Are American beer lovers more than just a bunch of IBU-chasing hopheads? Today's guide looks into a wide range of American beer styles, from adjunct lagers to Imperial porters.
'@IPA' on Serious Eats
Two new beers that aren't too boozy, but take no prisoners when it comes to hop attack.
What's the best hoppy beer on the market today?
If you like your beers fruity, resiny, piney, and crisply bitter, these hop-driven session beers are the ones to seek out for your summer satisfaction.
The folks at Dogfish Head are constantly experimenting, but they haven't released a new year-round beer since 2007. This month, Sam Calagione and his team are offering up a new core beer that brings together beer and wine in one 12-ounce bottle. Sixty-One is the brewery's classic 60 Minute IPA with one addition: syrah grape must from California. We gave this wine-beer hybrid a try.
Sometimes the ideal setting can elevate an excellent drink to perfection; relishing a place can make an enjoyable flavor even more delicious. I was lucky enough to experience this phenomenon in Burlington, Vermont, where I enjoyed one of the best beers of my life.
By focusing on just two ingredients, you can filter out the other "noise" and learn your Centennials from your Chinooks and your Munich malt from your Vienna. You'll know exactly what each ingredient tastes like, and learning those flavor and aroma characteristics on their own will help you tweak recipes with more components later on.
The best beers for cheese puffs, barbecue potato chips, Cool Ranch Doritos, and more.
Smuttynose used their Finest Kind IPA as a starting point for this limited edition beer released in a 750 mL bottle. It's a beer that evolves during each sip from the sweet scent to the round malty core, to full orangey hop fruit flavors, and then a super dry finish. Bring this one along to a barbecue.
Citrusy, resiny, and bitter, the American Imperial IPA is an aggressive beer—and a rich one. This style grew out of the demand for hoppier beers at the start of the American craft beer revolution. As IPAs were brewed with more and more hops, the amount of grain needed to balance out the bitterness increased. The results were IPAs that were so extreme that they took on the moniker Imperial, which was previously reserved for only the biggest stouts. Here's how to brew one of your own.
The words on the lower half of this limited-edition bottle from Stone Brewing Co. read "Ruining Palates for Ten Years." And this one is definitely a palate-wrecker.
With their hopped-up intensity they easily overwhelm most foods and seem harsh and astringent with many dishes that can stand up to them. For my palate they're a bit too bitter and boozy for sweet dishes and add too much fuel to the fire for spicy. But that doesn't mean you should take double IPA out of your pairing toolbox altogether.
We've got nothing against regular Newcastle. Smooth and creamy, with a nice toffee flavor and just a light bitterness, we're happy to drink it while watching football and eating chili. So our interest was piqued when we heard that Newcastle's releasing a new limited-edition beer. But a "Winter IPA"? What does that even mean, and can the Newcastle/Heineken folks pull it off?
Almost every time I decide to try another Black IPA, I end up wanting to brush my tongue. The two-pronged aggressive bitterness of hops and roast often clashes like a couple of guitarists trying to play over one another. New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Black Top Black IPA, which won gold at GABF this year, takes a more measured approach.
The San Diego stalwarts have always seemed to be more comfortable leaning on the big, bold, and sometimes brash side of the craft beer spectrum. Their latest creation, Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, is no exception. If this isn't your last beer of the evening, it'll most certainly be the last one you taste.
The novelty of black IPAs to the beer scene is highlighted by a total lack of agreement about what to call them—you may see them described as Cascadian Dark Ales or American Black Ales, and the American Brewer's Association pithily calls them, American-Style India Black Ales. (ASIBAs? Yeah, that'll stick...) Personally, I hope that Black IPAs are here to stay. We tasted a dozen of them, all solid beers, and very diverse. We've divided them up into two categories—heavier and intense, or lighter and more quaffable.
For years I have recommended homebrew ingredient kits to people as great way to homebrew. I'm not talking about a Mr. Beer kit or a homebrew-in-a-box, which can be prone to sitting on the shelf for too long, but a recipe that comes prepackaged by your local or online homebrew shop. A homebrew kit not only saves you the time it takes to research and put together a recipe, but also puts all the ingredients together for you in one simple package.
When Deschutes brewmaster Larry Sidor and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels decided to collaborate, they harnessed their breweries' respective strengths and created two beers from the same recipe. Combining Deschutes' deft hand on the hoppy side and Boulevard's talent with all things wheat, the collaboration colors outside the style lines. It's one part Belgian Witbier, one part American IPA, a fistful of white sage, a bit of lemongrass, and voilà! White IPA. But despite starting on the same page, the two beers are quite different.
This week we continue our hoppy tour of the US, visiting the states south of Virginia and east of the Mississippi. The South isn't particularly known for India Pale Ale, but we found a number of breweries making tasty examples of the style. Have you tried these beers? Which southern-brewed IPA is your favorite?
For homebrewers, the American IPA is the perfect style for exploring the flavors of different varieties of hops. Ever wondered what new hops like Citra or Nelson Sauvin taste like? Or what flavors would come through when combining Sorachi Ace and Simcoe hops? Making an IPA that showcases just one or two varieties of hops will really give you a feel for their different nuances.