Fifty Best Beers
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  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Alpine Nelson
San Diego, California

Alpine Beer Company is part of the blossoming beer domination that San Diego’s breweries have over the craft beer scene in America. Pat McIlhenney, a retired firefighter, is the owner/brewmaster in this mostly family run enterprise. Alpine Nelson is described as a Golden Rye IPA, coming in at 7.0% ABV. The ale features Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand– characteristic by a very distinct taste of lemons and white grapes. European rye is added to impart a smooth, dry finish and provides for its dark color. Nelson is a very sweet IPA with a thick, chewy mouth feel. Flavors of white grapes are present, combined with other fruit punch notes, and pine. Pine and tropical fruits are noticeable on the nose immediately upon opening this potent brew. The pungent pine bouquet will fill the room.

Alpine Nelson

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Avery The Maharaja
Boulder, Colorado

The Avery Brewing Company named this IPA for the “Great Kings” of ancient India. Pouring hazy amber-orange in color, the beer is a cataclysmic collision of hop intensity and sweet malt base. Grapefruit and pinecone flavors from Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook hops waft up from the burnt-orange waves of two-row barley malt. Maharaja has a warming sensation and hop tingle at the end of each sip from a 10.3% ABV. The exuberant flavors of fruity hops and creamy malt balance out nicely. Listed at 120 IBUs but due to additional caramel, doesn’t feel overwhelmingly bitter at all. Avery recommends trying Maharaja with shrimp cocktails.

Avery The Maharaja

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
San Diego, California

Ballast Point is the only brewery with its own sport fishing team, naming beers after their passion— fish. The Sculpin is a fish known for its sweet meat and poisonous spikes. This 7% ABV IPA is similar with a very sweet malt backbone and tons of bitter hop bite. Bursting with aromas of apricot and citrus. The hop flavors are very crisp and bright, showcasing 70 IBUs. Centennial hops and all sorts of California “C” hops are most likely used in this World Beer Cup Gold Medal winner (Pale Ale category) for 2010.

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
Healdsburg, California

Located in the heart of Napa Valley wine country is California’s own brewery, Bear Republic. At the top of every page of their website it proclaims that they have the “Best IPA in the U.S.A.” And they might be right. Bright citrus hop flavors bite into your tongue on the first sip. A marriage of grapefruit, grass and bittersweet hops balance nicely with the sweet American pale and crystal malts. Very full-bodied amber colored ale with an assault of “C” hops- Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial— register at 75 IBUs. At 7% ABV this is one of the most balanced, bright and floral IPAs in the country. Winner of the 2009 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal in the American Style Strong Pale Ale category.

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Bell's Two-Hearted Ale
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Bell's Brewery turns out very exceptional brews as is evident in their IPA, Two-Hearted Ale. The Centennial hop variety from the Pacific Northwest is showcased with its grapefruit notes and piney taste. An unbeatable, crisp flavor that can rise over the hot flavors in spicy dishes or be enjoyed alone by a true hophead. Exactly 7% ABV, the Two-Hearted is amazingly balanced with sweet malt and bitter hops in what can only be described as natural synthesis.

Bell's Two-Hearted Ale

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Milton, Delaware

This is an imperial IPA conceived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and created in larger quantities in Milton, Delaware. The 90 Minute is an orangy-copper color and lingers on the sweet side. Pine and citrus sail over a boozy, caramel sea of malts. The combination of Warrior, Amarillo and “Mystery X” hops give off a sticky mouth feel with tons of resinous qualities. The hops are added to the boiling wort leaving the ale at 90 IBUs (measurement of bitterness). At 9% ABV, the key to this beer is the massive amount of malts used to bring balance to the piney hop overload. The 90 Minute was named by Esquire Magazine as “perhaps the best IPA in America.” This big beer would pair very well with grilled fish and just about any well-prepared cut of meat.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Milton, Delaware

Dogfish Head calls this beer the “holy grail for hopheads.” The extreme triple IPA is continuously hopped with high-alpha American hop varieties for two whole hours. The ale is then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month, then aged for another month with whole-leaf hops before leaving the brewery between 15-20% ABV-- and outrageously bitter. This year’s batch is 18% ABV and ages extremely well. 120 Minute is a resinous, ultra-sweet and bitter, dark amber colored liquid registering at 120 IBUs. This 12-ounce bottle beer tastes like making out with a Christmas tree and its piney sap. All the piney hops and boozy malty sweetness can be a bit overwhelming, but enjoyable amongst friends.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Firestone Walker Double Jack
Paso Robles, California

Master brewers at Firestone Walker Brewing Company first attempted to brew an Imperial IPA and came out with this winner of multiple beer awards. Double Jack is part of the Proprietor’s Reserves Series. Amber or copper in color and resting at a 9.5% ABV. The Double Jack has a long, malty finish with tons of pineapple and pinecone up front. Typical California IPA citrus flavors sprinkle through the malty cream base— making this ale a real creamsicle. The malty middle aptly hides the alcohol and the bitterness. Firestone Walker accurately describes the beer as “Huge tangerine, grapefruit and juicy fruit aroma blossom over the herbal blue basil and malt earthiness of this aggressive beer.”

Firestone Walker Double Jack

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Kern River Citra DIPA
Kernville, California

In the southern region of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range is the small town of Kernville, where a small brewpub produces tasty IPAs that only recently became available in bottles. The Citra DIPA is a hazy, pale colored masterpiece of hops and malt balance. The key ingredient is the Citra hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State. Juicy fruit sweetness presides over a ton of earthy pinecone flavors, with an aroma redolent of mangoes and ripe fruit. If it were possible to squeeze a pinecone into a glass, this may be what it would taste like. Caramel malts give this ale its chewy and thick body. DIPA has a bitterness reading of 75 IBUs and an 8% ABV. Kern River DIPA took home a Gold Medal in 2011 at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. One of the best Imperial IPAs in the U.S.

Kern River Citra DIPA

 

  Country: United States  
  Style: IPA  

Russian River Pliny the Elder
Santa Rosa, California

A smooth Double IPA from the Russian River Brewing Company is all it is hyped up to be. An absolute classic clocking in at 8% ABV. The ale is named for the Roman scholar and naturalist who first named the hop plant and studied them. Pliny the Elder named hops, “lupus salictarius,” meaning, “wolf among scrubs.” The beer is made with 40% more malt and two times the amount of hops used in the Russian River IPA, a single IPA product from the same brewery. A sticky, beige head leaves tons of lacing as the yellowish-orange nectar is gulped down. The aromas include oranges, floral centerpieces and notes of pine. The cream factor that makes this beer smooth and incredibly drinkable is what separates this from other Double IPAs of its kind. A very subtle bite and overall taste with big, bright aromas and malty reinforcement.

Russian River Pliny the Elder

 



 
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