I know what you’re thinking... MORE IPAs?! Why would anyone think the world of craft beer needs more IPAs? It’s already saturated with resin-y, pine tree and citrus pith flavoured options in any level of ABV or IBU anyone could want! And you would be right. But! Necessity being the mother of invention, the thirst for something different appeared.
First things first, let’s talk hops. Hops are the little green papery cones whose fragrant and delicious oils are used to flavour, bitter or balance, and preserve beer. They are one of the 4 ingredients listed on the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law) of 1516. So basically, they’re incredibly important to the brewing of beer. Almost every beer on the market uses hops, but only some of them aim to showcase them.
Enter today’s IPAs and Pale Ales!
All those bitter-forward, citrus and pine tree sap flavoured ales are what’s known as “West Coast”, or “American” IPAs and Pale Ales; due to their origin being the West Coast of the United States. These ales focus heavily on the varieties of hops used for their bitter qualities, and are brewed with hops used early in the process to draw out lots of that bitterness. They aim for a good dose of perceived bitterness for the drinker.
As an answer to the number of West Coast IPAs and Pale Ales that have inundated the market over the years, The Alchemist Brewery in Vermont created “Heady Topper”: a hazy, juicy ale that showcases not the bitter aspects of hops, but the tropical, citrus, and stone fruit aromas and flavours other varieties can impart. And so the “New England” IPA was born. A style of ales that deliver luscious, juicy fruit flavours, richer mouthfeel due to their lack of filtering, and a completely different experience than the beer drinker has come to associate with IPAs.
Here are some of our favourites on the market right now:
Zero Issue “Nemesis IPA” $20
– Part of Zero Issue’s core line up of beers, Nemesis sports a light bitter finish and is absolutely mouth-watering. This Calgary-brewed beer is a thirst-quencher!
Outcast Brewing “Neon Nightmare Hazy Double IPA” $21.50
– Neon Nightmare is the newest release from brewer Patrick Schnarr. Aggressively dry-hopped twice with Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy hops and fermented with an English yeast strain, the beer is bold but delightfully flavourful.
Blindman Brewing “New England Pale Ale” $18.75
– This exquisite beer from Blindman Brewing was originally supposed to be just a summer seasonal, but the feedback from the community (including the author of this article!) was so incredible, they decided to make it a mainstay.
Gigantic Brewing + Superflux Brewing “PinaCOOLada" Hazy Tropical IPA with Coconut” $10.80
– This tiki inspired treat is brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Denali hops, with flaked coconut, oats and lactose. One of the owners of Superflux Brewing is also the owner of Copper & Theory importing, who represents Gigantic Brewing in BC and Alberta, so it only makes sense for them to team up on some delicious beer!
Evil Twin “IPA Kolata” $29
– The tropical fruit-forward nature of so many New England-style beers make them the perfect base for additions like lactose and coconut. Evil Twin’s take on the concept is a little richer and sweeter than PinaCOOLada, but also well worth a crack on a hot day!
If you want to give the style a try, but are not ready to invest without some exploration, join us at our Juicy A$$ IPAs tasting on Saturday July 21st! Information and tickets available at: www.vinearts.cornervine.com/home/events