The 10 Best IPAs From the 10 Best Craft Breweries in America
The 10 Best IPAs From the 10 Best Craft Breweries in America
Among the wide spread of brews that each venue provides, the classic IPA never fails to be a crowd favorite. With that in mind, we’ve rounded the 10 Best IPAs from the 50 Best Craft Breweries in America. This way, you’ll know the best of the best. We’ll cheers to that!
#10 G’Knight, Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, Colo.
This brewery got its start in the basement of the Oskar Blues Grill and Brew Restaurant one year after the restaurant opened. There was never a doubt about Oskar Blues Brewery: Their very first beer, the Reverend Sandi’s Sinful Stout, earned them a bronze medal in the Great American Beer Festival in 1998. In 2002 they became the first brewery to can their own beer: their flagship Dale’s Pale Ale.
They know what they're doing when it comes to IPAs, too: their G’Knight is a dry-hopped, imperial red IPA with a hefty flavor.
#9 Golden IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, Calif.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company began with Ken Grossman’s passion for the alchemy of home-brewing as a young man. When Grossman took a cycling trip through Chico, he fell in love with the area and decided to set up his home and his first beer venture, the Home Brew Shop, there in the 1970s. As he honed his craft, he searched for quality hops (not easily available at the time) and began shaping what would become Sierra Nevada’s entire flavor profile. It’s all based on rich, hoppy brews that mirror flavors found in nature.
The Golden IPA provides a fruity and flowery grapefruit scent that’s perfect for summer. Interested in trying other IPAs at this brewery? Sierra Nevada Brewing Company also offers a 4–Way IPA Seasonal Sampler.
#8 Sculpin IPA, Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego
From humble home-brewing roots to the empire that is Ballast Point Brewing Company, the goal has always been to do beer a little differently. Their Longfin Lager, a German-style inspired beer, and their array of flavored IPAs (including a grapefruit-infused one) are evidence enough of this noble effort.
The award-winning Sculpin IPA is another perfect example of their noble efforts: Creating this unique pale ale took years of experimentation, and it requires five separate stages of hopping.
#7 Hopfather, Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Once upon a time, the beer that is now brewed under the name Russian River Brewing Company was under the influence of a winery. When Korbel Champagne Cellars decided to do away with their beer in 2003, they turned to their trusted brewmaster, Vinnie Cilurzo, giving him the opportunity to continue brewing the beer he made for them under the same brand. Try the double India pale ale Pliny the Elder for a well-balanced and hoppy brew.
The Hopfather is the holy grail of all hoppy brews. Get it while you can, because it is only brewed once a year, and only if the hops are available.
#6 The Oracle DIPA Ale, Bell's Brewery, Kalamazoo, Mich.
With over 20 beers brewed for distribution, this Kalamazoo icon brings artful and delicious flavors to the masses. While producing quality beer is obviously the main focus (just sip on their Oarsman Ale and you’ll see), another aspect we appreciate is the emphasis they place on the sustainability and environmental impact of their beer. Bell’s Brewery’s farm in Shepherd, Michigan, follows no-till farming techniques, and they have seriously reduced their carbon footprint with recycling practices that necessitate garbage pick-up just once a week.
The Oracle DIPA ale is one of their specialty brews, containing hop variations from the Pacific Northwest.
#5 Centennial IPA, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Its slip from the top of our 2014 list to the fifth spot shouldn’t dissuade you: Founders Brewing Company still produces some of the most complexly flavored and delicious beer in the country. The founders of Founders, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, admittedly don’t brew beer for everyone. They say they focus on the select few drinkers who appreciate the nuances in each sip of beer, aiming to provide them with brews that challenge and intrigue the senses.
You have to try the floral and frothy Centennial IPA, which boasts a sweet yet balanced flavor.
#4 Inversion IPA, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore.
As the Deschutes Brewery looks over the gorgeous Deschutes River, it is only fair to wonder if the secret to their delicious beer is actually in the water. A local institution, this brewery has been around since 1988, consistently pushing flavor profiles to the limit and experimenting with special small-batch brews. For a go-to beer, try their Black Butte Porter, a rich and deep beer that satisfies.
The “multi-hop” kick in the Inversion IPA gives this brew an intense and satisfying flavor.
#3 Stone Anniversary IPA, Stone Brewing Co., San Diego
Escondido’s finest brewery stands tall and proud at No. 3 this year, moving down only one spot in this year’s ranking. Stone Brewing Co. has been producing quality beer since beer lover and brewer Steve Wagner teamed up with fellow beer advocate and businessman Greg Koch in 1989. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that they would actually begin brewing some of the best beer in the country. A fan favorite is the Arrogant Bastard Ale.
In order to celebrate their 18th anniversary, Stone Brewing Co. brewed their Anniversary IPA: a golden brown beer with a dry flavor. What a way to celebrate!
#2 Lagunitas IPA, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, Calif.
With influences from the beer-making communities in Chicago; St. Louis; Quincy, Massachusetts; Memphis; and Walker Creek, California, the crew of Lagunitas Brewing Company came to meet in Petaluma, California, to make hoppy magic. This brewery takes signature ales and transforms them into liquid gold. Don’t believe us? Sip on the Censored Ale, which is unfathomably smooth with a “roasty, malty” finish.
Looking for a more literal version of the liquid gold we speak of? The Lagunitas IPA provides a rich, caramel taste.
#1 90 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, Del.
It is no surprise that Dogfish Head Brewery has climbed to the top spot on our list. Since 1995, this brewery has been creating craft beer that is approachable and relatable to all tastes. Their dedication to quality is what garners them such a respectable reputation in the Rehoboth Beach area and around the country. Try their year-round Belgian-style white beer Namaste, made with “dried organic orange slices, fresh-cut lemongrass, and a bit of coriander,” for a refreshing beer that will totally confirm why America thinks of Dogfish Head as the top brewery in the country.
Named “perhaps the best IPA in America” by Esquire Magazine, the 90 Minute IPA contains a malty backbone, creating a powerful hop flavor.