This Thursday, August 6th, beer enthusiasts around the world join together to celebrate IPA Day. To prepare you for the festivities we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite local IPAs.
Now, we know IPAs can be a bit of a contentious beer style. Not everybody loves a big “Hop-Bomb.” Fortunately for you, it’s a divisive style even amongst the three of us. Thus, the suggestions we are presenting you with will have an option for just about everyone.
Matt, our biggest hop-hater, will start you off with a particularly unique IPA followed up by an “almost IPA” that even the most hop-averse persons will enjoy. Lloyd will then hit you with a couple of great sessionable type IPAs for the summer. And I (Joe) will finish you off with the knockout punch level IPAs, the biggest, baddest, and boldest offerings. So without further ado, here you go!
A preface to my choices: I’m about to say something blasphemous in the Pacific Northwest: I am not a huge fan of IPAs. The bitter pinetree-esque bite that comes with a lot of hops is not my cup of tea (or pint of beer if we’re going with appropriate analogies here). Rather, I am the one of the bunch who loves a well crafted fruit beer, especially during the summertime with all the shandies and eclectic fruit concoctions that come out.
That being said, I love spicy (HOT) beer, the spicier the better I say! Thankfully, one of my favorite spicy beers of all time is also an IPA! This leads me to my first choice, Ballast Point’s Habanero Sculpin. Yes, I know, this seems like cheating since the beer isn’t from Seattle. BUT…Ballast Point is heavily distributed in our area, making this beer easily obtainable for your enjoyment on IPA Day.
While it may have some heat to every sip, this beer is the ultimate drinker for the summertime. The spice cuts down on the hops of the IPA and makes a solid flavor profile. While not readily available in Seattle (Try Chucks Hopshop, Whole Foods or Bottleworks if you’re looking for it), this is a great IPA. At 7.0% with a spicy backend heat most people can only have 1 or 2, whereas I’m taking down a sixer.
My second choice comes in the form of a local collaboration. Most know from our previous articles that Reuben’s is one of our favorite breweries. What you may not know is that we love pizza as well, especially me. Yes, I even have my mother ship me pizza from my hometown in NJ because I love it so much (maybe I’ll put in some pizza posts around Seattle; I’ve pretty much tried them all). One of the places we enjoy most in Seattle is Zeeks. Recently, Reuben’s and Zeeks decided to come together and make a beer to celebrate both places, thus bringing me to my second choice:
Reubens and Zeeks – Hop Tropic: *Maybe not quite, but almost, an IPA. Certainly an IPA throughout most of the country.
While it’s got more hops that I normally love, the fruity aroma and taste from the guava, passion fruit, and tangerine draw me in every time. This is such an easy drinking *IPA that is great by the growler-full. Smooth from the initial taste to the last drop, this is one *IPA that I can’t get enough of.
Unlike Matt, I am a fan of IPAs, especially during the summer. Perhaps because I tend to only drink them in the summer, I like my IPAs to be fairly sessionable. IPAs with heavy citrus and tropical fruit character while keeping IBUs and ABV at a low to moderate level is the way to go. So here are a couple IPAs that have featured strongly in my sunny, summer drinking.
3 Way IPA is a limited release beer that Astoria, OR based Fort George brews with two other select breweries every year. This year, Fort George partnered with PFriem (Hood River,OR) and local favorite, Georgetown Brewing, to produce this awesome IPA. The second you open the can you get hit by a nice citrus aroma. The taste has obvious tropical fruit and citrus notes throughout and an easy hop finish. With a relatively low ABV (5.7%), this beer is definitely a great one for day-drinking in the beautiful summer weather.
Citra IPA from our friends at Stoup Brewing in Seattle has really been a favorite of mine this summer. Citrus and tropical fruit from the Citra hops employed in the production of this beer show brilliantly from start to finish. Stoup definitely nails it when they describe this beer as “sunshine in a glass.” This beer is perfect as a way to beat the recent Seattle heat.
Everyone who has ever gone for a beer with me will tell you I’m a hop head. The list of my favorite beer styles goes: Triple IPA, Double IPA, IPA, ISA, etc. You get the point, I want hops up front, hops throughout, and hops in the finish. With that said, here are the two IPAs I plan to enjoy tomorrow and so should you!
We go back to the taps at Reuben’s for the first of our two imperial IPA suggestions for IPA day. This former Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Championships clocks in at 9.4% ABV and 80+ IBU. This beer hits you right on the nose with tropical fruit, grapefruit citrus, and some faint pine. Tastes just like it smells. Fairly light body but accomplishes a nice balance with a sturdy malt backbone. This is a big and flavorful beer that’s surprisingly easy to drink. But watch out, at 9.4% more than a couple of these and you’ll be struggling the next day.
The Brother is one big, bold, beast of an IPA. Clocking in at 8.5% ABV and ONE BILLION IBUS!!! Okay, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you wouldn’t know it from the taste. Fremont says, “The Brother will sit on your palate and beat you down. And you’ll like it.” Well they were almost right, we don’t “like it”, we LOVE IT. A true NW Imperial IPA, this is a beer for us Hop Heads. If you’re planning to celebrate IPA Day, then do it in style with Fremont’s The Brother!