Hoppy IPA Day, Tippler Nation! Ok, you know we love ALL beer styles, but when there’s a special day of honor for IPA beer we will take the excuse to shout our faves from the nearest rooftop. Since Hildegard von Bingen discovered the hop in the 12th century, brewers have been pushing the limits of what one flower can do and, while some of it is delicious and exciting, some of it is just…well…hops for the sake of being hoppy. Wanna learn more about IPAs?
IPA: Beer that Knows How to Have a Hoppin’ Good Time
Here are a few of our team’s go to breweries making great IPA beer, each puts out a solid celebration of the hop and deserves a hearty high five. Grab your go-to India Pale Ale and go on a little journey with us. First stop: Suzanne’s home state, Massachusetts.
Breweries Crushing The IPA Category
Great Awakening Brewing Co.
Located in the historic Mill at Crane Pond, Great Awakening Brewing Company boasts a brewery, taproom (featuring 32 draft lines), new outdoor space, and kitchen creating beer infused and inspired dishes. It’s cool, industrial, and full of hoppy and other delicious options.
“I love this brewery because they are highly experimental with their flavors, styles, and approaches (which isn’t rare these days) BUT they do it AMAZINGLY. Whereas so many breweries now experiment for experiment’s sake but end up with subpar beers that they serve anyway. So it’s really fun to be at a brewery where some of the beers sound crazy but when you try them they blow your mind in terms of how well balanced and drinkable they are despite all the fun flavors or approaches being taken. Honestly one of my favorite breweries in the country to date. And they just happen to be near my home town, although I just discovered them a couple of years ago.”
Founded in 2011, Finback officially hit the NYC beer scene in 2014 with their 20 barrel brewhouse in Queens. They currently self distribute in NYC and are known for their funky hoppy brews and rotating hop exploration series. Their whale logo is also fantastic.
“Every year for Queens Beer Week I would make cocktails featuring the local brews–this coconut IPA was a fast fave. As a Floridian, I am a sucker for coconut and this isn’t ‘in your face Piña Colada’, it’s a nice suggestion of Miami vibes with some tropical hops. It’s also not super high ABV, which I appreciate, and my old coworker made a banging daiquiri riff with it. I also really like the set up at their tasting room.”
The Shop Beer Co.
It is HOT in Arizona and the team behind Tempe based The Shop Beer Co. are making some fab beers to help you beat the heat. Not only are their brews fantastic, their artwork is some of our favorite can art around!
“I’ve found that since moving to AZ, whenever it’s on the menu at a bar or restaurant, I’m more likely than not to order it. It’s bright and complex, and while rich, still refreshing in the AZ summer. Plus, the can design is unabashedly loud and nostalgic. It reminds me of a Nash skateboard crossed with a TrapperKeeper. The Shop Beer Co. tap room is a stone’s throw from my alma mater, I only wish it existed when I was a student!”
(Special shout out to their Crispy Blond Lager, aka “Crispy Boi,” for cleansing our palates between those IPAs.)
SingleCut Beersmiths was founded in 2012 by Queens/NYC born, music-obsessed brewer Rich Buceta, whose life-long passions led to a place where hops and vinyl could shine side by side: “My obsession is creating original hop-driven beer; distinguished by a firm respect and admiration for West Coast pioneers, and bending that to our East Coast / NYC interpretation.”
“I freaking love this beer! SingleCut is an OG fave of mine (I legit used to have my birthday parties at their Queens tasting room) and they know their way around a hop and a record collection. They also throw amazing events and my brother in law’s band plays their anniversary every year. Weird & Gilly (named for a Bowie song – all their beers are music themed) is such a great tropical NEIPA. It’s sunny and thirst quenching and so flavorful without being crazy boozy.”
Fat Orange Cat Brew Co.
East Hampton, CT
Husband and wife team, Mike Klucznik and Sheila Mullen opened Fat Orange Cat Brew Co. out of their barn for tastings and growler sales/fills in summer 2016. They specialize in small batch recipes (their own well water being a key ingredient) with an emphasis on supporting and promoting local agriculture.
Fat Orange Cat are members of the Twelve Percent Beer Project collective, helping them brew, can, and distribute on a larger scale. Leslie Herman (who created album covers for Phish) contributes the brightly colored cat can art in homage to Billy, the original Fat Orange Cat.
“Ok I bought it for the name (yes I’ve been to Jim Morrison’s grave, in the snow no less) but I really do dig this beer. As a cat mom, the name of the brewery got my attention and then their funky farmhouse styles really kept me on the hook. They also have a collab with Evil Twin that’s pretty great! Cash (my cat, who happens to have 6 toes) is really psyched that their Imperial IPA is named Polydactl.”
Our Team’s Picks for Great IPA Beer…
Fuzz IPA, 7.5% & Fuzzier DIPA 8.5%, Even Fuzzier TIPA, 10%
Extremely complex for a single hop IPA. Highly hopped with Sabro to bring aromas and flavors of peach, coconut, banana, pineapple, and citrus.
Smooth Beats Miami, 6.2%
IPA brewed with coconut and dry hopped with Equinox, El Dorado, and Zythos.
The Shop Beer Co.
Church Music Juicy IPA, 6.7%
Well balanced NE style with tropical notes, mild herbal character, and lotsa juice!
Pinapple + Juicy + Loud!
All Hail The Hop!
The humble hop: without it our beer would be less stable, less flavorful, less enticing, and less relaxing. How amazing that one little flowering cone can do so much! Thank you to the amazing craft brewers out there using these little gems to their fullest potential and making delicious, delicious beer. Interested in trying your hand at making IPA beer yourself? Check out this awesome Single Hop IPA Beer Brewing Kit from Craft A Brew and get hoppin’!
We’d also like to extend mad hoppy love from The Crafty Cask team for Alewife, Naukabout, Greysail, Beer’d, and Russian River Brewing. We had a really hard time picking favorites so we had to drink them all, happy IPA Day!
Who makes your favorite IPAs? Let us know in the comments below, we are always game to discover new craft suds!
Jena is an event host & contributing writer for The Crafty Cask, as well as an award-winning bartender, cocktail educator, Cicerone Certified Beer Server, and Executive American Whiskey Steward. Based in NYC, Jena has been working in the craft alcohol world for the last 15 years with recipes appearing in Manhattan restaurant/bars & multiple publications. She is the 2019 Nikka Perfect Serve Global Runner Up and a 2020 Cognac Connection winner.