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If you’re asking yourself, “What are the types of IPA?” you’ve come to the right place. India Pale Ale, or IPA, is a popular beer style known for its unique brewing process and bitter taste. The hoppy flavor of IPAs is what defines typical Indian pale ales, yielding a wonderfully balanced flavor that is a favorite on the craft beer scene.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Difference in IPA Beers?
- Types of IPA Beers
- Even More “Hoppy” IPA Types
- What’s the Most Popular IPA?
- Types of IPA Beer Brands
- Types of Hops in IPA
- Creative and Alternative Types of Beer IPA
- How to Choose a Great-Tasting IPA
- Types of IPA: Take Your Pick
What Is the Difference in IPA Beers?
Bolder flavors abound when referring to IPA beers versus other beer types. American Pale Ale,or APA, has a much softer and muted flavor than India ale ale. This type of beer is described as being much more “palatable” by most, and only has an ABV of 2-6 percent.
On the contrary, an IPA beer is known for adding high hop flavor, bitterness, and a higher ABA at 6-10 percent.
Types of IPA Beers
There are many types of IPA beer. It is important to get to know each variety so you can choose what flavor and composition might be the best beer fit for you. Of these different types of IPA include:
- English/England IPA
- West Coast IPA
- East Coast IPA
- Cascadian Dark IPA
- Imperial IPA
- Rye IPA
- Black IPA
- Milkshake IPA
- Session IPA
- Brut IPA
- Sour IPA
- Belgian IPA
- White IPA
- Fruit IPA
- Grapefruit IPA
- Seasonal IPA
- Double IPA
- Triple IPA
IPA Types of Beer
There are many types of IPA beer. The different types of Indian pale ales are varied depending on the strength of the hop flavor as well as the overall brewing process.
We’ll start with the English IPA, as this is denoted as the original IPA that most other IPAs are compared to. This beer features certain types of hops in IPA not found in every IPA brew. The hops are earthy, grassy, and citrusy, and are derived specifically from English varieties. A good type of English IPA includes Sixpoint Bengali IPA.
West Coast IPA
The West Coast IPA style is a favorite because it is the closest to the original English IPA you can get. It uses much of the same hoppy flavor derived from an England IPA, but with a few American hop flavors thrown in for good measure. The result is a delightfully bitter taste, with strong earthy and citrus notes, making it ideal for those who love hoppy beers and fresh hopped IPA flavor.
Cascadian Dark Ale
If you love malt sweetness, get a load of this one. The Cascadian Dark Ale, also known as a Black India Pale Ale, or CDA, has a dark caramel roasted malt flavor with a medium-high hop bitterness to it. Some described it as “piney” with citrus notes and the flavor of black molasses. Either way, this American-style IPA is favorite among “hopheads” that really love the taste and aroma of a strong cascade hop brew.
If bitter beer is your thing, you’ll love the Imperial IPA. This beer is one that seems to get bolder and more aggressive as time goes on. Since its alcohol content tends to be in the higher range of 8-13%, you can rest assured that this drink isn’t for the faint of heart. In addition, thanks to “big C” hops used when brewing the drink, the Imperial IPA offers a powerful dose of those deep, piney, citrusy, and earthy flavors that those who love strong hops crave.
East Coast IPA/New England IPA
East Coast IPA, otherwise known as New England IPA, has a much different taste than the complex flavors of West Coast IPAs. These brews usually feature tropical fruit notes and other fruit flavors that make it more subtle and palatable than other IPA types. East coast brewers can be found serving up these delicious concoctions to beachgoers in the summer, as this fruity rendition of an IPA pairs perfectly with balmy weather.
As you might imagine, a Rye IPA features a star-ingredient, rye, which imparts a uniquely spicy flavor to the beer. Dan’s Rye IPA is a favorite amongst select beer drinkers who love Rye IPA, though this sort of tangy bold flavor won’t appeal to everyone.
Black IPA can be defined as darker beer that isn’t as common a variety as other IPA types. It generally features a strong malt flavor and can sometimes be referred to as a Cascadian Dark Ale because it is formulated with cascade hops. Some also describe this drink as the midway point between a porter and a West Coast IPA.
Often infused with stone fruit, pineapple, banana, and other fun flavors, the milkshake IPA stands in a league of its own. It not only features hints of tropical flavor you’d expect from a New England IPA but also includes lactose and sugar, hence its name. These enjoyable drinks aren’t something that beer purists tend to be too fond of, but those who love sweet and creamy fruited IPA think they’re to die for.
Session IPA is an awesome brew if you love a lighter-bodied beer. Session IPA has a low ABV at less than 5% and is milder in taste. It has a malted flavor and is very heavy on hops, meaning that its flavor-profile still offers quite a punch despite its meager disposition.
A Brut IPA is a great drink if you are big into wine and love its signature dry flavor. “Brut” in and of itself means “dry” and is often used to reference champagne. As such, you can expect a Brut IPA to be extremely dry and rival the taste of your favorite wine. It is lighter in color and is crafted using amyloglucosidase which is a unique enzyme used in stouts. Not all beer drinkers or those who love British IPAs will appreciate this one, but it certainly has its fans. Sierra Nevada Brut IPA is a great example of a fantastic brut-style beer.
A sour IPA is known and loved amongst those who have an infinity for sour beers. The sour IPA is growing in popularity within the beer industry and shows no signs of slowing down. The sour flavors of this sour beer can also trend toward fruity and are often infused with lactose, vanilla, and other ingredients. These added flavors tend to offset the sourness of the drink making them stand out in the sour beer category. For those who love the category of sour IPA, check out Almanac sour ipa for a real treat.
Belgian beers are already known to be popular and Belgian IPA follows suit. These types of craft beer are usually created with Belgian style yeast and therefore yield a very distinct clove-like flavor that is both dry and crisp. Despite their unique flavor characteristics, Belgian IPA tends to still be very “hoppy” as it rivals traditional American IPA brews. Three Floyds’ Live a Rich Life is a high-quality variety of Belgian beer IPA.
White IPA is known to be a combination of Belgian White and American-style IPA. They offer hints of grapefruit, banana, and stone fruit like apricot to yield a signature distinct flavor. With this IPA, there’s no need to worry about overly hopped pale ale as it tends to be quite mild in terms of hoppiness. Its aroma gives off blends of coriander and light citrus. This lighter pale ale tends to be a bit bitter and have medium to high levels of carbonation. A good example of this type of pale ale is Anchorage Galaxy White IPA.
Fruity IPAs abound when it comes to pale ale, and honestly, we can’t get enough of it. Fruit IPA isn’t as much of a specific ale type than it is a category. These fruity drinks are essenced with citrus flavors and tropical fruit, which complement the already citrusy effect of the hops themselves.
This specific fruity but also seasonal beer has earned itself its own category for more reasons than one. The grapefruit in the drink caps-off the already citrusy notes in the hops making beer crafted with grapefruit nothing short of exceptional. Many who don’t love beer fall in love with this drink, though the taste, as pleasing as it is, can sometimes verge on becoming sour. Either way, we promise you, grapefruit IPA isn’t anything you’ll want to miss out on.
Seasonal IPA (Wet-Hop)
This seasonal beer is derived from fresh hops which give it a unique and intensely hoppy flavor. With this said, the beer is not overly bitter as one might imagine. Usually, hops are harvested around August or September and are then dried to be used anytime of the year. In the case of wet hop seasonal IPA, however, the hops are used fresh. Try a Sierra Nevada Harvest Wet Hop IPA for a delightful potent fresh hop taste.
Even More “Hoppy” IPA Types
Like what you’ve seen thus far? You haven’t seen anything yet! If you’re tired of the usual hop flavor you’ll get from a traditional Indian ale, you may just love the following two categories:
Double IPA (AKA More Hops!)
Like the name implies, double IPA will have more hops in them in terms of flavor and will be mixed with plenty of malt to help with the bitter flavor. Double IPAs tend to be more potent in terms of alcohol content too, so be careful how much you consume of this powerhouse of a drink.
Triple IPA came as a response to the huge demand for double IPAs. Crowds surge to get their hands on triple IPA brews when they are available, but be careful, they aren’t for the lightweight. These Indian pales push 12-13% ABV so if you’re going to drink one, get ready.
What’s the Most Popular IPA?
As you might imagine, IPA popularity varies depending on location and the preferences of the people. The following are the popular types of IPAs people are swooning over:
- Stone IPA
- Racer 5
- Foundation Epiphany
- Heady Topper
- Bodhizafa IPA
- 120 Minute IPA
Types of IPA Beer Brands
Wanting to know what types of IPA beer brands are available? Never fear, we’ve got some of the most popular brands right here. The following are some of the most sought-after brands of IPAs on the market:
- Stone IPA
- Goldstock Ale
- Kasteel Hoppy
- Bear Public Racer 5
- Double Sunshine
- Society & Solitude #2
- Focal Banger
- Delirium Argentum
- Lagunitas IPA
- King Sue
- Brutal Doodz
- Tumbleweed IPA
- Double Dry Hopped Congress Street
- Pliny The Younger
- King JJJuliusss
- Grimbergen Belgian Pale Ale
- San Miguel Manila
- Barrel-Aged Double Shot Double Black
- Punk IPA
- Live A Rich Life
- Heady Topper
- Pliny The Elder
- Duvel Tripel Hop Cashmere
- Houblon Chouffe
- Citra Bitter Monk
- All Day IPA
- Batch 10000
- Axe Man
Types of Hops in IPA
Now that we’ve whet your appetite in regards to IPAs, you may be wondering about the different hops used in various IPA types. There are a sundry selection of hop types that can be used in beer to deliver a uniquely distinct flavor to your favorite IPA beer. Of these include citra (most popular), mosaic, simcoe, amarillo, cascade, columbus, centinela (all three known as the “Big C” hops), galaxy, chinook, el dorado, Idaho 7, Vic Secret, Summit and quite a few others.
Creative and Alternative Types of Beer IPA
There are many interesting flavor varieties out there when it comes to IPA and these are no different. Choose between coffee IPA and alcohol free IPA for something new!
Coffee IPA: Yes, you read that correctly. Coffee IPA actually lends itself perfectly to the juicy and fruity notes that hops provide to yield a fruit-forward beer to satisfy your taste buds. What’s more is that many coffee beers contain caffeine, though not nearly as much as your average morning brew. Still, coffee lovers and beer lovers can enjoy this crave-worthy blend of Indian Pale Ales to satiate cravings for both.
Alcohol Free IPA: Want to enjoy the flavor of IPA but without all of the alcohol? We’ve got you! Try Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild Non-Alcoholic IPA to get you started. You can also check out Juicy IPA by Untitled Art, Hazy IPA by Best Day Brewing, and Kora by Atmos Brewing.
How to Choose a Great-Tasting IPA
Choosing a great IPA isn’t hard, but you’ll want to know what you’re getting into before you make the purchase. It can be especially hard if you wish to buy an IPA you’ve never had before in the store. Without a knowledgeable bartender there to inform you, you may end up wasting your money on something you don’t like.
The following are ways you can increase the chances that you’ll pick an IPA you’ll love every time you shop-
Know What You’re Getting
Remember, your typical IPA will tend to be quite bitter-tasting. You’ll notice dominant flavors like herb, citrus, and even floral within the drink (though some lean more towards sour flavor and others toward fruity flavors). For this reason, not everyone will love the taste of an Indian pale. Before making your purchase, be sure you know what you’re purchasing and how it will likely taste. Some IPA brews are expensive and you won’t end up wasting your hard-earned cash.
Read the Label
Checking the label can unearth a lot of information for you. Companies often make special efforts to describe exactly what you can expect from their product, so this is a good way to get a feel for if the taste will appeal to you. On top of that, the label should include the alcohol content. If the IPA contains too much alcohol for you, be sure to pass on it and select a different brand or type of alcohol.
Buy From a Brand You’re Familiar With
If there are other types of alcoholic drinks you enjoy from a certain brand, why not try an IPA from the same brand? This may increase your chances of digging the flavor; although, of course, this might not always be the case.
Check For Awards
This goes along with reading the label, but there are some IPAs that will have received awards for outstanding flavor. These awards will likely be listed on the label. If you happen to see a brand of IPA that has received an award, chances are that this IPA is a quality pick.
Types of IPA: Take Your Pick
Indian pale ales are rich in hoppy flavor that IPA enthusiasts know and love. The variety of the hops and flavoring combinations gives each IPA type a distinct and unique flavor. These craft beers come in sundry types that range from bitter to fruity, and can even be infused with coffee. We hope this comprehensive guide of craft beer IPA serves to enlighten and inform you on which pale ales might best suit your tastes.
And as always, drink responsibly.
Hazy IPAs come in many forms from many brands. The fact that they are hazy comes from grain protein within them. New England IPA, unfiltered IPA, East Coast IPA and others often feature a hazy finish.
IPA stands for India Pale Ale and originated with British brewers who were looking to preserve their beer while out on the sea.
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