sometimes-hazy IPA landscape, here are a few of our favorites from this year.
Painful Death Beer Co.
Slaughterhouse Drippings IPA
A light, crisp IPA is the perfect counterpoint to a warm summer day, and the newest pale ale from Painful Death will slash your thirst’s throat and leave it bleeding out on the hot, hard sidewalk. Not too fruit-forward and at only 4.8 percent ABV, Slaughterhouse Drippings can deliver a cold sledgehammer of refreshment straight to your face over and over again without leaving you feeling woozy the next day. Glorious Death recently began distributing nationwide, so chances are your local shop carries this delightful beverage, with a clean taste that will not only hit the spot, it’ll cram the spot into a tiny pen and force-feed it for months, until it’s large enough to chop into raw meaty slabs, and then grill it to perfection at a Memorial Day BBQ.
Mountain Vista Brewery
We all know that the sooner you drink a beer after it’s brewed, the fresher it will taste. Well, Mountain Vista has taken freshness to the next level. For the first five minutes after its secondary fermentation is complete, this beer has just about the crispest flavor you’ve ever tasted. Soon after that, things start to deteriorate. At the 15-minute mark, the flavors start to get a little muddy and will fill the area with a strong mildew aroma. After an hour, drinking a pint of the Five-Minute IPA will have the same effect as eating unrefrigerated, week-old sushi. After 24 hours, a single sip of the ale will end your life unless you inject the antidote directly into your spinal column within minutes. Run, don’t walk, to pick up a growler if you live in the greater Boulder area. Seriously, do not dilly dally with this one.
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Five Times in One Night Quintuple-Hopped IPA
People love a double-hopped IPA. So Barenaked figured why not hop theirs twice — and then hop it thrice more. Frankly, we’re on the edge of our seats waiting to see what they try next. Six hoppings? Seven? We’re trembling with anticipation. We might literally explode if we get any closer to the theoretical limit of hoppiness. Eight hops? We need a cigarette just thinking about it. (We only smoke when we drink.)
Numbest Skull Brewery
Quiet The Voices IPA
At a whopping 18.6 percent ABV, Numbest Skull’s Quiet The Voices IPA sure packs a punch. Featuring notes of citrus and a powerful bitterness imbued by its recently divorced master brewer, this triple IPA is not a beer to mess with if you have anybody waiting up for you at home. It is, however, an ideal drink if you like a light floral taste and are wondering if you’re turning into your parents. Are your best days behind you? Was your ex right when they said that no one will ever love you the way that they did? Pick up a 6-pack of Quiet The Voices and worry about it in the morning.
Blackberry Bramble IPA
For those who find hop-forward beers a little overwhelming, this hazy New England IPA features just a touch of sweetness that’s just right for wimps, cowards, and all types of nerds. The kiss of fresh Maine blackberries in every sip is just what the doctor ordered, if that doctor has recently diagnosed you with being a whiny little baby who might as well be drinking this baby beer through a rubber nipple, or even better, straight from their mother’s bosom. If you’re looking for the ideal beer to drink 13 of at a high school party in the woods before calling your older sibling crying and puking to beg for a ride home, look no further than Kennebunk’s Blackberry Bramble IPA.
If you love IPAs, chances are you love hops. And no beer has more hoppy bounce to the ounce than Panhandle Brewing Company’s Grovestand IPA. Inspired by the region’s bountiful fresh-squeezed orange juice, the Pensacola brewery offers the only beer we know that features thick, pulpy chunks of hops. With its unmatched viscosity, you probably won’t want to knock back more than a couple of these puppies, nor will you be able to chug it thanks to its incomparable thickness. But a can of Grovestand is a great choice for true connoisseurs who want to savor a drinking or eating experience. Not only does this beer have bite, it practically demands that you bite it right back!
Salt Lake “Beer” Company
Clear Conscience Non-Alcoholic IPA
With notes of citrus and pine, this alcohol-free option provides the bitterness IPA lovers crave, but without the bitterness that accompanies the fire and brimstone of eternal damnation. Enjoy the sophisticated taste of a traditional IPA while preserving the chance that you may someday enter the kingdom of heaven. It’s the rare IPA that is free from sin and will not make you a blight in the eyes of our Lord. It’s also good if you don’t drink or have to drive home later.
Happy April Fool’s Day from VinePair!