IPA is a bit like marmite. People are often fanatical about them or avoid them all together. We love them, everything about them, but we know they can be divisive. However, the style is a lot more complex than the bitter, hoppy heavyweight image gives credit to. The aim of this article is to show not all IPAs are the same. It’s a diverse style and with substyles that have varying flavours. We want to highlight some of the reasons why people seem not to love IPAs and using that, give suggestions for what you should try.
#1 Problem: You don’t know where to start
Solution: IPA Beer Case
If you are new to beer, especially craft beer, it can feel a bit overwhelming. You think you’ve grasped the difference between white beer and a wheat beer or have just come to terms with a saison also being farmhouse ale and then BAM! You start hearing acronyms like DIPA, NEIPA and DDH and it sends you through a loop. Craft beer paves the way for innovation and experimentation. The beauty of that is that there are constantly new and exciting concoctions, but it can be hard to keep up! We have beer cases for beer experimenters but we also curate cases to make styles more accessible and introduce people to beer. A beer shared, is enjoyment doubled afterall (not sure if that’s a phrase but we’re going with it). Our IPA Beer Case is the perfect inauguration into the world of IPAs. Some bold hoppy flavours, big juicy hits of tropical fruit, and even some herby and grassy notes. This case features an eclectic mix - with one common theme, no compromise on flavour!
And if you need any more help with the basics, read our article on everything there is to know about IPA
#2 Problem: They are too bitter
Solution: East Coast IPA
Yes, IPAs can be really bitter. For the real diehard hopheads, that is a characteristic that they actually look for. But if that's not your bag, there are so many more out there that don’t have that figuratively-punch-you-in-the-face quality. Yes, West Coast IPAs, we are looking at you. Instead, we suggest looking out for the East Coast IPAs. These guys tend to be juicier, fruitier, smoother, and sometimes with a citrusy kick. They are known for their well-balanced parity between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. A subtle little hoppy dance on your tongue. Brixton, Lagunitas and Fourpure have delicious examples in SUB Keg. But if you're more into bottles and cans, try Hazy Wonder or our IPA Beer Case. It contains Steamworks Flagship IPA, a great East Coast example to get you started!
We actually have a whole article explaining the difference between West Coast and East Coast IPA.
#3 Problem: The ABV is too strong
Solution: Session IPA
The alcohol content of an IPA generally varies from 5.5% to 7.5% but most are around 6-7%. Some IPA substyles such as a Double or Triple IPA can be as high as 10% or beyond. So yes, these aren’t for the fainthearted and certainly not the kind of beer you can drink five of in one sitting. Well, let us introduce the Session IPA. So called, for its low, session strength ABV. Combining the elements of classic English ale with citrusy American hops, British brewers can maximise aroma, whilst simultaneously producing a 4%, highly drinkable beer. So, what do you get?! The magnificent mix of English light and bright sessionability with all of the Americanness and punchy fresh hop. Fireworks!
We also have a whole article detailing everything you need to know about Session IPAs.
#4 Problem: Sometimes they aren’t fresh enough
Solution: Go straight to the source
Whilst we always try to make sure the beers in our cases are in their freshest state, it’s a fact that hop flavours will dissipate over time. One way to combat this or at least slow down the fading of hop flavours is by keeping your hop-forward beers in the fridge as soon as your beers hit the front doorstep. After 2 or 3 months, the flavours start to diminish, therefore best time to sip an IPA, like a lot of beers, is right away. The closer to canning date, the more chance you have in capturing the flavours, exactly as the brewer intended. The first step is always to check the Best Before Date. But to get beers at their best?! Head to the brewery!
Beavertown, BrewDog, Brixton, Fourpure and Thornbridge all brew notable IPAs and have super nice tap rooms at the breweries.
We have an article with great breweries to visit around the UK