As a beer loving community the Sommbeer crew has decided to do a series of collaborative post’s that we will be calling “Sommbeer’s Favorites”. The purpose of these posts are just to give a brief look at some of each contributors favorite brews are of a particular style. This post is dedicated to Sommbeer’s favorite IPA’s
I am a big fan of Boulevard Single Wide IPA. This is the beer I got my start in craft beer with. It is a nice crisp beer. With only 57 IBUs it is not overpowering and easily palatable. Goes great in the summer and an awesome with a good burger. Next from Boulevard I would go to their Double Wide IPA or the Calling IPA.
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA is nice clean easy drinking beer. I know quite a few people who avoided hops like the plague until they tried this. Now they have been broadening their horizons to more and more IPAs. This is a very good transition beer from sweet to the bitter of IPAs.
Despite being confused by its long name, Clipper City Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA has been one of my favorites of this great style of craft beer. I couldn’t figure out which was the name of the brewery and which was the name of the beer, or why there was an extra name seemingly thrown in. But, I did know that the beer had a great citrus flavor and a good balance between the flavorful hops and a strong malt backbone. It was the first IPA I drank that didn’t completely overwhelm me with bitterness. Since trying this small beer from Baltimore, I’ve discovered many other great American IPAs (such as Sculpin, Racer 5). But I’ll always have a soft spot for Loose Cannon.
As a self proclaimed hop head IPA’s and all the different type of IPA’s are my favorite type of beers. In recent months, in my travels to Phoenix, AZ I was able to try the Camelback IPA by The Phoenix Ale Brewery. I really enjoyed this beer and the fact that it came in a can improves the drink-ability. I enjoy having a a nice IPA on a hot spring/summer afternoon at the ball park or after doing yard work. Camelback IPA definitely has that drink-ability that you want with a good IPA.
Lagunitas IPA, Don’s Favorite IPA
Is it hypocritical to recently write a post calling Zombie Dust the best IPA that I have ever had, then pick another IPA as my favorite? At the very least i0t shows a lack of consistency, right? Well, in an effort to justify my choice I want to point out what my criteria is for calling a beer a “favorite”.
1) It has to be year-round and readily available. I don’t want to have to trade a kidney to get it, and at the very least it has to be distributed in the state that I live in. It also has to be something I can find in a grocery store or gas station cooler in case of emergency.
2) It has to be reasonably priced. I don’t want to call it a favorite if it costs me over $15.00 a four pack. That is not a favorite that is an indulgence.
3) It has to be a more multi-purpose beer that I can drink anytime and for any occasion and I want to be excited to have one no matter when or where I find it.
4) It can’t be only viewed as a default beer that I settle for when I end up somewhere that has weak handles. This is one that I have to willingly choose when there are other options.
Based on these criteria, my go to IPA has to be Lagunitas IPA. Not only does it meet all of my IPA criteria, it is uniquely delicious. Nothing else tastes like Lagunitas IPA (except other beers by Lagunitas…has anyone else noticed that many of their beers taste the same…? Of course I like how they taste so it does not really bother me, I just wanted to point it out). There is a great balance of hops and malt, citrus and sweet, and at 6.4% you can have a couple without getting light headed. Lagunitas IPA also passes my “favorite” test. It is readily available, year round beer. You can get Lagunitas IPA virtually anywhere. You also see it in bars without a great beer selection so you don’t have to settle for Killian’s Iris Red. Lagunitas IPA is also reasonably priced and sold in six packs. You can typically get a six of Lagunitas IPA for $9.99 to $11.99. Lagunitas IPA really can be imbibed all year, any time of day, and after any activity. It is a really approachable beer with a lot of flavor, enough hops to matter, and that unique Lagunitas flavor. Finally, I have ordered Lagunitas when there have been other great choices for me to drink. I don’t look at Lagunitas IPA as a “bail out beer”. Zombie Dust meets some of my “favorite” criteria too; it is year round, and reasonably priced but it is hard to find, and is not available in Michigan. Of course you already know that if I lived in Indiana, Ohio, or Illinois, my favorite IPA would be Zombie Dust, but since I am a Michigander, and Lagunitas is all over the place, I have to go with Lagunitas as my favorite IPA.
My everyday IPA isn’t anything special – that’s why it’s special to me. It’s sold at every store around me (it’s what some folks call “gas station beer”).
Yet, it’s the beer I root around my refrigerator to find. It’s an IPA that I really enjoy but don’t think too much about once I start drinking it.
My everyday IPA is Centennial from Founders Brewing. For craftbeer fans, the IPA is becoming relegated as a common ordinary beer. I see no issue with that.
It’s a style of beer that I find comforting – like meatloaf. I don’t care how this beer rates on the world stage (I never looked) and I don’t brag about drinking it but boy is it good after a long day.
Why I chose Centennial IPA – Affordable, Available, nice ABC @ 7%, tastes great but not over-powering (or thought provoking)
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Dark Horse is aptly named as it brings a lesser known and much less talked about addition to the admittedly great selection of Michigan-brewed IPAs. But it’s great. You should drink it. Or don’t. Look. I’m not your dad.
IPA is by far my favorite style of beer and more often than not is what I find myself buying or ordering on any given night. Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA is my go to IPA right now. The beer is crisp and refreshing, easy to drink and pairs well with most any meal I can think of. Being packaged in cans is also a plus for me because a 4 pack is not only affordable it’s a bit more portable than a glass 6 pack.
IPAs are my favorite because they can vary so much. This makes it a fun beer because you can always try something new at each grocery store or bar. Well, until your options run out. Haha. I prefer the higher alcohol content ipas because they normally have a higher level of hops. Galaxy and cascade are my favorite hop varieties and I have even started growing my own in Iowa. Molotov cocktail is probably my favorite. Or 8 bit by tallgrass
Picking a favorite IPA, for a most craft brew lovers, is akin to a child picking his or her favorite toy – it isn’t easy and it often changes. I honestly wasn’t sure I could pick just one. As I began to write this, I pictured myself like TV’s Bachelor in a room with 20 IPAs hoping to receive a rose – or maybe a snifter – and win me over as the best IPA.
Many “hop heads,” such as myself, often debate the style of IPA they enjoy, the merits of dry hops vs. wet hops, and more. Personally, I enjoy IPAs that contain a balance of powerful hops-bitterness with other flavors, such as malt, and leaves the beer drinker with a pleasant aftertaste. For the purposes of this article, I only considered well-known IPAs, which should not be interpreted as partiality towards them over small-batch breweries – perish the thought! I restricted my selection to larger brands simply for the sake of argument; one can’t engage in discourse over a beer that no one else has tasted.
After days of pondering, it finally hit me; my favorite IPA involves more than taste, it involves an experience. After much thought, I finally concluded that Odell Imperial Pale Ale exists as my favorite IPA.
Why? First, the beer is absolutely perfect for a hop head such as myself. The intensity of the hops within Odell’s IPA resembles that of some DIPAs. However, the noticeable addition of malt, the delicate inclusion of citrus and the floral aroma provides tremendous balance to the bitterness emanating from the hops. Furthermore, the gentle carbonation provides texture to the beer without negating its smoothness – it goes down like a glass of iced tea on a hot summer day. Simply put, Odell IPA is not a one-note beer, it is a venerable symphony of flavors, scents, and sensations.
Second, I have a soft spot for Odell. As one who just began to appreciate craft brews in the early 2000s, a trip to Ft. Collins changed me forever; I toured New Belgium, Fort Collins, and Odell breweries. Consequently, I transitioned from a fan of craft brews to a dedicated craft brew enthusiast (and now, of course, I’m a full-fledged beer snob.) Several beers from those breweries remain among my favorites, but Odell provides the best IPA of the three. That experience, coupled with the quality of the beer, make it my favorite.
I feel like I generally tend to lean towards dank tangy, fruity beers with Mosaic hops or Amarillo hops… OR Galaxy hops! The fruitier, the juicier the better in my opinion. That being said, it’s kind of funny that my favorite IPA isn’t a Citra hopped beer by any means… No Mosaic or Amarillo to be found either.
The most memorable, utterly unique beer I’ve ever had the pleasure to endulge in, would have to be Zeelander brewed by the fine people at Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.
This American IPA blew my mind! The main hop used is Nelson Sauvin hops (from New Zealand) which creates this bold bitter, complex citrusy, fruity flavor that really erupts in you mouth with each sip. I can see why I enjoy this beer so much because it does have fruit and tangy citrus notes, but this beer really changed my mind about Nelson Sauvin hops and made me curious to try more beers that used Nelson.
I guess you can say it expanded my palate. That’s why I believe Zeelander to be my favorite IPA.
Even though It’s not my favorite style, this beer opened my mind and really challenged my palate.
Not to mention, it was devastatingly delicious.
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