IPAs are pretty standard, nay a requirement, for any craft brewery. Hop bombs or inky stouts are how many of them create their reputations. If you like that particular beer style, then you’ll want to bookmark First We Feast’s list of 30 IPAs to drink before dying, It’s a solid collection of hoppy India Pale Ales.
It’s safe to say that no beer style has defined the American craft beer revolution as assertively as the India Pale Ale. The history of the style and its development is the U.S. is well-worth investigating for those who want to explore it—from the use of hops as preservatives to help beers keep on the long journey from Britain to the colonies many centuries ago (hence the name), to pioneering American experiments like Vinnie Cilurzo’s Blind Pig IPA and, later, the use of continuous hopping by Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione.
It’s modern development has been all about attitude: When the stateside microbrew scene first started to get attention, hoppy beers were a bold and assertive middle finger to the status quo, separating craft beer from the light lagers that dominated the market and giving new brewers a much needed point of view.
Keep in mind this list next time you’re traveling or picking up a couple of bombers to try. It has a good mix of tried-and-true standbys, well-regarded ones that are hard to come by from limited distribution, and a few international curveballs.
Obviously, the absence of Russian River’s Pliny the Elder is a huge oversight as it, and The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, is considered the standard by which all double IPAs are measured. Perhaps, Pliny has just become The Beatles of IPAs — revered to such a degree that it’s just a given it would top any best of IPA list?
See Also: Eight IPAs worth driving for