The IPA is still king in the craft-beer world. Although some beer writers and brewers continue to bemoan the style's popularity, the truth is that it represents more than 25 percent of all craft-beer sales. No other style even comes close.
And rather than declining, IPA's power is increasing, according to Brewers Association economist Bart Watson, who wrote about beer styles at the end of 2016. "A lot of this growth was driven by the continued diversity of the style. IPAs are white, black and red. They’re American (West Coast [with variants] or East Coast), English, Belgian and German. They’re hazy, clear, and everything in between," he wrote. "They come with fruit now. They range from 4 percent ABV (or less) to 12 percent (or more). Whatever the variant, they are still growing and are now the primary driver of craft volume growth."
Are you looking for anecdotal evidence? Okay. In 2016, several Colorado breweries that focus on other styles all began producing, experimenting with, or delving deeper into IPAs. Those include Left Hand, which isn't known for its hoppy beers; River North Brewery, which had always focused on Belgian styles; Crooked Stave, which helped define the sour beer market in the United States; and Tivoli Brewing, which until now has primarily made updated versions of German-style lagers and ales.
Even Odell Brewing and Avery Brewing, which have always had powerfully hopped offerings, repositioned beers to help them fit into the IPA world. Odell changed the classification of its Runoff Red to Runoff Red IPA a while back. Then Avery updated its Hog Heaven Barleywine-Style Ale so that it is now called Hog Heaven Imperial Red IPA. That change will be particularly noticeable on the new pink cans.
With all of that in mind, here are ten brand-new IPAs — all of them bottled or canned — that you can drink now or that will soon be available.
Dry Dock Brewing
Dry Dock Brewing is jumping into the New England-style IPA craze this year with a brand-new beer that head brewer Alan Simons says will be "inspired" by the style. It was brewed with Mosaic, Ekuanot and other hops varieties to give it a citrus-forward flavor and aroma, as well as notes of mango, pear and peach. It was also made with spelt, wheat and oats for a softer mouthfeel. "There will be a fair amount of haze," Simons says, though not as much as some New England-style IPAs. Several versions of the beer have been on tap at Dry Dock; expect it to start hitting shelves in late March.
Great Divide Brewing
In January, Great Divide rolled out the first edition in its new Hop Disciples Rotating Hop Project IPA. The series is designed to change every year depending on what hops are tasting good. For this version, Great Divide used Idaho 7, "which shows up punching with aromas of orange zest and stone fruit complemented by a hint of black tea leaves," the brewery says. The name comes from Great Divide's homebrewing club and seminar series. At 6.2 percent ABV, Hop Disciples is part of Great Divide's Tank Farm Series. It will be available as a seasonal beer through April.
River North Brewery
River North Brewery was focused on big beers and Belgian styles for most of its first five years, but the brewery recently branched out into more marketable styles, including a series of taproom-only IPAs. In February, it added two new beers to its lineup of canned beers: a pilsner and Colorado IPA, which the brewery describes as "a classic American hop-bomb brewed with mountains of Citra, Amarillo, Azacca, Columbus and Cascade hops," and "inspired by IPAs from both coasts."
New Belgium Brewing
As it does every couple of years, New Belgium revamped its lineup at the beginning of 2017, but this time around, it made more changes than usual. The most significant, perhaps, was the addition of Voodoo Ranger IPA and Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA as standard-bearing hoppy brews. New Belgium used Mosaic and Amarillo hops to give the 7 percent ABV Voodoo a juice-forward flavor. The imperial IPA, at 9 percent ABV, was made with a blend of Mosaic, Calypso, Bravo and Delta hops.
Upslope Brewing loves to play with hops: Earlier this year, the brewery ditched its seven-year-old Pale Ale in favor of a new Citra Pale Ale, and in April, it will release a seasonal Experimental IPA made with Mosaic, Idaho 7 and Lemondrop hops. Unlike previous experimental IPAs, this one will be released in twelve-ounce cans rather than the 19.2-ounce tallboys.
Keep reading for five more IPAs to try.
Hotbox Coffee IPA
Coffee is usually combined with more complementary dark beers, but Oskar Blues doesn't like sticking with convention, which is why Hotbox Coffee IPA was introduced two weeks ago. The 7.2 percent ABV beer combines the pine and citrus flavors of Simcoe hops with cocoa and cream notes of Ethiopian coffee beans sourced by Oskar Blues-owned Hotbox Roasters. “We believe the citrus and fruit aromatics of an IPA, derived from the intense hops, pair well with the fruit of the coffee to produce a great, flavor-packed beer,” the brewery says. The coffee IPA will be available from March through May.
Well Played Red IPA
Left Hand Brewing
Last year, Left Hand Brewing, which has mostly shunned IPAs in favor of other English styles over the past two decades, introduced Extrovert, a 7.1 percent ABV American IPA made with Jarrylo, Cascade and Comet hops as part of its year-round lineup. That will be followed this year by a new February-to-April seasonal called Well Played Red IPA. Brewed with "experimental hops and specialty malts to compose a beer that is sweet up front with robust hop character and a dry finish," the beer will change its hops profile each year based on what the brewers are liking during the harvest.
Zang's XXX Export IPA
No, Denver's early German brewers probably weren't making big, hop-forward beers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but that doesn't mean that Tivoli Brewing can't do it now. The reincarnated brewery, which has focused on updated versions of turn-of-the-century offerings, recently expanded well beyond that mission, adding a variety of newer styles. One of those is an 11 percent imperial IPA. Loaded with Galena, Falconer's Flight and Mandarina Bavaria hops, it is a powerful, citrusy beer in a cool bottle.
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Renegade is no stranger to big, hoppy beers. Last year, the west Denver brewery released a grapefruit version of its triple IPA, and this year, the brewers will turn to tangerines in the new Summer Tan, a double IPA with a citrus burst. Fruited IPAs are definitely popular, so this one is likely to be so, as well. Brewed with Warrior, Jarrylo and Willametter hops, it was also made with tangerine extract. The 8.5 percent ABV seasonal brew will debut in June or July.
Type 3 IPA
Big Choice Brewing
In February, Big Choice Brewing, which is moving from Broomfield to Brighton, released a new canned IPA called Type 3 in honor of its owner and brewmaster's long love of VWs. The 5.7 percent ABV American IPA was brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade, Golding and Columbus hops.