The 20 Best IPAs You Need to Try
Whether you're a hophead or just enjoy the occasional hoppy brew, check out our list of the 20 best IPAs in the country.
Two Hearted Ale
Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan
This Midwest classic from Bell’s has been voted the #1 beer in America in any style by America’s homebrewers for the last two years. Hopped exclusively with Centennial hops, Two Hearted Ale has delicate orange and orange blossom citrus aromas, assertive but well-balanced bitterness, and a lovely supporting crystal malt base.
Found your fav IPA? Try these recipes made with beer.
Treehouse Brewing, Charlton, Massachusetts
Don’t look for Julius on your local grocery store shelves—it’s a bit tricky to track down. If you’re lucky enough to find it at a larger liquor store or specialty shop, though, you’re in for a treat. Treehouse Brewing puts out some of the most sought-after hoppy beers in the country, and their flagship IPA leads the pack. Bright and juicy with aromas of mango, peach, and passion fruit, Julius is a veritable fruit basket of tropical flavors.
Prairie Madness IPA
Hailstorm Brewing, Tinley Park, Illinois
Year after year, American IPA is the most entered category at the Great American Beer Festival, craft beer’s biggest beer competition. Hailstorm, a little brewery on Chicago’s southwest side, beat out 408 other beers to take home the coveted gold medal in 2017, establishing Prairie Madness as one of the best IPAs in the country.
Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, California
While this late fall/early winter seasonal from Sierra Nevada doesn’t market itself as an IPA, it was actually one of the first beers in the nascent style ever released in this country. Brewed with the first hops of the season within a day of their harvest, this fresh hop IPA has bright citrus aromas and puts some zing into early winter drinking across the country. Try pairing these iced orange cookies with Celebration Ale!
India Pale Ale
Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado
This IPA from Colorado craft stalwart Odell isn’t the flashiest or trendiest beer on the list by any means. It’s just really, really good, with classic flavors and impeccable balance. Pale and Vienna malts provide a fine foundation for the nine different American hop varieties used in the beer. The bitterness is assertive but restrained.
Did you know you can turn beer into bread? Here’s how.
Russian River Brewing, Santa Rosa, California
Russian River in northern California is best known for Pliny the Elder, a big, luscious double IPA that has, at times, been called the best beer in the country. Blind Pig, their classic IPA, doesn’t get as much adoration, but that’s a mistake. Full-bodied with loads of citrus and pine flavors and a dry, quenching finish, it’s worth seeking out.
Creature Comforts Brewing, Athens, Georgia
Not all IPAs are super bitter. This one from Creature Comforts emphasizes hop aroma and flavor over bitterness, bursting with juicy hop character. This beloved Southern beer is soft and balanced with aromas of ripe passion fruit and citrus. Mix up these Passion Fruit Hurricanes to compare and contrast these flavors!
Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California
Anchor Brewing in San Francisco is considered the first craft brewery in America. Appliance heir Fritz Maytag purchased the dying brewery in 1967 and quickly turned it into something new in the American beer scene. When Liberty Ale launched in 1975, it was the first new IPA brewed on these shores in decades. It’s not the biggest or boldest, but it’s a taste of hoppy history.
Commodore Perry IPA
Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, Ohio
Great Lakes Brewing is celebrating 30 years in business in 2018, and is a beloved institution for Midwestern drinkers. Their Commodore Perry IPA is brewed in the British tradition, featuring a robust caramel malt presence and assertive piney hop character. This is a sizable IPA at 7.7% alcohol, but sometimes a bracing drink is needed on the shores of the Great Lakes.
Racer 5 IPA
Bear Republic Brewing, Cloverdale, California
Bear Republic‘s flagship IPA helped define the modern interpretation of the style on the West Coast. Loaded with classic American hops like Cascade and Columbus, the beer has medaled at the Great American Beer Festival multiple times, including winning gold a decade apart in 1999 and 2009.
Confused about beer pairings? We have you covered.
The Alchemist, Stowe, Vermont
I’ve tried to include plenty of easy-to-find IPAs on this list, but I would be remiss not to include The Alchemist Focal Banger, one of the most coveted beers in the style, and one that can only be acquired at a handful of outlets near their remote Vermont brewery. Focal Banger and the brewery’s double IPA Heady Topper helped to launch the current fad of hazy, juicy New England-style IPAs.
Speaking of Vermont, how about whipping up some of these maple recipes while you’re sipping a beer?
60 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, Delaware
Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione is as close to a rock star as we have in craft brewing, and he made a name for himself in the 1990s for brewing weird, esoteric beers that have now become the norm in the industry. His classic 60 Minute IPA, however, isn’t weird at all. It’s full of classic West Coast hop flavors of pine and citrus, with a pleasant crystal malt backbone.
Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA
Tröegs Brewing, Hershey, Pennsylvania
While most breweries look to darker, heartier styles for their winter seasonals, Tröegs Brewing goes for a bright, fresh IPA to complement the white falling snow. Centennial, Chinook, El Dorado and Galaxy hops impart bright citrus and tropical notes with background notes of pine and spruce.
Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro, Vermont
There are lots and lots of hazy, New England-style IPAs out there right now. Some of them are good, and some of are forgettable, but Hill Farmstead Susan is transcendent. Susan is balanced but juicy, with classic IPA notes of citrus and pine remixed into a new form for the style.
Love citrus notes? Try these fresh citrus recipes.
Great Notion Brewing, Portland, Oregon
The Pacific Northwest drove much of the boom in hoppy beers when IPAs were still developing as a style in the U.S., and the area is still the country’s major hop growing region, so it makes sense some of the best IPAs would come from here. Ripe IPA from Portland’s Great Notion Brewing is hopped exclusively with juicy Citra hops, and bursts with tropical fruit character.
Spencer Brewery, Spencer, Massachusetts
“Trappist IPA” was a phrase no one expected to hear just a few short years ago, but welcome to 2018, folks. America’s only Trappist-certified brewery (Trappist breweries must operate within the walls of a Trappist monastery and be overseen by the monks) produces the world’s only Trappist India Pale Ale, and it’s a beautifully balanced, restrained take on the style that rewards the contemplative drinker.
COOP Ale Works, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The heartland doesn’t get a lot of love for its hoppy beers, but there are some excellent workhorse IPAs brewed in the central states. Oklahoma City’s COOP Ale Works F5 IPA pays homage to the powerful twisters that rip through tornado alley. The beer serves up classic American hop notes of grapefruit and pine on a pleasantly malty body.
Bale Breaker Brewing
Bale Breaker Brewing, Yakima, Washington
Yakima Valley in Washington state is ground zero for hop production in the United States, and it makes sense that some awesome IPAs are brewed right at the source. Bale Breaker Brewing sits in the middle of flourishing hop fields, and they produce a line of excellent IPAs. Their Topcutter IPA blends classic and cutting-edge hop varietals to create a complex citrus, tropical, and floral nose.
Burial Beer Co.
Burial Beer, Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville’s Burial Beer makes more lauded IPAs and Double IPAs than you can shake a cluster of hops at, but their flagship IPA Surf Wax is still the standard bearer for this celebrated brewery. Surf Wax earns its place by not trying to be the most extreme hop bomb you’ve ever had, and instead offering intense but balanced flavors and aromas.
Fresh Squeezed IPA
Deschutes Brewing, Bend Oregon
There’s nothing exotic or rare about this beer. You can buy it in six-packs at the average grocery store in over half the country. Too often IPAs are rewarded for scarcity rather than quality and drinkability, however, and those descriptors definitely apply to Fresh Squeezed IPA from Deschutes. You don’t need to chase a white whale to find a great beer, and this is one of the best (and most readily available) IPAs around.