HOME > Chowhound > Beer >


Favorite IPAs?

I've only recently learned to like IPAs, and it's been so damned hot that I've been drinking them quite a bit. I like the hoppiness and floral elements that the good ones have, but some of them have a sort of vegetal aftertaste to me -- and I don't like that. (Case in point: I have a Big Daddy from the Speakeasy brewery in SF in front of me now. The fading tastes remind me of rotting lettuce.)

Any suggestions for IPAs to try? (California availability a plus.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My favorite is Stone IPA. That's brewed in California, in San Marcos. It's got a very clean finish, no vegetal notes to speak of. Another good one is Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA (also from California).

    The absolute best, however, is Alpine's Pure Hoppiness. Tons of floral hops - simply an amazing beer. Unfortunately, it's only available in Alpine (east of San Diego), or in a couple of San Diego's better pubs.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      I'll join you on the Stone love. Racer 5 is excellent as well, but by me when I compare a $5 bomber to the $9 sixers of Stone then the Stone is going to win out damn near all the time.

      For the English-style IPA's I really enjoy Brooklyn's East India Pale Ale: high gravity (1.068) nice fruity esters and floral Kent Goldings hops up the wazoo.

      1. re: Josh

        guys and gals if you like a balanced IPA try the samuel Smith IPA. It is not over hopped like the american IPA's. It is very well balanced and goes great with food.

        1. re: beer dude

          Overly hopped is in the palate of the taster. Once you get used to West Coast IPAs, the British ones tend to taste a little wimpy.

          Stone's IPA is, to me, quite a balanced IPA. It's got a lot of floral notes from the hops, something I find really lacking in the British IPAs.

          1. re: Josh

            "Overly hopped is in the palate of the taster."

            Here, here Josh!

            And further, the original poster, what with the California references, clearly enjoys West Coast IPA's.

            That said, I enjoy Sam Smith's IPA, but you would barely know that you were drinking the same "type" -- (style? variety? breed? strain? appellation?) of beer if you were to put it side-by-side with a good California or Oregon IPA.

            Does anyone else think this has something to do with the quality and intensity of flavor that is common among hops grown in the Pacific Northwest? I think that this is something from which the West Coast style might have flowed.

            Just a thought.

            1. re: Clifford

              There are several differences between typical British and American IPAs.

              Americans often use a very clean-fermenting yeast, where a British yeast would likely leave more complex flavors.

              It wouldn't be unusual for the American IPA to have more alcohol, although this difference might not be as pronounced as that between American and British barley wines. (I speak here of 'regular' IPAs, not the double and imperial versions. Weyerbacher recently came out with a 'triple' IPA. Where will it end?)

              American hops tend to have those piney, grapefruit-like flavors, and are typically used in greater quantity.

              1. re: Clifford

                Sam Smith's is pretty good, but I have to say that I'd opt for Victory's Hop Devil over any British IPA if I want that English-style flavor. It's 1000 miles fresher, if nothing else. But you're right, the difference between the varieties is enough that a different name should be considered.

                Some have suggested calling the uber-hopped IPAs San Diego Pale Ale, because the first person to really brew it was Vinnie Cilurzo of Blind Pig.

                1. re: Clifford

                  I've never thought of Hop Devil as being in the English IPA style. I love the beer, but IMO it belongs in the American camp.

                  1. re: Clifford

                    I dunno Brent - to me Hop Devil is very British tasting in style. It's malty, cloudy, and the hops are quite subdued and not at all citrusy. To me it tastes nothing like the American IPAs I am used to.

                    1. re: Clifford

                      Josh -

                      I agree with you that there is a difference, but I would characterize it as an East Coast IPA vs. a West Coast IPA. To me, the West Coast style is very citrusy - some taste like ruby red grapefruit, while the East Coast style leans toward a piney flavor.

                      To me, English IPAs are more earthy and subtle.

                      I like them all, but I think the Americans are trying to push the envelope. Particularly, as every great brewery such as Victory or Stone has a Double IPA version of their brew, as well.

                2. re: Josh

                  Josh, Thanks for the tip. We stopped in at the Alpine brewery yesterday. I told them of your recommedation, and they were going to get onto chowhound pronto.

                  We bought a growler of the IPA, and it was magnificent. (We also tried the Manderine Wit bier, and the Irish red, and we got a growler of stout.) Alll were fantastic. Thanks again.

                  peace, jill

                  1. re: jill kibler

                    Glad to hear it. Pat will literally spend years perfecting his recipes, and you can taste it in the finished product.

                    One of my favorites of his is called Willy, and is an American wheat beer. Very clean tasting, with a mild sweetness. He sometimes will age it with fruit or vanilla bean. I once got a growler of the stout mixed half-and-half with the vanilla Willy (apparently a common request). It was the hit of the party.

                  2. Stone is in their new brewery in Escondido now, with Pizza Port occupying their former premises in San Marcos.

                    1. Bear Republic's Racer 5 is solid. Also, the Alchemist's Heady Topper is not one to be missed if you are near Waterbury VT.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Chrispy75

                        I'm a big fan of Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, not an IPA but seriously hoppy.

                        1. re: Chrispy75

                          Racer 5, Racer 5, Racer 5. This beer is so good on draught. I like it better than Stone.

                        2. I love IPAs! If available, try Dogfish Head out of Delaware. It's terrific.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Mutt

                            The 120 minute.

                            The Rogue XS Imperial IPA is also incredible.

                            1. re: beef

                              I find the 90-minute to be more balanced and sessionable. It's always in the fridge.

                              1. re: yellowmix

                                Haven't been able to find 120 or 90 min. But 60 min IPA is great as well.

                                1. re: baekster

                                  The 60 is good hop juice. The 90 also has a delicious malt character. Actually, it's in the Aprihop to an extent as well. Aprihop -- now there's a fruit beer that works, because they use real fruit and use it subtlely.

                          2. Not sure if it would be available in California, but Blue Point Hoptical Illusion is wonderful. Once had it out of a beer pump, and it was awesome. Out of a tap, it's only wonderful.

                            1. First let me say that there is a difference in IPA's depending on which coast you are on. East coast IPA's tend to be more in the English style - english yeasts tend to leave beer a little sweeter and maltier and many (too many for my tastes) believe their should be a strong balance between malt and hops. West coasters tend to make their IPA's a bit drier with a balance on the hop side (bitterness,flavor, and aroma) with just enough malt to balance the hops a little. So suggesting East Coast IPA's probably will not satisfy someone used to drinking West coast IPA's (not to mention that most microbrewies on the east coast just don't distribute to the west coast).

                              That being said, I think Alesmith IPA is one of the better ones made in CA and fits your description for floral elements. Stone IPA is great also. Bear Republic Racer 5, and hop rod rye are delicious also. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin is great when it is fresh. You could also check out Medocino White hawk, Lagunitas IPA, Sierra Nevada Celebration (late fall/early winter), Lost Coast Indica IPA, ACME IPA, Moylan's IPA, or Marin IPA. If it makes its way down to you check out Bridgeport IPA - its subtle, but quite interesting floral aroma.

                              Stepping up to the Double/Imperial IPA range Moylan's makes two- Moylander and Hopsickle. Stone Ruination, Lagaunitas Maximus, AleSmith Yulesmith, Marin White Knuckle, Bear Republic Racer X, Pizza Port(Solana beach) hop suey and Hop 15 are good too but the Pliny's (the Elder and the Younger) from Russian River are the standards for the style.

                              I understand what you are saying about the vegetal flavors. Could be that they are not all that fresh. I find that hops oxidize pretty quickly (especially at room temp) in IPA's and give it a grassy/vegetal/caramel type flavor that is unpleasant. Unfortunately there is way too much unfresh microbrewed beer dieing on warm store shelves while quicker moving macrobrews needlesly take up too much cooler space.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: LStaff

                                Bridgeport IPA.

                                My favorite brand of my favorite type of beer.

                              2. Can't believe I forgot Pliny the Elder. Too bad that's not available in bottles.

                                LStaff, if you ever make it down to San Diego, make sure to give Pure Hoppiness a try. Exponential Hoppiness is good too, but is definitely more of a double IPA.

                                1. Oh man this thread is making me thirsty.

                                  1. Exponential Hoppiness is my favorite beer of all time.

                                    Just wish I had more excuses to get to San Diego to get my hands on it.

                                    Great Divide's Titan IPA is another nice one that I have been drinking a bit lately.

                                    1. for sentimental purposes you got to throw Ballantine's XXX on the to drink list.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: byrd

                                        You mean Ballantine IPA? I haven't seen it many years. Use to be able to get cans of Ballantine Ale around here, but the distributor dropped it. The IPA was great to find back in the bad old days before we had lots of craft beer on the east coast.

                                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                          I used tp get it in little green bottles (ponies) that I believe were six ounces. It was a whole different brew from the stuff in the twelve ounce cans. I think that it was actually aged in wooden kegs. It would match any of the IPA made today.

                                          1. re: BluPlateSpec

                                            Ballantine XXX Ale and Ballantine India Pale Ale were indeed two different beers. While both were available over the years in 7 and 12 ounce bottles (and kegs), only the XXX was sold in cans (still is, a least a pale imitation of it, via Miller's contract to brew it for Pabst).

                                            Pabst (which got the brand when Falstaff -which has owned the brand since 1972- bought Pabst in the 1980's) dropped the IPA in mid-1990's, after years of "dumbing down" the ale in terms of ABV, IBU and aging time.

                                      2. A great IPA in my area is Climax IPA from Climax Breing Co. in Roselle Park, N.J. They make the best beer in N.J. Their IPA is in the English Style.

                                        1. I almost agree w/ LStaff about E Coast vs. W Coast, but I think you just have to try an IPA to find out where it falls. Many IPAs that I've had from New England have fit this description. But then Dogfish Head's 60/90/120 Minute ones blow that away, and they can probably heave a stone into the Atlantic from outside the brewery.

                                          Several of my favorites have been mentioned- Sierra Celebration, Great Divide Titan, et al. But since we can't get Stone, Moylan's, Bear Republic, Dogfish Head, etc in GA (well, yet, at least), I drink locally. Sweetwater's IPA has really stepped up with citrusy hops and finally admitting that they were always around 6% (which was illegal in GA until just a few years ago). That and it's *cheap* compared to getting out-of-state beers, generally.

                                          1. Not sure that I agree with the East Coast vs. West Coast distinction, but even if it were true, there are some many exceptions that I think I'd be trying as many of them as I could anyway. What a daunting task? Maybe I will have to begrudgingly take part of it on. My wife won't be happy with what it does to my waist line.

                                            I do notice that many of the American IPAs, in general, tend to do without the fruity esters common in the traditional English IPAs. Also, the American IPAs do tend to through in a lot more aroma and flavor hops. Many of the English brewers seem to only use hops to add bitterness, choosing not to add any more after they begin to boil their wort.

                                            The one thing that helped me realize all the different tastes that go into beer was homebrewing and tasting everything before it went into the brew pot. Nothing like chewing on different kinds of hops to teach you about thier flavors, etc.

                                            1. Sixpoint Craft Ales' BENGALI TIGER IPA, it's on cask at The Spotted Pig in NYC. Can't beat that with a stick (or hops vine).

                                              1. If you're ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia (or somehow get access to the stuff) you owe it to yourself to try Propeller Brewing Company's new IPA. It runs at 6.5% but is really smooth and well-balanced -- hoppy, but not too much so as to make it overly bitter. Served very cold, it is a wonderfully refreshing brew. Highly recommended.

                                                1. In the Chicago area, Three Floyds is making some awesome IPAs. Dreadnaught, a double IPA, is amazing. Their Alpha King pale ale (7.2%, huge on hops, so basically an IPA) is excellent as well. I believe Binny's ships it, they are a Chicago chain.

                                                  Do you look at Beeradvocate.com or ratebeer.com? There are some great reviewers on there. They usually give me a good idea of what to look for when tasting so I consult the site when I get a new beer.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Danimal

                                                    Beeradvocate is also my site of choice for beer reviews. Alpha King is my favorite beer right now. Dreadnaught is not available here, and when my daughter stopped at the brewery last month on her way home from Michigan, the brewery didn't have any. I was so sad. Did finally get to try Gumballhead. Wow. That's some good stuff too. Never tasted such a hoppy wheat.

                                                    1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                      If 3F doesn't have it again, Pat's on 20 in Porter, IN always has bombers of the stuff. They also have great brews from Upland, Backroad, Founders, and New Holland.

                                                    1. re: ipsofatso

                                                      I second this. Tasty and easy to come by in the Boston area. Though I also agree that the Victory Hop Devil is pretty good.

                                                      1. re: ipsofatso

                                                        When I lived in Quincy I drank Harpoon almost exclusively, by bottle or tap (at The Fours). Even occasionally went up to the brewery to get a growler. Moved to Pittsburgh 5 yrs ago and asked the closest distributor here to order some, since they weren't stocking any. It didn't taste the same - could be age, could be shipping in heat or poor storage, but after three cases, I gave up on it, sad to say.

                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                          I just moved to southie and can walk to the harpoon brewery to fill up my growlers. I think I'm in heaven.

                                                      2. My husband and I love Hop Rod Rye and Stone. The former is a bit stronger, though.

                                                        1. From your profile, it looks like you may be somewhat near the Bay Area, or at at least the middle to northern part of the state. If that's the case, then you owe it to yourself to make it to one of the IPA Festivals put on by The Bistro in Hayward. The Double IPA Fest is usually in February and the IPA Fest is in the summer. Turns out it's coming up on August 12th this year. I'm a huge IPA head and go to both every year. The Bistro (a beer bar) hosts breweries from all over the West Coast, presenting their IPA of choice. It is an IPA drinkers dream - every IPA mentioned here on the West Coast is available. Pizza Port, Pliney the Elder, Racer 5...

                                                          Ohhh, I can't wait!!!


                                                          1. Great Divide Brewing Company's Hercules Double IPA is incredible. 85 IBUs. 9.1% alcohol. It comes in 22-oz. bottles. Not recommended for drinking by oneself in one sitting ... trust me!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Kirk

                                                              I have to agree with Hercules a very solid double ipa, as is Stone ruination, and unearthly an insanely hoppy beer out of new York( probably the hoppiest i've ever had) but I can never remember the Brewery.

                                                              1. re: Kirk

                                                                Totally agree on the Hercules. On tap it's a big juicy monster. Any IPA is worth a try, but the trend towards the double IPA's makes the saying drink less but drink better especially relevant.

                                                              2. I'm a fan of Lagunitas IPA

                                                                1. The other night my buddy and I split a bottle of Rogue's Imperial IPA. It was awesome. Comes in a big, black ceramic bottle. Not excessively bitter, and a really nice robust maltiness. Highly recommended.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                    Rouge is a favorite IPA since I bicycled through the PacNW in 1992. Rouge maintains a branded pub in San Francisco (North Beach). It is decidedly a tourist location, so it seems to me it gets over-looked. Or at least that is why I always forget about it.

                                                                  2. Just got some Smuttynose IPA (NH) at a local grocery store in Queens, NY (surprise!) and it was excellent...grapefruit/piney scents, very hoppy with bitter finish but excellent balance. The hop strength is along the lines of Hop Devil (which I also like) but less overwhelmingly hoppified because there are more complex fruity flavors, in my opinion.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                      I like the Smuttynose as well and I'm not much on IPAs. It's gotten easier to find around the city--I've been seeing it around a lot more often.

                                                                      1. re: erikka

                                                                        Smuttynose IPA is unfiltered, which I think helps round out the flavor.

                                                                    2. Yards IPA
                                                                      Dogfish Head 60 & 90 Minute IPA
                                                                      Victory HopDevil
                                                                      Russian River Pliny the Elder

                                                                      1. New Amsterdam IPA, made in Utica, NY. The only problem is I haven't seen any New Amsterdam sold in NYC for a few years.

                                                                        1. No one mentioned the beer that brought IPA to the mainstream? Sierra Nevada

                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Billy Bob

                                                                            I'm not aware of Sierra Nevada doing any such thing. I recall Grant's being early in the game.

                                                                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                              Nice to see Grant's get a mention. He was the first modern American microbrewer and brewpub operator. But the first ales from there were called "Scottish," not India Pales, though not at all Scottish by my standards. But they were still too dark to fit my view of an IPA. In the last few years, I have enjoyed a good IPA brewed by Grant's, but in the early 80s, I had never run into it. Also he does one called Hop Harvest (or something like that) just featuring fresh Cascade hops from the most recent harvest. It is only available (if it is still available) right after harvest.


                                                                              1. re: Phoo D

                                                                                Grant's flagship was indeed a Scottish ale, but he also did an IPA, one of the first from a modern microbrewer. Grant's closed maybe a year ago, and Bert passed away a few years before, of course.

                                                                                1. re: Phoo D

                                                                                  You're probably thinking of Grant's Fresh Hop ale -- it was part of a line of seasonal beers that Grant's put out starting in '97 or so. My favorite of that lot was probably their Winter Ale, which was dark and strongish and flavored with honey and Mt. Hood hops. I thought the FHA was fine, but not especially hoppy.

                                                                                  As Jim mentions, Grant did have his take on an IPA out quite early indeed -- by the mid-80s at least, and probably earlier than that. Grant's was the first IPA I ever tasted. He also put out what he called an imperial stout. Both brews were flavorful, and I bought them regularly in the 80s and 90s, but both were also very low in ABV for their respective styles. The IPA had around 4.2% ABV; the Imperial Stout had 6% ABV.

                                                                                  1. re: Kenji

                                                                                    I don't recall the Grant's beers having such a low alcohol content (but I'm not disputing you), but I do recall his Celtic Ale, an early low-ABV beer that didn't seem to catch on.

                                                                                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                      re: ABV's of Grant's beers- Pretty sure this topic has come up before here (or on another beer forum) and the listing of alcohol content for the Grant's line-up in various contemporary reference books don't agree. (And most of the beers were first released before ABV was legal to print on the labels).

                                                                                      Michael Jackson's "(Ultimate) Beer" put the IPA at "3.4 abw /4.2 abv" and his "Beer" repeats that and adds the Imperial Stout at "4.8 abw /6 abv". Jackson's second Pocket Guide put the Stout at 6-6.5% and the 5th MJPG had it at "5.8 abw / 7.2 abv".

                                                                                      The Encyclopedia of Beer (Rhodes, ed) listed the IPA at 5.5 abv and noted two different Grant's IS- 1982's at 7.1% and 1990's at 6.8% abv. I guess that could suggest that the descripancies are, in part, changes in recipes over the years.

                                                                                      Grant's own book said that the target for the Imperial Stout was 6-7% abv (calling it 'Huge' for the time) and claiming he modeled it after Guinness FES, while acknowledging that the traditional IS would be 9-11%.

                                                                                      He doesn't mention the IPA's alcohol content (says that the OG should be 12 Plato for homebrewing a clone) , tho', interesting for today's era what Jackson at the time called "the hoppiest beer in America" was listed at 50 IBU's. Grant also says that for a moderate strength IPA 75 IBU's would be "too much".

                                                                                      1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                        I remember the Grant's beers vividly because they were among the first that I explored upon discovering the world of flavorful beer -- and I continued to drink them as long as they were around. The Imperial Stout never had more than 6% ABV from my first sample of it in '88 or so -- but research convinced me it had previously come in higher ABV versions. It was my favorite in the Grant's family.

                                                                                        The Celtic Ale was in the 4% ABV ballpark, as I recall -- as was the tasty "Perfect Porter" which appeared relatively late, in '94the or so.

                                                                                        1. re: Kenji

                                                                                          Oh yes, the porter was very nice. Did it have a touch of smoked malt ... can't recall, but I do remember a great chocolatey taste.

                                                                                          1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                                                                            Yes, that's just how the porter was. Very chocolatey, and with a touch of smoked malt.

                                                                                            1. re: Kenji

                                                                                              Grant's Scottish Ale was one of my favorites.

                                                                                              1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                                If you're looking for something similar these days try the Caldera Ashland Amber (it comes in 12oz cans)- it's definitely available in NJ, I see it all the time.

                                                                                                It's definitely in the same ballpark in terms of aroma and flavor, a nifty little beer.

                                                                                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                                    It's from Ashland, Oregon.

                                                                                                    We get three of their beers here in NJ- the Amber, Pale and IPA. The IPA is also really nice, with a great caramel malt/hop balance, leaning heavily citrus and pine. Their beers all give me that old PNW vibe, which one got from Grant's way back when.

                                                                                                    1. re: TongoRad

                                                                                                      +1 fir the Caldera IPA. Amazingly good beer, and it's in a can!

                                                                                    2. re: Phoo D

                                                                                      I would bet that Grant came out with his Scottish Ale, IPA, and Imperial Stout at about the same time, in the early 80s. (I'll bet they're mentioned in Jackson's '82 Pocket Guide to Beer.)

                                                                                      Jackson was a big proponent of Grant's brews, but he admitted that they were laws unto themselves. He found the Scottish Ale far too hoppy for the style, and wrote that when he pressed Grant as to what made the beer Scottish, Grant replied that he had been born in Scotland! A classic genetic fallacy. But I enjoyed the beers.

                                                                                  2. re: Billy Bob

                                                                                    Sierra Nevada's big beer isn't IPA, it's a standard pale ale. Not sure who really deserves credit for mainstreaming American IPA, but it's not Sierra Nevada.

                                                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                                                      my bad, I had forgotten Sierra Nevada is just a Pale Ale and not an IPA

                                                                                      1. re: Billy Bob

                                                                                        But Sierra Nevada's legendary Celebration Ale is an IPA. (When did it first appear? I first tasted it in '87 or '88.) They also started bottling a paler (English-style?) IPA a few years back -- obviously, however, this is a relatively recent offering from SN.

                                                                                      2. re: Billy Bob

                                                                                        An Anchor rep who gave a few talks to my homebrew club in the early 90's was pretty adament that their Liberty Ale was conceived of as an IPA when it was first released (1976). People may not look at that beer as an IPA these days, but I am more than happy to give them (and Fritz) their props for opening many doors including that one.

                                                                                        Then again, depending on what you mean by 'mainstream', Ballantine almost certainly predates Liberty.

                                                                                        I love my SN, but I wouldn't give them that credit.

                                                                                      3. Why do you think it is that Americans are so obsessed with obscenely hoppy beers? Now, don't get me wrong -- I enjoy Stone's IPA on occasion, but pretty much all of the double and triple IPAs I've tried I've considered just "novelty" beers and not very drinkable.
                                                                                        I sort of chalk this up to a) a not very well disguised desire to get quickly inebriated (hoppy beers tend to be more alcoholic, I think) and b) that typical American anti-traditionalist, “f*ck-you” attitude.
                                                                                        My favourite IPAs tend to be the East Coast versions -- I like Berkshire and Brooklyn the most, but Victory and Smuttynose are also quite good.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Fozzie_Bear

                                                                                          I don't think it's a desire for alcohol so much as the big flavors that tend to travel with it. I've often thought that Americans are enjoying the novelty of hugely hopped beers, something they didn't see much of before the late 1970s. And I've often wondered if Americans will eventually get over it, at least just a bit, and show more appreciation for balance and subtlety. I'm afraid I haven't gotten over it at all!

                                                                                          1. re: Fozzie_Bear

                                                                                            I'd disagree with you on the double IPA assessment. I've had several that are delicious and quite drinkable indeed. Rogue's Imperial IPA is great, as is Stone's Ruination. Alpine's Pure Hoppiness and Exponential Hoppiness are also stellar beers.

                                                                                            They are an acquired taste, to be sure. When I first tasted Stone IPA I hated it - it's now one of my top "go to" beers.

                                                                                            1. re: Josh

                                                                                              Haven't tried the Alpine's -- I'll see if I can find it somewhere.

                                                                                              1. re: Josh

                                                                                                When I was in San Diego for a week earlier this year, I spent many a cocktail hour at the Liars Club going through their extraordinary list of beers on tap. At the pinnacle of an awesome list was Alpine's Exponential Hoppiness.

                                                                                            2. Yes, but Sierra Nevada does now make an IPA, which is good.

                                                                                              The OP asked for best IPAs. For purposes of this response, I will not include Double (or Imperial) IPAs, as they are sort of IPAs on steroids, which puts them in a different category. My favorite ten IPAs:

                                                                                              1) Bell's Two Hearted Ale
                                                                                              2) Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale (sort of an IPA)
                                                                                              3) Smuttynose IPA
                                                                                              4) Racer 5 IPA
                                                                                              5) Stone IPA
                                                                                              6) Sierra Nevada IPA
                                                                                              7) Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPA (but only if on tap)
                                                                                              8) Goose Island IPA
                                                                                              9) Anchor Liberty (but only if on tap)
                                                                                              10) Blind Pig IPA, Russian River Brewing

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: John Galt

                                                                                                You are right. Some people are getting off the topic with some over the top hoppers that fall into the gray IPA area. Lately I have been enjoying Leather Lips from the Tap in Haverhill (pronounced Haverill) MA. If you ever come to Boston I'll be happy to take a ride up there with you and we can even see live punk rock and buys used vinyl a few doors down the street.

                                                                                                1. re: John Galt

                                                                                                  Oh geez.Never mind. 2 years old?

                                                                                                2. Alpine is local to San Diego. If you're not in SD, don't bother, you won't find it.

                                                                                                  Even in SD, there's only a few pubs that have it regularly.

                                                                                                  1. Racer 5 ia a Phat IPA mucho bueno, also dogfish 60 is very nice, Some of my other favs are hopdevil from victory and a nice mojo IPA.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                      I'm glad to see another Mojo fan on here

                                                                                                    2. If anyone's still reading this long thread, what do you think of Bison's IPA?

                                                                                                      Here's an interesting interview:


                                                                                                      What does "dry hop an IPA" mean?

                                                                                                      I know nothing about IPA's, but this topic got me interested. Of course when I was in the store, I couldn't remember one IPA mentioned, so I picked up Bison. My opinion means nothing as this is not my area of expertise, so I was wondering what you folks think.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                                        Hops contain bittering compounds that require an extensive boil to release. They also have flavor and aroma components, but these volatilize easily. Dry-hopping is the addition of hops after the boil, to enhance flavor and aroma.

                                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                                          Dry hopping is essentially like making tea. The brewer will take a large bag full of fresh, dry hops and dunk it in the vat of beer. It gives the beer an extra kick and the typical IPA "floralness".

                                                                                                        2. Anything with a huge dose of Cascade hops will do it for me. I just love that floral nose. Although not an IPA, Speakeasy Prohibition used to be a favorite of mine, but it does develop an off flavor as one of the posters pointed out. I used to wonder what it was! Now I only get it on tap. Racer 5 and Ross are two other favorites. Really hard to get in six-packs though.

                                                                                                          1. There are a whole bunch of great IPA's made in the midwest that you are missing. Go to the Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival in Madison in August and try em all in one day! Three Floyds Alpha King, Tyranea Bitter Woman IPA, Buckeye, it goes on and on....

                                                                                                            1. recently tried - Green Flash West Coast IPA, very nice.

                                                                                                              1. Wachusett 30-Minute IPA is the best out there...Boston Area

                                                                                                                1. Jamaica IPA from Mad River Brewery in Blue Lake (Humboldt Co.) is always in my fridge. Indica IPA from Lost Coast in Eureka is good also.

                                                                                                                  1. I know I'm seconding or thirding or eighthing or something, but Dogfish Head's 90 minute is brilliant. I was recently introduced to it so I've not tried their 120 minute yet, but the 90 has big, thick malt character that balances the wonderful and substantial hoppiness. Love it.

                                                                                                                    1. The Abbey Brewing Company in South Beach makes a fine IPA. Check it out on 16th St just East of Alton Road...look for the green neon "BAR" sign. Other great beers they contract brew are their Stout, Porter, Brown and Seasonals.

                                                                                                                      Keg only.

                                                                                                                      Cheers form SOBE!

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: netmover

                                                                                                                        Touche salesman...a righteous IPA.

                                                                                                                      2. If you are new to the IPA mountain, a good one to try is the Fish Tale Organic IPA: a sure pleaser...

                                                                                                                        1. My new favorite IPA is Bell's Two Hearted. Super aromatics, aggressive bitterness, but well-balanced.

                                                                                                                          1. Lagunitas Maximus. Actually, I had their Imperial Red last week and, while not an IPA, it is very hoppy and delicious.

                                                                                                                            Deschutes Hop Henge and Hop Trip, though not sure if those are still available - definitely worth doing a bit of searching for.

                                                                                                                            Speakeasy Double Daddy Imperial IPA.

                                                                                                                            Bridgeport IPA.

                                                                                                                            Marin Brew Co. IPA. Also, their White Knuckle Double IPA is incredible - if you can find any at BevMo or Whole Foods or wherever you buy your microbrews, get it.

                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: nosestuckinbook

                                                                                                                              My favorite IPA's"

                                                                                                                              Alesmith IPA - simply the best.
                                                                                                                              Bells Two Hearted Ale - really good, nearly perfect.
                                                                                                                              Russian River Pliny the Elder - Actually a "Double IPA", but the best IIPA I have ever had.
                                                                                                                              Port Hop 15 - Super nice hoppy flavor with a strong malt presence.
                                                                                                                              Lost Coast Indica IPA - Drinkable, almost sessionable. Lovely floral hop flavors.
                                                                                                                              Oskar Blues Dales pale ale - Perfection in a can.
                                                                                                                              Green Flash West Coast IPA - super hoppy, bitter and intense.

                                                                                                                              1. re: naven

                                                                                                                                Wow -- that list is very close to my own.

                                                                                                                                RRBC Pliny the Elder (okay a double, but still the best....that is readily available)
                                                                                                                                Stone 10th Anniversary (that's the best)
                                                                                                                                Pizza Port Hop 15 (fantastic)
                                                                                                                                Stone Ruination IPA (better than the regular IPA)
                                                                                                                                Bear Republic Racer 5 (the old standby)
                                                                                                                                Green Flash West Coast IPA (the newcomer)
                                                                                                                                Alesmith Yulesmith (okay, it's a DIPA, but too good not to include)

                                                                                                                                I know there are more....also like Moylan's DIPA, Marin's White Knuckle, Big Daddy, Double Daddy, Blind Pig.

                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                                  Great choices although 4 of your top 7 ar enot available anywhere near DC. If you can get it I can not say enough about 3 Floyds Dreadnaught. It is the best DIPA I have ever had bar none. FFF Alpha King is the best Pale Ale made as well, although I would call it an IPA.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: hopaddict

                                                                                                                                    Three Floyds does make a good beer, no doubt. Although, my experience with Dreadnaught has been both amazing and a severe let down. I don't know why, but something about that beer demands that it be extremely fresh, because I have never had a beer that lost so much character over a short period of time. Because im on the west coast, and can only get it through non-traditional means, I simply avoid it at the risk of getting another bad bottle. Alpha King is a great pale ale though. I do agree with you - it certainly has characteristics that make it an IPA.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hopaddict

                                                                                                                                      Alpha King is top dog.
                                                                                                                                      Three Floyds has cut back distribution. Only Indiana and parts of Illinois.
                                                                                                                                      Terrible for the Iowa beer scene.
                                                                                                                                      Then to make it worse, Bell's recently discontinued distribution of Two Hearted, Expedition, and Hopslam to Iowa.
                                                                                                                                      It's getting tough to find a good hoppy beer around here.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                                      yulesmith is my top beer period. the rest of your choices are all greast too.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                                                                        If you haven't already, and if you can find it in your area, you should check out Rogue's DIPA sometime (in the black ceramic bottle). I haven't seen it here in a long time, unfortunately, but that rivaled YuleSmith IMO.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                          I will check out the places by me, Rogue is distributed fairly well in NY

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                            Josh, the name escapes me, but the liquor store next door to Med Grill in Hillcrest had the Rogue DIPA as of a couple weeks ago. Don't know how fresh it is, but I did indeed see it on the shelf.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: naven

                                                                                                                                              Cool, thanks for the tip. I will head down there and pick some up. I'm not too worried if it's been sitting awhile, the ceramic bottle should keep it in good shape.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: naven

                                                                                                                                          What about Gordon's in the can!?!

                                                                                                                                      2. Toss up: Founders Centennial IPA and Dark Horse Crooked Tree.

                                                                                                                                        1. ATWATER FROM DETROIT,DALES PALE ALE &REDHOOK IPA

                                                                                                                                          1. My favorite IPA is Great Divide's Titan; My top 2IPA is GD's Hercules.

                                                                                                                                            For "regular" IPAs, I also like the ones made by Bear Republic, Sierra Nevada (I'd argue SN makes two IPAs, the one identified as such, and the darker Celebration Ale, whose style isn't spelled out on the label), Stone, Anderson Valley, Full Sail, Ipswich, and Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                            As far as 2IPAs, I'm eager to try Oskar Blues' Gordon. I love the other OB beers (neither of which is an IPA).

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kenji

                                                                                                                                              "I'd argue SN makes two IPAs, the one identified as such, and the darker Celebration Ale, whose style isn't spelled out on the label"

                                                                                                                                              No need to argue <g> the "Celebration Ale is an IPA" concept, since Sierra Nevada has entered it in that catagory in contests and it's won medals as such.

                                                                                                                                              For that matter, they also call their recent "Anniversary Ale" an IPA, so that makes 3 bottled IPA's from S-N.

                                                                                                                                            2. Stone Ruination,
                                                                                                                                              Pizza Port Hop 15,
                                                                                                                                              Bear Republic Hop Rod,
                                                                                                                                              Anderson Valley Hop ottin.
                                                                                                                                              Just some of my favorites.

                                                                                                                                              1. My longtime favorite is Tuppers Hop Pocket Ale. Listed as an American IPA, it has a very delicate hoppiness that I really like. Pretty much east coast,with Michagan? listed as an available location. Brewed in Ashton,VA.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sam at Novas

                                                                                                                                                  "Tuppers Hop Pocket Ale...Brewed in Ashton,VA."

                                                                                                                                                  Not for very much longer...

                                                                                                                                                  Ash*burn*, VA., was the location of the contract brewery, Old Dominion, where THPA was brewed but they dropped a number of their "contractees", after the OD brewery was purchased, in part, by Anheuser Busch. Apparently, they only dropped Hop Pocket's Pils, but the owners then pulled out of the entire deal, since they didn't want to deal with two separate companies for their two beers.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JessKidden

                                                                                                                                                      Oh No!! Not what I wanted to hear on a Monday. But thanks for the info update.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Okay, maybe this isn't a true IPA but Hitachino's Japanese Classic Ale claims to have its roots from the IPAs that were "brought to Japan in the 19th Century."

                                                                                                                                                    It has alot of complexity and a nice hoppy finish that is more seductive compared to a typical IPA that snaps the back of my neck off with the first sip.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Attention Hopheads! I have found my absolute favorite IPA(for now that is)! BRECKENRIDGE BREWERY, Small Batch 471 IPA. Wow what a great sweet malt with a big mouthfull of double hopping. Try it, you will like it!


                                                                                                                                                      1. Try Avery IPA, or even their Imperial Pale, also known as Maharajah. My 2 favorites!

                                                                                                                                                        1. A really nice one is done by Sierra Nevada this year in their Celebration Ale.

                                                                                                                                                          Also, not being a fan of most River Horse brews (Lambertville, NJ), I have to say that they do a tremendous IPA called Hop Hazard. Hasnt received the best reviews but I was very impressed by it.

                                                                                                                                                          1. coast 2 coast you'll have to come for the ABC IPA @ Abbey Brewing Company in South Beach, MIA, FLA

                                                                                                                                                            bottoms up

                                                                                                                                                            1. Full Sail IPA
                                                                                                                                                              Four Peaks Hopknot IPA

                                                                                                                                                              1. Must have if you get access to east coast is both the 60 minute and 90 minute put out by Dogfish.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I could be wrong, but you probably can't get this in CA, but I really like the Elissa IPA from St. Arnolds (Houston). Very hoppy, but not too much for the non-hopheads.
                                                                                                                                                                  You can get it cask conditioned(even better) at the certain bars (Gingerman in Houston and Dallas that I know of for sure).

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TroyTempest

                                                                                                                                                                    If I can find SN's IPA in Massachusetts, it can't be that hard to find. I think it's great, but I prefer the same brewery's other IPA, their Celebration Ale.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Faves include Mirror Pond, Bridgeport and Salt Lake City's own Squatter's, which crafts a lovely 6.0

                                                                                                                                                                    On the California front, seek out Sierra Nevada's IPA. Hard to find, but worth the search.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Just had Roxy Rolles seasonal offering from Magichat, fully aware that this is not an actual IPA but very hoppy and surprisingly very very impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Pleasant surprise: Bubblejack IPA, from Rush River Brewing Co, River Falls, Wisconsin. Reminded me of Stone IPA.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I was at Slyfox Brewpub in Phoenixville, PA last Sunday and had their Magnum IPA. I really enjoyed it. According to the their website it includes a "pungent German hop variety". Kinda reminded me of a West Coast IPA though.
                                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, they're having their annual "IPA Project" Dec 15th which features 15 different IPAs including their Odyssey Imperial IPA from 2007 and 2006. I will be in the house!

                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                            Ok, as previously reported I did attend the IPA Project at Slyfox Brewpub in Phoenixville Friday evening. There were 15 of their IPAs and DIPAs offfered incuding:
                                                                                                                                                                            First Gold
                                                                                                                                                                            Pacific Jade
                                                                                                                                                                            Nelson Sauvin
                                                                                                                                                                            Southern Cross
                                                                                                                                                                            Route 113 cask
                                                                                                                                                                            Odyssey Imperial
                                                                                                                                                                            Odyssey Imperial cask 07
                                                                                                                                                                            Odyssey Imperial cask 06

                                                                                                                                                                            I sampled all of the above except the Odyssey Imperial cask 07 which was sold out. All were fantastic. Note: The first 11 are single hop IPAs. The Target was particularly "bitey" in the finish but had a nice apple pie taste. I really enjoyed the Amarillo, Southern Cross, Pacific Jade and the Nelson Sauvin. These were the most complex and full flavored (I thought) of the IPAs offered. The DIPAs were very good as well with obviously more weight but to me were just not as "peculiar" as the single hop IPAs or the Route 113 cask.
                                                                                                                                                                            The crowd was very knowledgeable as well and friendly and polite despite the fact that the place was mobbed. Thanks Slyfox for another great time!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chinon00


                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds awesome, I wish I could have went there. I think Im going to stop off at River Horse today on the way down to New Hope and some shopping.

                                                                                                                                                                              Not sure if I mentioned earlier, but I got some Bells Two-Hearted shipped to me. What an incredible IPA? It really is on caliber with 90 minute.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                                                                                                                I love Riverhorse's Hop Hazard. It's not an ipa (but close enough). My local had Two Hearted on tap. Very nice but very dry in comparison to 90 minute. 90 minute has a sticky, prickly, gooey, resiny thing working that isn't apparent in Two Hearted.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                  Im a big fan of both and do agree with you on the description of the 90 minute. They are not the same beer but both achieve a high level of balance and deliciousness.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The Hop Hazard IMO is by far and away their best beer. Not a bad job on the tripel either- not a fan though of their winter freeze.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I don't know about CA availability, but New England Brewing's Sea Hag IPA is great.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I like Stone IPA but my two favorites are out of Oregon... Bridgeport IPA and McMenamin's Hammerhead. I don't know if the McMenamin's is an IPA strictly speaking, but a very hoppy pale ale...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. A few new ones this past weekend:

                                                                                                                                                                                Avery Maharaja (flat out awesome)
                                                                                                                                                                                Great Divide IPA (not bad)
                                                                                                                                                                                Urthel Hop-It (great for a belgian version, not too wheaty)

                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                                                                                                                  Avery's regular IPA is awesome as well. As a matter of fact I have been very impressed with their entire lineup from session to big.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                    That was my first venture into Avery, and after that it will surely not be my last.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ive always loved the hoppy stuff from dogfish/victory and avery is right up there.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MVNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                      I completely agree. We've been fortunate to finally be seeing Avery in the Bay Area. I prefer their regular IPA to the Maharaja. The Avery 14 Anniversary and Avery Mephistophiles Stout are two of my beer highlights of the year.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dive

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've never had Maharaja but have heard really great things about it. What to you gives their regular IPA the edge over Maharaja?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                          I like them both (and tend to like imperials or doubles more). I find the regular IPA to be a bit more nuanced. The Maharaja is a bit more one-note to me (but this not really a complaint -- you have to try it).

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Geez so negative on the Big Daddy. Its such a good beer tho. Anyway, 21st Amendment has to be among the top west-coast IPAs. Long live cascade hops!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I just did a quick scan of favorites and did not notice Breckinridge "471". This is my fav when I can find it. It was advertised as a "small batch" brew on the package, so maybe it is no more. But if you see it,try it, youl'll like it! http://www.breckbrew.com/beer/smallba...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I have to represnt the Pacific NW on this one. After spending many years here I moved back to the east coast and as previous commentent have mentioned, to much malt. My plalate is devoted to the super, overly-hopped IPA's of the are.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My Favs:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Diamond Knot IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                        Snoqualmie IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                        Boundry Bay IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                        Maritime Dry Hop Pale (darn close to IPA)
                                                                                                                                                                                        IPA from Bend Brewing

                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll even throw Stone IPA in there (even if it is from So. Cal) because it is so tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: passionfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                          I had to add a few more from the Pac NW, as well as comment on those you mentioned.....

                                                                                                                                                                                          Diamond Knot and Snoqualmie are always winners. I think Boundary Bay's Imperial IPA is truly the nectar of the gods. I lived in Bellingham in 95-96, back when BB was the new, second best brewery in town (behind Orchard Street), and am just amazed by how good their products have gotten. Definitely the best in WA state, hands down.

                                                                                                                                                                                          In Portland, anything IPA from Laurelwood Brewing has been the gold standard for the last five years or so (assuming you like the floral, intesnse, West-Coast style, of course). Now that former Laurelwood brewmaster Christian Ettinger has headed out on his own with Hopworks, I expect the best IPA in Oregon may be found wherever he's at. Anybody tried Hopworks IPA? I understand it's being sold on draft to pubs, even though the Hopworks brewpub won't be open for awhile yet.......

                                                                                                                                                                                          I always though Terminal Gravity out in Enterprise came a pretty close second for the Best IPA in Oregon. Bridgeport is certainly tasty enough, especially on draft. I never cared for the one from Deschutes down in Bend, though. Seemed a little bland and watery compared to the others I mentioned.....

                                                                                                                                                                                          Regrettably, I have now moved to British Columbia.....which is great in all ways except for access to good IPA. Canadians love to pat themselves on the back about how their beer is so much better than American brew......which is true, I guess, if you are comparing Molson or Kokanee to Budweiser. But that's like guys on death row comparing the gas chamber to a firing squad.....one option may be better than the other, but they're both rather below-average. The IPA scene is BC is pretty underwhelming, with the possible exception of Steamworks' Empress IPA. Haven't tried the Victoria pubs yet, so I am holding out hope........

                                                                                                                                                                                          Washington's got some great IPA's -- but Oregon still has the best, IMO. Munich on the Columbia, baby!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: docpickett

                                                                                                                                                                                            The Hopworks Hub (I think that's their IPA) is really lovely, and thank you for letting me in on why! I always loved the beer at the Laurelwood. And I'll back you up on TG coming in close second.

                                                                                                                                                                                            A regional, not (technically) Portland favorite of mine that I haven't seen listed is the Broken Halo from Widmer.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Full Sail -- available at Trader Joe's for $6 a six-pack. Very hoppy, very refreshing, no nasty aftertaste. Also from the same place right now (December) is their "Wassail," a very nice dark-but-not-sweet ale.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ozhead

                                                                                                                                                                                            On the west coast, at any rate. FS's IPA and "Wassail" are fine brews; I wish they were available in MA.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Two that I have been let down by have been the Great Divide Titan and Stoudt's IPA.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Ive been wanting to try the SN Celebration, especially given the comments on this thread. Also been dying to hit up Surly's IPAs.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Curiousity question: I recently have read an analysis on ABV/Calories/Carbs by style of beer and they analyzed stouts, ales, lagers, etc.. I would assume that IPAs given the high quality and the usually higher ABVs would have higher calories. To me, more than worth it!!! (However, the wife who has just started enjoying floral hops is now scared off by the idea). I have to convince her the DFH 90 minute means its only 90 calories :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: yankeefan

                                                                                                                                                                                              I find that although the calories may be higher I end up drinking less because the quality is better. By the time I am done with my sixpack of Harpoon IPA during the games Sunday my friends who drink bud have brushed off a twleve pack a piece.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Pliny the Elder rules all (IPA's).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. If you are looking for a great source of beer info you should check out www.beeradvocate.com. You can find information on what to look for in a beer and lots of comments from people who have tried them, plus lots of food pairings and beer events.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I live in Eugene, Oregon. We are blessed with IPA's of every description. My long time favorite is Bombay Bomber, made by Steelhead Brewing Co.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also am getting fond of the offerrings of the Rogue Brewing Co., have been drinking some of their limited release IPA's lately, very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some folks in Ashland actually have distributed cans of their Caldera IPA. Nice to have Oregon IPA in a can at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Long Trail IPA. Mega hoppy!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Red Hook Long Hammer
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Harpoon IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stone Coast 420
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shipyard Fuggles
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ...I'm a big fan of the East Coasters...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1) Avery IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2) Dogfish 60
                                                                                                                                                                                                      3) Founders Centennial IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4) Mirror Pond
                                                                                                                                                                                                      5) Goose Island IPA
                                                                                                                                                                                                      6) Sierra Nevada IPA

                                                                                                                                                                                                      you should be able to find those in CA except for the Founders and the Goose Island.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: planojim

                                                                                                                                                                                                        nice list, never gotten opportunity to try founders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        would have to add sn celebration, hopdevil and alesmith

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: planojim

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow...I've never seen the goose island ranked so high on a list like this! When I lived in the midwest, the IPA was only okay, and the Hex Nut brown was much easier to find. I'm glad they've come so far!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also think Mirror Pond is only okay, too sweet/malty for (my tastes for) a really great IPA. Ninkasa Total Domination (probably a double IPA) is a great one out West Coast way, and for available-widely-in-bottles, I really truly love with all my heart the Widmer Broken Halo. Lagunitas is also pretty damn good. Both decent contenders for challenging the Dogfish 60. Sierra's damn good, but harder to find than the regular 'ol' green label pale ale, which I consider my this-is-a-good-beer yardstick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I haven't seen any recommendation for Great Lake's -Commodore Perry. I consider it to be a good balance between East Coast /West Coast styles and get nervous if there's less than 6 of these in my fridge. I'd guess you'd only find it in bottles in CA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Just had the pleasure of having a Bells Hopslam that was sent my way. All I have to say is WOW!!!!! what a beer experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I often visit the Tampa Bay area, where it can be hard to find a good variety of beers on tap. A restaurant I like, 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House in St. Petersburg, offers Cigar City Jai Lai IPA, so I had to try it. I was not expecting much from an area brewery I wasn't familiar with. WOW - was I pleasantly surprised -it is a terrific! It reminds me of Racer 5: Hoppy and piney, but also slightly fruity (in a good way).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As I often do when I find a new beer that I fall in love with,, I checked out what people were saying about it at BeerAdvocate.com. It's average grade was A- . The Alstrom brothers (who run the site) were even more enamored, giving it a solid A.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Tied...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1-Dogfish 60-120 min IPA's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1A-Flying fish