America's Bitterest Brews Slideshow


Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Company

Named after the Roman naturalist and philosopher, Pliny the Elder is a piney tour de force. Despite its 100 IBUs, golden-orange Pliny still drinks crisp and bright, with the spicy-sweet bitterness bathing your tongue.

Tricerahops Double IPA, Ninkasi Brewing Company

Tricerahops tips the scales at an even-steven 100 IBUs, offering a heavy load of citrus and floral aromatics. The bitterness hangs on your tongue, helped out by a smidgen of rich malt.

Hopsickle Imperial IPA, Moylan's Brewing Co.

Checking in somewhere north of 100 IBUs, the seriously bitter Hopsickle has a multifaceted floral profile and a bitterness that lingers like teenagers at a 7-Eleven. Though you might like to have two, be careful: Hopsickle has heavyweight strength.

Ruination IPA, Stone Brewing Co.

The Californian beer makers call this turbocharged IPA “a liquid poem to the glory of the hop,” owing to its double-barreled blast of pine and grapefruit. Though at 100-plus IBUs Ruination will instantly shock your tongue, it’s surprisingly easy to drink — too easy.

Hop 15, Port Brewing Company

Bitterness junkies will jones for this San Diego outfit’s jewel, which is constructed with 15 distinct, hush-hush varieties of hops and clocks in at 100-plus IBUs. From first sip to last, it’s a sticky, resinous symphony.

Imperial IPA, Green Flash Brewing Company

Based in San Diego, the brewery’s pungent masterpiece offers an intensely aromatic assault (those 101 IBUs aren’t messing around) that calls to mind a more illicit kind of funky green herb — delicious.

Hop Stoopid Ale, Laguintas Brewing Company

Tipping the scales at 102 IBUs, Hop Stoopid — hailing from Petaluma, California — offers a mouthwatering aroma of fresh-sliced pineapples, mangoes and peaches. In the best way possible, Stoopid recalls pine resin rolled in sugar.

Maharaja, Avery Brewing Co.

Taking its name for the Sanskrit words for “great king,” the Boulder brewery’s summer seasonal presents an intense scent of grapefruit and molasses. It slides down sweet and creamy, with 102 IBUs of tongue-coating bitterness.

120 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales

To create this extreme elixir, the Delaware brewery (founder Sam Calagione is the star of the Discovery Channel’s "Brew Masters") uses heaps of hops during the brewing process, then ages it for several more months with even more hops. The result: 120 IBUs and a head-spinning 18 percent ABV.

Mean Manalishi Double IPA, Hoppin' Frog Brewery

The deeply copper creation is jam-packed with gobs of hops, which impart plenty of pine and grapefruit aromas and flavors. Caramel keeps this hugely bitter hop bomb — 168 IBUs (!) — grounded.