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Best IPAs and DIPAs readily available in Mass

Discussion in 'New England' started by MVP09, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. MVP09

    MVP09 Savant (495) Massachusetts Oct 19, 2012 Beer Trader

    I am a relative newbie to craft, but I've had the pleasure of tasting, one 16oz pour of Pliney, wow! Also 1/2 a can of Heady, mmm! Both of which cannot be had with a routine trip to the packy. I've had the usuals like stone, founders, some of my favs have been GF WC IPA good stuff, Anderson Valley Ottin, FS Dbl Jack, Kiwi Rising (DIPL), and Baxter Stowaway. Just looking for suggests on anything to keep an eye out for when I see it on the shelves. I live on RI border so can travel to a Provi bottle shop.
  2. Goldfishman

    Goldfishman Savant (445) Massachusetts Jan 29, 2012 Beer Trader

    Ithaca Flower power is a must try one of my favorite IPAs
    Horbar likes this.
  3. BeerBum

    BeerBum Aficionado (235) California Nov 13, 2012

    Smuttynose makes a pretty solid IPA and I see it all the time when I'm back in Boston
    Tomdee74 and FrankLloydMike like this.
  4. AdamsDTD

    AdamsDTD Savant (275) Massachusetts Jun 5, 2011 Verified

    I love Dogfish 60, 90, and Burton Baton. Some of my go to choices. If you can snag Maine Beer Co Lunch, do it.
  5. FW Union Jack, jacks Abby hoponius union, and harpoon leviathan imp IPA (fresh) is underrated IMO
  6. Jesse14

    Jesse14 Savant (350) Massachusetts Jul 21, 2011

    Sometimes harder to find but Wormtown Be Hoppy is a great local IPA. Alesmith IPA is very good when fresh too.
  7. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Advocate (720) Vermont Apr 9, 2009 Beer Trader

  8. T-RO

    T-RO Savant (410) New Hampshire Nov 9, 2012 Beer Trader

    Founders Reds Rye, Founders Harvest Ale, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Mayflower IPA, Oscar Blues Deviant Dales, Stone Ruination
  9. One huge thing to keep in my with hoppy beers (Particularly IPA/DIPAs), is that freshness is paramount. A super fresh average IPA typically tastes better than a 3 month old Pliny. So, above all, try to look for IPAs with less than 30 days on them.

    I think Wachusett Larry is one of the best local DIPA's that is reasonably priced and can easily be found fresh. Smuttynose IPA and Ithaca Flower Power are two others that I commonly purchase. Jack's Abby Hoponius Union is a little different being a lager, but one you should definitely try.

    Less regional and more east coast, you have Troegs Perpetual IPA, Dogfish Head 60/90, Victory Hop Devil... all very good.

    Much of the west coast stuff is great, but again, pay attention to freshness. Firestone, Bear Republic, and Green Flash stuff often rolls onto shelves with 2-3 months (or more) of age on them already. Stone tends to be more reliable, but it can linger.
    FrankLloydMike and Psychmusic like this.
  10. kinopio

    kinopio Savant (430) Massachusetts Apr 30, 2009

    Founders Reds Rye, Greenflash WC, FW Union Jack, Smutty IPA, Bear Republic Racer V are all very good and readily available but I don't buy them often because they are usually quite old if you check the bottled dates.
    Lunch and Be Hoppy are excellent but very expensive.

    Thats why my go to is Jack Abby Hoponious Union. Its delicious, affordable, and I can almost always find it very fresh. Mayflower IPA is a great recommendation as well, for those same reasons.
  11. emannths

    emannths Savant (445) Massachusetts Sep 21, 2007

    My IPA rotation generally consists of Flower Power, Hoponius, FW Union Jack, Southern Tier 2XIPA, Port Wipeout (when I see it on tap). If quantity/price is a little more important, it's hard to beat 12pks of Smuttynose and SN Celebration. As mentioned above, freshness is paramount, so bookmark Fresh Beer Only and consult it regularly.
    BostonHops likes this.
  12. cbutova

    cbutova Champion (785) Massachusetts Oct 10, 2008 Verified

    Freshness + low price + very local = Hoponius Union. Technically not an IPA/DIPA but I think this is the best new year-round, go to beer in MA.
    Dools9 likes this.
  13. FRESH LARRY still cannot be beat.
  14. BeerBum

    BeerBum Aficionado (235) California Nov 13, 2012

    I'm going to have disagree a little with your statement about freshness. Many good IPAs last more than a month, often much longer. Have you ever actually had 3 month old Pliny? Drinks totally fine. Now at 6 months... thats a different story. I don't get how so many BAs panic when their IPA is a few weeks old. Oh crap... its three weeks old... guess it sucks now.

    Someone posted a quote from Jon Kimmich in another thread asking about how long cans of Heady last for. Here's his reply (Jen's actually):
    When we 'can' Heady Topper, it is only 3 weeks old. It is super young at this point, but we still make sure everything we package leaves the brewery within 5 days- we never sit on inventory. This ensures that Heady is always purchased young and fresh (hence no need for 'can on' date). Heady Topper is at its best (to our liking) between 5-16 weeks. So, it doesn't really hit its prime for about 2 weeks after it is purchased. Of course, we like Heady during its first 2 weeks in the can- it is raw and pungent. However, it becomes much more graceful over time. Heady will stay 'good' indefinitely- the hops are a natural preservative. However, the hop flavors and aromas will become less pungent and more subdued over time. We just tried some cans from last September and they were still delicious. Nice and hoppy, but very elegant and balanced. While it is nice like this, we prefer it younger and more raw, dank and pungent. Because it is unfiltered, it will evolve over time. Experiment with it and see how/when you like it best. While we like it best between 5-16 weeks (and this is how it is intended to be consumed), some folks like it with more age on it. It is personal preference. Also, because it is in a can and sunlight never effects the hops, Heady will stay fresh longer than many IPA's on the market. Sorry for the very lengthy response. I could talk about this forever... Kind Regards, Jen

    Please don't be afraid of month old IPA/DIPAs. They won't hurt anyone. Rant over.

    tl;dt Good IPA's last more than a month, just ask Jon Kimmich
  15. kinopio

    kinopio Savant (430) Massachusetts Apr 30, 2009

    I agree that a month old IPA is ok. I won't buy anything that is older than 6 weeks. After that it is by no definition of the word "fresh".
    I've recently seen a 9 month old Union Jack in a store. Is that beer "readily available"? In a sense yes, but I'm not going to touch that.
  16. I've had this argument more times in the past than I really care to do again. But, people like myself say it because it is true...

    First off, if you parse out his own words, Heady is canned at 3 weeks, which means he considers it best before 13 weeks. That's 91 days, or, precisely the 3 month line that most people will agree marks the end of life for an IPA.

    Second, the last thing brewers want is 30 days to become the standard acceptable freshness norm for an IPA. Thus you have to take much of what they say with a grain of salt. Most of them know damn well how important freshness is on hoppy stuff, which is precisely why you'll never find a 10 week old IPA entered into a competition. But, the economic reality is that guaranteeing 30 days in a store is really hard.

    Now, you ask if I've had Pliny at 3 months? Yes, yes I have. Also 1 week, 1 month, and various other time frames. I've also had Heady at 1 day after canning, 3 months, and 4 months, and 6 months, and just about every other time frame you can imagine. Ditto for a very long line of other IPA's. I've experimented with aging, done a billion blind tastings/comparisons with friends, and feel I have a very solid and informed handle on the life of an IPA.

    With little exception, an IPA is markedly different beast at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months. Now, some IPA's are still pretty good at 2-3 months. In fact, I would consider Heady Topper to be one of those. But, the vast majority are really "the fresher the better", and these beers generally just lose too much hoppiness for my liking after a month or so.

    Now, some people aren't as sensitive to the decrease in hops, and some people like the malt to stick out a bit more, and everybody has their own personal subjective opinions. But, if you want your IPA's to be as hoppy as they are meant to be, don't wait 3 months on them.
  17. gcamparone

    gcamparone Advocate (685) Rhode Island Dec 6, 2011 Beer Trader

    Union Jack
    60 Minute
    Founders harvest (seasonal)
    Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin Sumpin (technically not an IPA, but super hoppy like one)

    Are my favorites
  18. Beerista

    Beerista Zealot (95) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2012

    The following are available in Massachusetts:

    Ipswich IPA, Smuttynose Finest Kind & Tap Brewing (formerly Haverill) Leatherlips are good local IPAs.

    Founders Centennial, West Coast Green Flash & Bear Republic Racer5 are good out of state IPAs widely available here. SN Torpedo is very cheap & very good.

    If you haven't tasted rye IPAS, you might want to try Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye or Founders Red's Rye.
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  19. BeerBum

    BeerBum Aficionado (235) California Nov 13, 2012

    I appreciate the thoughtful response. I agree, wholeheartedly, the fresher the better. I was only trying to make the point that just because a good IPA is 4+ weeks old it doesn't necessarily mean it's become a drain pour. Are they different at 4+ weeks? Of course, but maybe OP would like to see the difference himself. "I'm a relative newbie to craft..." as he said. Your experience with craft and blind tastings of the same beer has given you the knowledge that you like IPAs as fresh as can be. Maybe OP has similar tastes, maybe not, but he'll never know unless he tries different ages and compares. I'm with you tho, for my palet I love IPAs at their youngest. Tonight I'm cracking a Pliny from (11.01.12) and one from (11.26.12) should be fun having them side by side. Cheers!
  20. I have had three month old Pliny. Although still pretty good, it couldn't compare to a fresh bottle that was opened next to it.
  21. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Chad Jan 8, 2012

    In a few weeks check out Lagunitas' Sucks - if you liked Kiwi Rising then Sucks should make you happy assuming it's as good as it was last year. Also, if you can get any "Audacity of Hops" super fresh then try that - it's a Belgian IPA that leans more IPA when really fresh. Same with Larry - it's really, really good when fresh (with age on it, it's pretty not so good.)
  22. RedMedicine

    RedMedicine Savant (350) Oregon Jun 3, 2005

    My personal opinion is that Pliny is best within a week or two and the fresher the better. I will usually pass on a batch older than 2.5 weeks. Heady Topper I absolutely love fresh but also enjoy with quite a few weeks on it.

    As an aside, the bottle of 11/26 Pliny I had was overcarbonated and not too enjoyable.
    cbeer88 likes this.
  23. RobCorriveau

    RobCorriveau Aficionado (160) Massachusetts Dec 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    I really enjoy Uinta Hop Notch. You can usually find that on shelves pretty regularly.
  24. croll2000

    croll2000 Aspirant (35) Dec 7, 2012

    Just had some Oskar Blues Gubna (sp?) Imperial IPA in a can - that stuff is INTENSE and AWESOME
    shueyy likes this.
  25. bootywhack

    bootywhack Aficionado (165) Massachusetts Oct 30, 2010 Beer Trader

    Ballast Point's Sculpin is another great one you can find most places
  26. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    Pretty Things Meadowlark IPA
    jplally and croll2000 like this.
  27. That really isnt readily available. It was around this summer but unless they brewed a new batch since then...?
  28. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Advocate (540) Massachusetts Aug 16, 2006 Verified

    I agree that freshness is key, but that aside some of my favorite IPAs that are (fairly to very) readily available include:

    locals like Smuttynose Finestkind IPA, Jack's Abby Hoponius Union, Ipswich IPA, The Tap (Haverhill) Leatherlips IPA, Blatant IPA, Wormtown Be Hoppy IPA

    and beers from afar like Uinta Hop Notch, Bear Republic Racer V, Green Flash West Coast IPA

    Many of those are fairly easy to come by in bottles or on-tap, but some are harder to find in one of those formats. All of them are reasonably priced either on-tap or in bottles, but not necessarily both.

    Some harder to find, but worth-seeking out include:

    CBC Audacity of Hops, Pretty Things Meadowlark, Ballast Point Sculpin
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  29. The other variable that's not being mentioned here is temperature. A 10 degree (celsius) increase in temperature will cut the half life of iso-acids by 50% (or thereaboouts... was on a brewstrong episode a while back). I'd rather have a three-month-old Heady that's been stored in a fridge than a 6-week-old Heady that was stored on a room-temp shelf.
    Fluke828 likes this.