Every year IPA Day comes around and many folks regard it with the same affection that they regard so-called Hallmark Holidays. In the case of craft beer, IPA Day is like going to an art museum with a new pair of glasses. There is that tap handle that has always caused curiosity, but has never wound up your glass. Today is that day. IPA Day stands as a chance to sample new beers as many breweries around the U.S. and the globe choose to showcase new and different angles on classic IPAs.
In the spirit of IPA Day, here are five IPA types to pour in the trusty IPA glass today:
The Classic (East Coast/ West Coast): These are the beers that made the day, and the cause for celebration. These IPAs showcase the citrus and pine flavors that America has grown to love, the flavors that made IPA the most entered category at the Great American Beer Festival. Like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or The Princess Bride, these are the go-to classics that yield new twists every time they’re imbibed.
Floridian Examples of this include Cigar City Jai Alai IPA, Intuition Ale Works I-10 IPA, and Tampa Bay Brewing Company Old Elephant Foot IPA.
Session IPA: Session IPAs are a craze in IPAs- mixing the high-octane flavors of an IPA or double IPA with the low gravity of a so-called session beer. Sometimes these blur the line between pale ale and IPA, but the style is taking hold and looking for new faithful followers like a classic mixtape that can go in the stereo on repeat.
Examples of Session IPAs include Cycle Brewing Fixie, Green Bench DeSoto Low IPA, and 7venth Sun Time Bomb IPA.
Fruit IPA: These IPAs bring together what on the surface may seem like an unlikely combination: fruit and IPA. Depending on the fruit, sometimes the combination can seem natural, like grapefruit in an IPA, and other times it can seemed forced like strawberry jalapeño. Occasionally these are not every drinker’s favorite, but sometimes the combination ends up being a cult hit. It could be the beer version of Rocky Horror Picture Show or Rocky 5, but no one knows until it winds up in an IPA glass.
Floridian Examples of Fruit IPAs include Proof Grapefruit Guru, Orchid Island Star Ruby, and Funky Buddha More Moro.
Imperial or Double IPA: The big brother of all the previous styles that has been around the block. These brash and braggadocious IPAs have no problem expressing machisimo in the form of lupulin. A double IPA is an IPA that has read the warning signs and has decided to run with scissors, climb to the top rung, or pull the tag off the mattress while still in the store. These beers have alcohol by volume climbing up from seven percent and up, and probably a few tattoos as well.
Examples of Floridian Double IPAs include Swamp Head Tropical Disturbance, Due South Category 5, and Fort Myers Brewing OYA.
Eclectic IPA: These are the IPAs that don’t really fit into other categories and there are as many as the hops in an IPA. These ales showcase ingredients of many and varied origins; they embody the spirit of experimentation that so many craft brewers embrace- trying to put new beers in front of their faithful. From atypical ingredients like habanero peppers, coffee, or fresh hops; to a twist on an IPA like a brettanomyces IPA or a bourbon, wine, or brandy aged IPA, maybe even a Belgian IPA; to a new base beer like a white IPA (based on a wit), there is something new to try all over the world on a day like this.
Examples of Florida’s eclectic IPAs are not limited to Coppertail Hoppucino Coffee IPA, JDub’s Ay Caramba! Jalapeño IPA, Angry Chair Silver Alert White IPA, and Engine 15’s Wet Hop Ale.
Like the many faces of the beer, the spirit of IPA Day is one with infinite possibilities. IPA Day is a day to join old friends and try a new beer or two. At best, it is a day when old friends and new beers meet and memories are made, at worst, well, a beer or two can be crossed off of the “I wonder what that tastes like” list. With craft brewers all over the world going all out to give patrons a new IPA to test drive, it seems like a good day to get over bitterness and pour something hoppy.