East Coast IPAs vs. West Coast IPAs. Then & Now.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dcgunman, Apr 26, 2015.

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  1. dcgunman

    dcgunman Meyvn (1,370) Jul 1, 2009 California
    Society Trader

    I've been drinking IPA's since 2007. Stone Pale Ale was probably my introduction to the whole craft thing. Never drinking the Big 3 since the mid 70's. We'd always experimented with Lowenbrau, Michelob, exports from all over the world. Then 2007 brings my taste buds to the hopped up IPA's. Not only was I trying every style of beer then, I was trying alot of IPA's as that was the taste I enjoyed the most. And yes Dogfish Head, Flying Dog and others from the east coast were in the line up. But that quickly changed to mostly west coast IPA's after some dialing in. The east coast taste just wasn't what I was looking for then.
    Fast forward to mid 2015. . .and I am now a believer income of the IPA's coming out of the east coast. I not saying that the taste is east coast IPA's. But the new brewery's are putting out some outstanding IPA's from the east coast. I have to give it up for Other Half (Brooklyn), Bissell Brothers (Portland, Maine), Ithaca's Flower Power & Troegs Nugget Nectar. These are the few that I've tried. I'm waiting on some trades that will get me Lawsons and a few others from the east coast. Heady? Yes I've had that one a few times.
    So which one is better these days? I would still say the west coast IPA's are better. But watch out…the east coast is making it's mark in the IPA department.
    mabermud, Brolo75 and Greywulfken like this.
  2. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2010 California

    Have you heard about these newfangled Vermont-stye IPAs?
    BWM-77, Rollzroyce21, Brolo75 and 7 others like this.
  3. hopnado

    hopnado Devotee (417) Aug 13, 2014 Michigan

    Is would have to disagree, I much rather prefer the juicy fruity floral east coast style over the bitter pine bombs from the west. Not that west coast brewers don't make some delicious ipas but...
    TonyLema1, JLaw55, dar482 and 9 others like this.
  4. Jameson77

    Jameson77 Initiate (0) Mar 11, 2014 South Carolina

    Definitely the east coast citrus style over the west coast piney hops but I do like both.
  5. ChrisMon02

    ChrisMon02 Meyvn (1,258) May 2, 2010 Ohio

    I am more of a "mood" drinker. I love them both but my palate prefers one over the other at times. I think we could all agree that which ever you prefer, there is an abundance of great quality IPA/DIPA from both the East and the West coasts. It is the very reason why I love what is going on in the craft beer world. So many quality choices...Awesome for the consumer.
  6. David_CT

    David_CT Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2014 Connecticut

    Right now I would say east coast, specifically northeast, has it. I was all over the west cost IPAs for a few years, but now that the northeast style IPA has evolved into it's own, the less I seek out the west cost styles. I sometimes go back to a west cost IPA and get a little disappointed, either they don't taste like I remember or do they just no longer compare well with what I am used to drinking here in CT? The beers you mentioned are good, but not the elite, aside from the Lawson's & Heady.

    If you like east coast IPA... you should try to get some fresh Gandhi-Bot or Maine Beer Co "Lunch" in with your Lawson's SOS trade. I may trade you some SOS for some Pte and/or some FRESH FSW Double Jack (the double jack I can get is always over 60 some times over 90 days old.. it must be amazing fresh)
    #6 David_CT, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  7. Himself

    Himself Initiate (0) May 20, 2014 Massachusetts

    I prefer the East Coast style, while you can get super dank IPAs and fruitier ones, I find that the East Coast IPAs and DIPAs have a bit more elegance and finesse over their left coast contemporaries.
  8. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (474) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    I like IPAs from both coasts and in between. I do think the new VT style is distinct -- and certainly expect Cali and other Brewers from around the country to begin brewing variations of it. Get your hands on any Trillium Pale/IPA/DIPA. They have taken the VT style to a new level. This one just incredible.

  9. MikeHBerk79

    MikeHBerk79 Initiate (0) Jan 15, 2015 Massachusetts

    Had my share of West Coast and East Coast, and beyond. Definitely prefer EC like Lawson's SoS, Tree House's Julius, or Brewmaster Jack's Hoppiness Is A Warm Pun, not to mention Heady, anything Maine Beer Co. or New England Brewing Co. West Coast has become too piney for my palate to compare fairly.
    Still many great beers out there.
    CoffeePorter and David_CT like this.
  10. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (526) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina

    All are converging. Too many examples of east/west/no coast from each location.

    A term that has lost its meaning a bit.
  11. miketd

    miketd Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio

    I like IPAs that are good, don't give a fuck where they are from
    cg123, kristougher, jcos and 18 others like this.
  12. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Poo-Bah (5,462) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I never put much value on "east coast" and "west coast" as I cannot see IPA hop profiles being that simply delineated into these two categories as absolute descriptors. Just because it's citric, it's an east coast style? Does that mean it had to have been made on the east coast? Does it mean the hops had to come from the east coast?

    I kinda thought the terms may be used in the same way we might use "horse blanket" or "dank" in that they have they have taken on a meaning for the BA group, giving insight into the character of the beer, but I didn't think there was necessarily much geographic accuracy to them.
    #12 Greywulfken, Apr 26, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  13. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,422) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    The Geographic IPA debate at this point has roots and history but at this point it's nearly meaningless to me since you can have beers like that made just about anywhere in the US. including Hawaii which is all coast ! :slight_smile:

    It's all apples and oranges which you like better.. (oranges) :slight_smile:
  14. Hoppruined

    Hoppruined Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2015 Canada (ON)

    Try Garrison's Imperial IPA from Halifax Nova Scotia Canada if you can. It's one of my all time favs. cheers
  15. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (3,001) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Or- are in the mood for at the time :slight_smile:.
    Nap2422, woodchipper and Smakawhat like this.
  16. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,422) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    that too must agree, love to bounce around...
  17. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Thanks to the new fancy auto-tune hops like Citra, Galaxy, and Simcoe among others. There's an emergent middle ground where a good many beers sort of taste alike across the board.
    These hops are kind of doing the same thing that Starbucks did to good coffee when they were in their peak expansion era. Which, lo and behold. Good beer is in the middle of with it's biggest, but still scrappy-ish breweries expanding to nationwide distribution and setting up their creation points in new locales and expanding their culture with it.
    They kind of erased much of the regional distinctions that had already been developed and coffee drinkers who were getting their coffee education the Charbucks way, which was the Seattle way of drinking coffee. Which was to have the bean be roasted black, and oily to the touch. While they may have become coffee smart. They were also; for much of their early education; bean stupid. It's funny how with coffee education these days and a lot of the more chi chi local roasters which have sprung up with their pour overs and small batches; it's the darkest roasts that are pretty much poo pooed. And for good reason. When the bean is roasted black; the subtleties the beans they are using are revered for are lost.
    tylerstravis and LuskusDelph like this.
  18. HopBomb515

    HopBomb515 Initiate (0) Jun 15, 2013 New Jersey

    I think this should be in the discussion more when it comes to East Coast IPA/DIPA...

    Speek, MjBrewhouse, srgehl and 4 others like this.
  19. mikevanatta

    mikevanatta Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2014 Minnesota

    Guys, east coast versus west coast killed Biggie and 2Pac. Let's stop the beef now!
    Speek, BWM-77, scbeerman and 7 others like this.
  20. Givemebeer

    Givemebeer Zealot (543) Apr 6, 2013 Vermont

    East coast IPA's... So aromatic. Of course I'm biased though.
  21. do_ob

    do_ob Initiate (0) Feb 12, 2015 Kentucky

    While I haven't had the opportunity to try many of the most popular or sought after east coast IPA's, the style is still my favorite when it comes down to comparing territories. I love a dank, piney, bitter IPA.
    jakecattleco likes this.
  22. timotao

    timotao Disciple (303) Sep 16, 2013 New York

    I consider that beer a West Coast style IPA.
    mabermud likes this.
  23. johnrf

    johnrf Initiate (40) May 21, 2005 Pennsylvania

    How about a west coast IPA done in the east? Last Chance IPA from Weyerbacher.
  24. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (3,088) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    "East Coast vs. West Coast" at this point is a false and meaningless dichotomy. Citrusy, juicy, piney, floral, bitter, tropical, and every other variation on IPA is pretty much being brewed everywhere now. Also, comparing the beers you can get at a handful of smaller "boutique" breweries in the East only with beers from Stone, Lagunitas, and other much bigger breweries in the West leaves many hundreds of breweries and probably thousands of IPAs completely out of the conversation. Just because you haven't had it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
  25. jayrutgers

    jayrutgers Aspirant (214) Oct 29, 2011 New Jersey

    East Coast to will always and forever mean 90 minute to me. And it's still glorious.

    A lot of great IPAs from all over now, there's nothing to geographic boundaries now with the style. Easy Jack is an orangey citrus session IPA from the west coast, County Line IPA from Neshaminy Creek in PA is piney. Who gives a flying you know what. Drink good beer.
  26. MisSigsFan

    MisSigsFan Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 California

    There's really no difference anymore when it comes to east and west. Both produce very similar beers.
    MjBrewhouse, mabermud and Kadonny like this.
  27. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    Neither. I prefer no coast (two hearted)
  28. Dravin

    Dravin Initiate (179) Apr 27, 2014 Indiana

    My preference is east coast style IPAs but that doesn't mean I dislike west coast style IPAs.
  29. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Defender (622) Nov 6, 2007 California

    This east=citrus, west=piney dichotomy is ridiculous. I think that what is going on here is that West Coast brewers were earlier to get known for IPAs and have much better distribution across the country. East Coasters got used to that style and always drunk the beers a little stale but they were still better than most local versions. Now, there are finally a lot of East Coast breweries making great IPAs that you can get fresh and obviously they have better aroma than the stuff you had been drinking that was shipped across the country.

    I don't fault anyone for preferring the beers that they get local and fresh. That's just a no brainer. but to say that this constitutes a distinct dichotomy or style of brewing belies a real ignorance of the beer scene across the country. There are a ton or tropical, floral, citrus-fruit, hazy, lower-bitter and everything in between IPAs brewed just in California these days and most of it has limited distribution just like the new cult northeast breweries. Even the bigger brewers are now doing more stuff like that with newer hops. The difference I think is that we've been swimming in great hoppy beer for so many years now that it's just not a big deal anymore to most people here and you don't hear much about it.

    We're all winners right now because we can all get the best IPAs fresh and local for the most part, which was not the case a few years ago. Good beer is just so much easier to find and I think we can all cheers to that. Keep trying all the beer you can, travel to try new stuff, and don't get caught up in the rare hyped stuff as it's usually only worth it for the enjoyment of the chase if that's what you are into. There are gems everywhere these days if you are willing to look a little deeper.
    MoorBeerPlz, mudbug, jcos and 18 others like this.
  30. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (3,088) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    This post should be required reading for anyone who posts anything about IPAs on BeerAdvocate.
  31. KrajDoesBeer

    KrajDoesBeer Devotee (472) Aug 2, 2014 Illinois

    Trillium and Tree House> ALL WEST COAST IPAS... it isn't close. you can include Maine Dinner too...

    I only trade for those two brewries anymore. I dont even bother with West Coast... Just my opinion.. But I am right..
    RuckIt and HugeBulge like this.
  32. ArsMoriendiOU818

    ArsMoriendiOU818 Champion (846) Nov 5, 2013 Virginia

    I don't think the two "styles" are separate enough to actually have separate style designations, but if we are talking about which coast produces better IPA's, I believe in the past two years the East Coast has taken over as number one. No one on the West Coast is making IPA's that are at Trillium, Tree House, NEBCO, Alchemist, Maine, Hill Farmstead and Lawson's level. Hell, even SingleCut's past few bottle releases put them at least on the same level as the top 95% of West Coast IPA's I've had. I do love them both though, and I swear no allegiance to the East Coast. I've just had few IPA's that have impressed me as much as the above listed brewers.

    Also, according to BA consensus, a considerable majority of the top-rated IPA's in the Top 250 are either East Coast or no-coast (Surly, Three Floyds and Toppling Goliath mostly).
    David_CT likes this.
  33. Evmo31

    Evmo31 Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2015 Connecticut

    Just look at the ISO:FT: forums. 75%+ of the ISO's are new england beers when it comes to IPAs. Recently alot of the more limited NE IPAs have been trading very high. Focal, dinner, triple sunshine, julius, trading for big stouts and sours. Not to mention somewhat constant ISO posts for heady, sip, trillium, gandhi, hill growlers etc. There is some amazing west coast IPAs that are just as good if not better than the stuff coming out of the NE. The thing is, there is so many breweries in new england making so many world class IPAs, that is hard for everyone else to keep up.
  34. WillemHC

    WillemHC Initiate (155) Jun 21, 2013 Utah

    I will adamantly argue that there isn't such a thing as an east coast IPA. All of the hops used in the favorite "east coast IPAs" are from farms on the west coast (besides a few that might use NZ hops). Pliny is an expose of simcoe, the same exact hop that gives heady topper most of it's fruity citrus flavor, and is farmed in Yakima Valley Washington.. Ive consumed plenty of east coast hoppy beers and they are all wonderful, but are no more citrusy or fruity than beers being made by Cellarmaker, Faction, Knee Deep, Boneyard, Alpine, and many others.

    Not trying to take away from the eastcoasters. I was born in Boston where my entire family is from. Just like every other region in the entire country, there are amazing beers being made in the east coast. But there is no doubt in my mind that there is far from being a distinct East Coast IPA as a style category.
  35. draheim

    draheim Poo-Bah (3,088) Sep 18, 2010 Washington

    Please don't use the trading forum as a barometer for how good a beer is. I implore you.
    mabermud, tylerstravis, jcos and 6 others like this.
  36. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,322) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Wicked Weed Freak of Nature and Foothills Jade are just good IPAs regardless of geographical provenance.
    Wanda likes this.
  37. Das_Reh

    Das_Reh Disciple (340) Mar 25, 2013 Florida

    Sometimes I want something balanced, citrusy and floral, other times I want to drink the leftover water from the Christmas tree. Just depends on my mood (and sometimes what meal I'm pairing it with).
    DukeCola and hopnado like this.
  38. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (275) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Living on neither coast, this doesn't make sense to me.
  39. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Aspirant (244) Jan 8, 2015 California

    Says the guy with the Ballast Point avatar. :wink:

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  40. deanzaZZR

    deanzaZZR Aspirant (244) Jan 8, 2015 California

    East Coast population density >>>>> West Coast population density so the results are predictable. One can even say that the East Coast has an inherent advantage with the larger local markets. Lucky you.

    mabermud, Strangestbrewer and draheim like this.
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