It doesn’t matter what craft beer style is currently trending in brewing world (sour ales, barrel-aged stouts, lagers, etc.), the IPA is always making like Bran (spoiler alert!) and sitting upon the proverbial, hops-covered Iron Throne. Simply put, even though people try to say they’re sick of India Pale Ales, they continue to buy them en masse — whether they be West Coast or New England style.
With such a wide variety of IPAs available from over 7,000 craft breweries, how can anyone except to pick just one to try? It gets confusing (and overwhelming) in a dang hurry. That’s why we asked some our favorite brewers to tell us the one IPA they’d insist that any and every beer fan try. The list below contains some of the most well-known breweries in the country, along with a few you might not have ever heard of until now.
Tired Hands Alien Church
Matt McCall, brewmaster at Coney Island Brewing
If I had to suggest only one IPA, it would have to be Tired Hands’ Alien Church. It’s an OG Hazy IPA style and it still stands the test of time.
Russian River Blind Pig
Yiga Miyashiro, director of brewing operations at Saint Archer Brewing Company
Russian River Blind Pig IPA. Vinnie from Russian River is the IPA Cool Uncle we always want to hang out with. And his IPA’s don’t disappoint. Blind Pig was first brewed in 1994. While I cannot say I have been drinking Blind Pig that long, I can say that as long as I’ve been drinking it, it has, and continues to be one of the great IPA’s that everyone should seek out.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
John Stewart, general manager and director of brewing operations at Perrin Brewing
Bell’s Two Hearted IPA. As a Midwestern brewer, this is the classic Midwest IPA and has been voted best IPA in the US multiple times. It’s a must-try for those who have never had it and want to see what level of IPAs the Midwest has to offer.
Squatters Juicy IPA
Brian Morris, innovation brewer at Deep Ellum Brewing
The Juicy IPA from Squatters is a beer that I can’t speak enough great things about. A beautiful punch of hops and only 4% abv.
Cellarmaker Mt. Nelson
Tim Matthews, head of brewing operations at Oskar Blues Brewery
Anything from Cellarmaker, especially the ones hopped with their NZ varieties. The flavors they get are crazy diverse and authentic. One of the best new ones is Mt. Nelson.
Mast Landing Coasting
Joe Mashburn, head brewer at Night Shift Brewing
I just tried Coasting from Mast Landing and thought it was delicious. It wasn’t a punch you in the mouth NE IPA, but well balanced and clean.
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Joe Connolly, director of Springdale Beer
Sierra Nevada Celebration. It’s the most delicious balance of juicy malts and racy hops, with wonderful clarity. And its arrival means winter is finally here. But it’s very drinkable any time of the year.
Night Shift Santilli
John Walker, head brewer and co-founder Athletic Brewing Company
I would suggest Night Shift’s Santilli. It’s a fantastic, true to style balanced IPA in a market dominated by haze-bombs.
Zwei Willie Nelson
Kelly McKnight, pilot brewer at New Belgium Brewing Company
Willie Nelson IPA from Zwei Brewing. I probably drink more of this than I should but I this is one of my favorite beers in Colorado. The dry hop regimen with Amarillo and Galaxy really does the trick. This is my desert island beer.
Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing
Boneyard RPM. The hands-down favorite IPA of Bend, Oregon is too good to ever pass up. This beer has consistently quenched the thirst of hop heads in the Pacific Northwest and it personally elicits fond memories of the time I spent living in Bend.
Trillium Congress Street
Mark Theisen, head brewer at Coronado Brewing
Congress Street IPA from Trillium. It’s a super juicy, hazy IPA that’s surprisingly light and refreshing. It tastes like drinking a glass of pineapple juice. So good. Those guys know what they’re doing.