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Fav IPAs?

  • j

I am trying new IPA's and was wondering what everyone's favs are. I live in Ithaca NY and we have a local brewery, Ithaca Beer. They have Cazcazilla and Flower Power which are my 2 favorite IPA's. I have tried a bunch of others and only like Dogfish Head 60 and 90 minute IPAs. Everything else is sweet and tastes like honey. Any recommendations? Thanks. Jen

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  1. If you can get your hands on it out in NY, I love Russian River's Pliny the Younger (even Elder is good). It's kind of between a double and Imperial IPA

    6 Replies
    1. re: shellshock24

      Only available in CA and sometimes in PA.

      1. re: shellshock24

        Is there any room between double and imperial? Those terms are pretty much interchangeable.

        As to the question at hand, Green Flash West Coast IPA. I think I've read that Green Flash is being distributed in New York.

        1. re: ultramagnetic

          Double and Imperial are the same re: IPAs. Pliny the Younger is actually a triple IPA. Pliny the Elder is a double.

          1. re: Josh

            I stand corrected, haha. Thanks for correcting me.

            1. re: ultramagnetic

              Imperial is really terminology used for anything that is amped up. So you are correct in that Imperial IPA is the same as a Double IPA.
              For example, Nugget Nectar (which to me is an IPA) is an imperial amber, and they make imperial pilsners, imperial wheats, etc... man I love beer.

              There are even some triple IPAs out there- see Founders Dirty Dancer that are just mindblowing. I guess you could call the 120 minute from Dogfish the same but that drinks more like a barleywine of sorts. Malts are dominant.

          2. Nugget Nectar not technically an IPA but an Imperial amber but has all the qualities of a good IPA/DIPA and the best thats out there in my opinion.

            Others are of course the 90 minute, Victory Hop Devil, Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Bells Two hearted.

            4 Replies
            1. re: yankeefan

              Nugget Nectar is decidedly different from an IPA or DIPA because of the clean, round, fruitiness of it.


              1. re: Chinon00

                Boy, this technical stuff is so overblown. If it smells like an IPA, tastes like an IPA, brother.. Im calling it an IPA.

                Im also calling it a great beer. Im sick of this category/over-labeling of beer styles. So ridiculous.

                1. re: yankeefan

                  The categorizations are for the purposes of judging beer in competition, to ensure that you're dealing with apples-to-apples comparisons. You certainly wouldn't judge an Imperial Stout alongside an IPA, would you? Once you go down the road of categorization, then things that might seem like small differences matter a great deal. If you're making an American Wheat, you wouldn't want to use a banana/clove German Hefeweizen yeast, because the resulting beer would no longer be an American Wheat.

                  1. re: Josh

                    Is triple IPA a category commonly used in competitions? I haven't heard the term much except in reference to PTY.

            2. Sweet? That's really strange. Out here on the West coast, they're normally quite bitter.

              Stone IPA is a very good one, and they have East coast distribution.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Josh

                I tried Mojo IPA, Lagunitas IPA, and Middle Ages--all too sweet. Had a strong honey flavor. I LOVE the Flower Power from our local Brewery. Bitter and has a grapefruit taste. Sounds weird but it is delicious and I hate fruit beers.

                1. re: jlp8

                  You should try Stone's regular IPA, and their Ruination Double IPA. Both are quite dry and the Ruination has that grapefruit quality you're mentioning.

                  1. re: Josh

                    I love IPA's, am always trying new ones, but Stone's regular is my standard and always in the fridge. Not saying that I've tried some that are "better" (on that day, at least), but it is what I think IPA's should taste like. Obviously, YMMV.

                    1. re: healthyscratch

                      I agree. To me, the Stone IPA is a textbook example.

                    2. re: Josh

                      tried them- LOVED BOTH! Thanks

                      1. re: jlp8

                        Glad you liked it. Later this year, they'll be releasing a 12th Anniversary Ale. These are usually double IPAs of one kind or another, so keep an eye out.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Stone's 12th is looking to be a Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout


                    3. re: jlp8

                      sweetness is from the crystal malt.

                      I haven't had a flower power in about a year, but remember liking it when I did.

                  2. "Dogfishhead 90 min. Imperial IPA" Full bodied, well balanced malt forward beer and crisp not overpowering hop character. Nice strong beer 9% kept in check by the full body. Slight fruit notes like apricot and bananas from the yeast and hops and probably good with spicy, curry, sushi or another Dogfishhead 90 min. Imperial IPA. Highly recomended. Only one dislike...Six pack price for only 4 12oz. bottles.

                    1. Pretty sure you can't get these in NY, but if you ever make it to the Midwest, Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA is outstanding. Also, seek out Founders Brewing's Centennial IPA, which has nothing sweet about it: it's full-bore bitterness from big-time Centennial hops. Then there's Surly Brewing's Furious, an all-out hop monster that makes the hop-timid run screaming in fear...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: EddieGlick

                        Funny you list those Eddie. I just made a trade from the midwest for all 3 of the beers you have listed. I have had the Dreadnaught and its amazing- cant wait to try the Centennnial and Furious for 1st time.

                        1. re: yankeefan

                          Congrats, you scored big. Enjoy 'em!

                        2. re: EddieGlick

                          Furious made me run screaming, only it was "get out of the way" at anyone between me and the refridgerator.
                          I forgot how freakin good this stuff is.
                          I'm also impressed with my first Bitter Woman, but I'm gonna reserve judgement on the Crooked Tree I just had for the first time. I liked it, I'm just not sure how much. Know what I mean? It's a more than one beer to pass judgement beer.

                        3. Try Southern Tier IPA. They're from Lakewood, N.Y. If you're in the mood for something a little more interesting, their Unearthly (a double IPA) is out-freakin-standing.

                          1. I am an IPA freak and Racer 5 by Bear Republic (CA but widely distributed) is a standout. Their Hop Rod Rye is also a favorite and very close to an IPA in hop character and bitterness. Happy hunting!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: PaulB

                              Loved the Racer 5, but shockingly did not enjoy the Racer X. Thought I wouldve loved it.

                              Recently been impressed by both the Goose Island IPA and their Imperial IPA

                              1. re: yankeefan

                                I found Racer 5 to be very similar to Stone IPA, both are outstanding.

                                I like Smuttynose IPA, definitely available in NY...not a sweet one.
                                Victory Hop Devil is another great IPA.

                                In my experience the double IPAs are often too sweet to compensate for the extra alcohol and ramped-up hoppiness. I am not a fan of that style, usually I find these beers unbalanced in one way or another. I usually prefer the standard IPA (for instance, I like DFH 60 minute much more than the 90 minute).

                                My favorite IPA of all time is Bell's Two Hearted, not available in NY, but well worth a trip down to PA for a case or two.

                                1. re: kenito799

                                  Like Stone IPA, ruination, Hop Devil- some of the others were too alcohol tasting. Have to go to PA in May- thanks for the suggestions.

                                  1. re: jlp8

                                    Bell's Two-Hearted is very good.

                                    1. re: Josh

                                      I am going to be the millionth person to say this but in-deed Two Hearted is the one of the finest beers I have ever tasted in my short life. I am missing it dearly, in this town of Montreal, where its availability is summarized as never. It is so impeccably balanced: piney, floral, citrusy, hoppy, bitter and slightly sweet, all at the same time. Yes it is aggressive but like a tough lover, it makes you long for another one. Perhaps getting seven years of graduate school in Midwest was so miserable that I had to romanticize a bottle of beer, but It is my sweetest memory of an otherwise endlessly dead period of my life, which seemed like a bad Alexander Payne trip. Bell (among some other Midwestern breweries) is definitely "top of the world" class. Ironic, there are some stupid idiots (intentional semantic repetition) who think that Americans can't make beer, still....

                                2. re: yankeefan

                                  Goose Island has two or three brewpubs in Chicago that I try to go to when I'm there...the IPA is very good.

                              2. I mentioned this before, but I am from Ithaca,NY and we have a local brewery. Has anyone tried any of the Ithaca Beer varieties. If so, comments? Jen

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: jlp8

                                  Tried most of them as I've spent summers in the Finger Lakes. Standouts would have to be the double IPA, cascazilla, smoked porter, and nut brown. Pale ale, flower power, pils, and apricot wheat were all middle of the road, meh. Also had the opportunity to try the Old Habit--a good rye beer. A good little brewery Ithaca is.

                                  1. re: jlp8

                                    I had a pint of the Ithaca Pale Ale at Simeon's in Ithaca and thought it was quite good, dry, toasty and sessionable.

                                    1. re: jlp8

                                      Go there for a tasting and you can sample everything that they're currently making...their old standbys as well as their seasonal brews!

                                      1. re: jlp8

                                        I don't think I have had a bad beer from Ithaca, and I think I have tried most of them.

                                      2. No chance of finding this in Ithaca, but I'll add another that I tried recently and is now a personal favorite:

                                        Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

                                        1. A tremendous trade has just gotten me a couple awesome over the top DIPAs. Wow, are these two delicious-

                                          Bell's Hopslam
                                          Bell's Big Head San Diego Style

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: yankeefan

                                            I tried the Stone IPA this weekend and loved it. I found it to be an everyday IPA as opposed to the when I need an IPA hit IPA. It's not a boozy tasting IPA. I liked it better than the Victory Hop Devil I also have in the fridge. I'm fairly new to the IPA world and was a Racer 5 person previous to the Stone.
                                            Thanks for the recommendations.

                                            1. re: Wolfgang

                                              i like all of the above...have you tasted Racer 5 and Stone side by side? By memory I find them very similar. Wondering what differences you detect. I need to try a taste test.

                                              By the way, just had a Magic Hat Lucky Kat on tap and yuck, the hop aroma and taste are pretty good but no balance, dry and sour, the bitter aftertaste accumulates till you feel like you've been licking an ashtray. Not a fan!

                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                Agreed, Lucky Kat was horrid! Not an IPA what so ever. Im not a snob above Magic hat by any means, I actually think their Roxy Rolles is tremendous and essentially an IPA.

                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                  I think Racer 5 is much maltier than Stone. Stone has a really clean, crisp, dryness to it.

                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                    I too would like to do a side by side. I've only had Racer 5 on tap and always accompanying a burger. I tried it, liked it and didn't venture out until this month thanks to this thread.

                                                    1. re: Wolfgang

                                                      I was in Tucson this weekend, went into an Albertson's to get some rum for my gf's cuba libres, looked in the minimally stocked beer refrigerator and lo and behold--Dogfish Head 60 minute! It was $12, which surprised me, but I got it anyway and was happy I spent the most I ever have on a 6 pack. It's delicious. I found it very good by itself and great with my turkey, basil, tomato and havarti sandwich.

                                              2. I've really been enjoying Arcadia Hopsmouth Double IPA recently. Arcadia is a brewery in Michigan so I'm not sure of the distribution area, but it is mighty tasty.

                                                Great Divide from Colorado has Titan IPA which I also enjoy.

                                                1. I think i've finally decided that Bell's Two Hearted Ale is my favorite beer of all-time

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Mr Siegal

                                                    As i sit here reading that, and actually drinking my last Two Hearted, I have to ask, have you had Furious? Or Masala Mama?
                                                    Not that 2 hearted can't be the best. When the one that I'm drinking is gone, so ends my supply of good beer.

                                                    1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                      I, sir, have had both Furious and Masala Mama, and I concur with Mr Siegal that Two Hearted is superior. The former is a great IPA that I love, but the magical balance of Two Hearted, in which the whole surpasses the sum of the parts, eludes it; Masala Mama, IMHO, is a vastly overrated DIPA (I am not a DIPA fan, obviously, I find them too sweet, too alcoholic, too out of balance, too too much for the sake of being too much). Two Hearted is one of the most perfectly crafted brews out there.

                                                  2. Have you tried Clipper City's Loose Cannon out of MD? Stoudt's Double IPA (Adamstown, PA)? I've seen Victory's Hop Devil on here and second recommendations, Victory also makes Hop Wallop if the Devil isn't enough for you. Also seconds for Green Flash and Stone. I also recall enjoying Avery's IPA.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: BaltoPhilFood

                                                      Hey I agree with you all on here. IPA's in general are my favorite beers and there are many many very good ones. Stone, Stoudt's, Victory, Dogfish, etc. are all great and should be drank in volume. Right now i'm having Lagunitas IPA and it is very good. I had a good case of Abita Jocamo IPA that is great too. I still have to say that my go to is the Bell's Two Hearted Ale. There is always room in my fridge for other cases and there will always be something that I am trying, but my fingers are crossed i'll always be able to purchase the Two Hearted

                                                      1. re: Mr Siegal

                                                        The Dogfishhead 60 IPA has become my favorite beer. I used to rave about the Sweetwater IPA and 420 when I visited Atlanta, but the Dog 60 blew it away in a side by side tasting. AlLso liked it better than the Victory HD. So what is the real taste difference between the 60 and 90. I can't see spending the $9 on a four pack if I get addicted to this stuff?

                                                        1. re: billmayo

                                                          90 is a DIPA = higher alcohol, more hops, usually more sugar to balance, me no likee. 60 is great IPA, nicely balanced.

                                                          1. re: billmayo

                                                            The 90 Minute IPA has 9% ABV rather than 6%; and 90 IBUs rather than 60. Basically, it is stronger and more concentrated than the 60 Minute IPA. Also, the 90 has some delicious, biscuity malt flavors beneath all the hops, while the 60 Minute is, to my taste, pure "hop juice." That's not to say that one is better than the other.

                                                        2. re: BaltoPhilFood

                                                          How about Double Simcoe? Quite the over the top experience, in such a good way.

                                                          1. re: yankeefan

                                                            One of my desert island beers is Weyerbacher Double Simcoe! But this is a very polarizing brew. When I introduce it to others, they either love it over the top like I do or really don't like it at all. At one of the beer bars I frequent in NYC, they refused to take it on because they thought it was "too much". DFH 90 is a good head to head DIPA match-up. Barcade in Brooklyn had them both on tap at the same time at one point.

                                                        3. in the bay area, 21st amendment makes a good double ipa and an imperial called double trouble. Drakes does a great job with their IPA, which i think is more widely available. Speakeasy's Big Daddy Ipa and double daddy are also quite good. Green Flash from San Diego. there's a lot out there for the discerning hop head

                                                            1. There are a ton of IPAs out there and all are good. If you live in New York, your choices of this style of beer are as good as anywhere in the world, as New York breweries excel in beer making. I have never really had a bad beer from the state of New York. Keep drinking those New York IPAs. But remember, Sierra Nevada breweries make a damned fine IPA also.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: EX500rider

                                                                I travel all over the country with the exception of the Pacific NW and, in my opinion, NY is nowhere near the top of the list. I have had great IPAs from Southern Tier, Captain Lawrence and Sixpoint but the latter two are very hard to find outside of their home markets.

                                                                NY isn't even in the top five markets for IPAs. Not even close.

                                                                1. re: brentk

                                                                  While many New York beers are not classified as IPAs in name, they do rank well in form. As I stated before, I am limited as to what I can buy in Alabama, thanks to our legislative body here.

                                                                  1. re: brentk

                                                                    I live in NYC and totally agree. I would have never associated IPA with NY state.?.?.....The AVAILABLITY of various IPA-styled brews is pretty good though. The local neighboorhood bodegas are really stepping up their craft beer selections.

                                                                  2. re: EX500rider

                                                                    Sierra Nevada makes several IPAs. My favorite, their Celebration Ale, should be out any week now.

                                                                  3. If you can find it, I really like Troegs Hop Back. It's from Harrisburg, PA. It has a great, fragrant, fresh fruity hop aroma.

                                                                    1. t'smije belgian IPA is tops!! I have yet to have tried better.

                                                                      1. Ok, this is a great post. First, BaltoPhilfood, you and I have the same taste in IPA's. If I had to pick here are some of my choices. Regular IPA, I love Blue Point Hoptical Illusion. Double IPA, Stoudt's, Avery, Dogfishhead 90, and Three Floyd's. My got to beer since I live in PA is Victory Hop Devil. I would love to try Russian River Pliny Elder and Younger, and also Stone. I have had Russian River Damnation and Temptation and really enjoyed them.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: dfishhead

                                                                          I too am from PA and we are fortunate to be able to have Victory Hop Devil as our everyday go to beer, but some of my other favorites:

                                                                          Bell's Two-Hearted
                                                                          Avery Ale to the Chief
                                                                          Ballast Point Bigeye
                                                                          Stone Ruination
                                                                          Southern Tier Unearthy

                                                                          Just to name a few.

                                                                          1. i like a lot of them, Drakes in particular, Speakeasy, Green Flash, Dogfish head, but so far I've found nothing that surpasses Pliny the Elder

                                                                            1. Green Flash, and Great Devide's Hercules and Titan are among my favs.

                                                                              1. i have been salting my friends with the victory mix twelve packs (golden monkey/pils /hop devil) that i am getting at the local for 13usd. i think i may have some converts. 90 minute is great but christ! 60 bucks a case is way out of my league for a regular drinker. how do the sierra nevada celebration and the anniversary differ? harpoon, just o.k.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: hyde

                                                                                  Cele and anniversary have slightly different malt and hop recipes...cele seems to have more dry hopping (in the nose), and has always been the perfect beer in my mind. Should be here soon!

                                                                                  1. re: NiTro

                                                                                    Celebration has long been a favorite of mine, although in recent years it seems to have a bit less body than it did originally. The beer was a bit maltier 10-15 years ago...but it's still a great brew that I look forward to every year.

                                                                                    1. re: The Professor

                                                                                      Is it just me, or has Celebration Ale become lighter in color in recent years? I remember it as once (that is, for some years running) as having a reddish color, while recent editions have been more amber.

                                                                                      I still enjoy it, though. '04 blew me away.

                                                                                      1. re: Kenji

                                                                                        Yeah- it used to have much more of an amber color with a bit more pronounced caramel quality (my homebrew 'clone' recipe from the early 90's utilized Crystal 90L, fwiw, and a lot of people thought it was a dead ringer). Either way, I still enjoy the heck out of it as well (plus it is a LOT easier for me to find these past few years).

                                                                                    2. re: NiTro

                                                                                      CA is later than usual this year -- at least the bottled version. I've usually tasted it by the first week of October.

                                                                                    3. re: hyde

                                                                                      Celebration Ale is more robust all around than SN Anniversary Ale; it's maltier, hoppier, and stronger (6.8 % ABV vs. AA's 5.9%).

                                                                                    4. Caledonian Brewery's Deuchar's IPA. Award winning IPA in Scotland. Sorry, I don't think they're shipping to North America.

                                                                                      1. Two favorites:

                                                                                        1. Bombay Bomber - Cult IPA made by Steelhead Brewery in Eugene, Oregon

                                                                                        2. Track Town IPA - Great beer made by Rogue Brewery in Oregon

                                                                                        1. I'm brand new to the site, and I'm an IPA-lover. My favorites so far are Boundary Bay (Bellingham, WA) and Metolius Dolly Vander (I can get it in my local market), but neither one is grapefruity enough for me. Can anyone recommend a real grapefruity IPA that I can get ahold of in So. Cal? Thanks!!

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: cherylcarlsbad

                                                                                            Just had Green Flash West Coast IPA for the first time last week. Huge citrus flavor and nose. Should be easy to find.

                                                                                            1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                                                              Thanks Bob ~ I'll google it and see if I can find it.

                                                                                              1. re: cherylcarlsbad

                                                                                                I think you're in an area that should have it. Let me know what you think.
                                                                                                Do you use Beeradvocate.com? Great site for those of us who love a nice beer.

                                                                                            2. re: cherylcarlsbad

                                                                                              I assume you're in Carlsbad from you're name and judging by that you should have tons of access to great IPAs. Check out offerings from Port/Pizza Port (they have a great bottle shop in Carlsbad), Green Flash, Alpine, or Ballast Point.

                                                                                              1. re: DougOLis

                                                                                                i believe Stone is down there too, and they make a very nice IPA

                                                                                                1. re: chuckl

                                                                                                  The guys at the Pizza Port bottle shop say Pliny The Elder is the hottest IPA there, but I wasn't a fan of it. Again, it's that grapefruit thing I'm after. But I'll try the other ones you mentioned and report back. (And I'll check out Beeradvocate.com too, thanks)

                                                                                                  1. re: cherylcarlsbad

                                                                                                    You found no grapefruit notes in Pliny The Elder?

                                                                                                  2. re: chuckl

                                                                                                    Yes, Stone is here as well but I left them off my list because I typically find their beers to be a bit maltier and lacking as pronounced of a citrus component that cherylcarlsbad was looking for.