How many sub-styles of IPA should exist on BA?

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Talk' started by JackHorzempa, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    I'm going with we all are (until proven otherwise)! :grin:
     
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  2. Dave_S

    Dave_S Initiate (72) May 18, 2017 England

    Yeah - I think that there's a thing called "English IPA", but it's mostly a thing invented by American brewers based on what they imagine English IPA being like. In the UK there isn't really a distinctive grouping of IPAs that could be described as English IPAs. Things described as IPA over here generally fit into either the pale ale / bitter family or, these days, one of the US IPA substyles. Proper Job, mentioned upthread, is basically a cask Session IPA, maybe bumping into classic West Coast IPA territory in the stronger bottled version, and there are other brewers hitting the full range of US substyles if you want them.
     
  3. Dave_S

    Dave_S Initiate (72) May 18, 2017 England

    Yeah, this generally makes sense to me. I'd say that a style category is useful on a basic level if
    a) it approximately works for "if you liked that one then you'll probably like these ones as well" type exploration and
    b) it provides a reasonably level playing field for "best in category" lists or competitions and maybe
    c) it provides some sort of historical context, although this one I'd see as optional.

    So to me it makes sense to split out soft / juicy / low bitterness IPA from dry and bitter IPA and session IPA from regular IPA from double / imperial / whatever you want to call it IPA. I guess that gives you six styles if you crowbar black / brut / belgian / sour / whatever else people come up with into the nearest appropriate style or seven if you add "speciality / weird". Is that too many? Dunno, I mean you've got six porters and eight stouts to cover probably a smaller number of beers.
     
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  4. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Your palate and your opinion is your own, but @MNAle (who's from Minnesota like you) and myself and @meefmoff (both from MA, arguably the home of the "New England IPA") all agree that this beer is a New England IPA.

    And they both concluded this from blind tastings. So there's no confusion, at least for them, with what a "New England IPA is".

    As @MNAle has pointed out, if you go to Toppling Goliath's tap room page they list specific IPAs as "New England" and others they don't (although I fully admit there is some inconsistency in their labeling on that page).

    https://www.tgbrews.com/taproom/

    Does this one fit the bill for a New England IPA then? (30 IBUs but 7.7% ABV)

    Sun Reaper IPA - Imperial / Double New England

    7.7% ABV

    30 IBU

    Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

    Decorah, IA

    A medium body and low bitterness, amplify a hop-derived explosion of pineapple, orange, and passion fruit flavors up front with a layered finish of soft pine
     
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  5. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    So, if it looks like, tastes like, feels like, and smells like a New England IPA, it is not one because it didn't used to be one?
     
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  6. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Ya I think the work around with strength is to have those categories only in competition, not on a site like this. So within whatever style of ipa you'd have single, double, triple categories but on this site the consumer would just have to check the abv themselves.
    As to your thoughts on the "English" ipa thing, my sense is that it's what we in the US call the style as it was made before the explosion of northwest c hops. So it's like a pale ale or a bitter but with more hops but the hops give a more earthy herbal flavor as opposed to the piney c hops. And we call it English nowadays because it's assumed to be the style made over there (I've also heard people refer to an "east coast" ipa that sounds a lot like the same style)
     
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  7. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I still think you need to separate by ABV at some level. Maybe not single, double, triple though.

    Because people generally rate higher ABVs of a style higher.
     
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  8. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    Has that phenomenon actually been tracked? I feel like with IPAs, I would bet the best faring abv is 6.5-8.5. I feel like with stouts that's definitely true but I'm not sure about the positive correlation between abv and rating in IPAs. Lots of folks find sessions watery and doubles /triples too boozy
     
  9. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    Then they rate differently. Lower ABV IPAs are definitely down-rated. DIPAs? Maybe not consistently higher, but the rating does vary with ABV.
     
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  10. AWA

    AWA Aspirant (238) Jul 22, 2014 California

    2. IPA and Imperial IPA. And only because I want to know when I need to limit myself. I don't need to repeat the 6 bottle s of 120 minute again. Damn embarrassing to have to take an uber to meet a client.
     
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  11. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    6 beers (of any ABV) before meeting a client all is on you! :grin:
     
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  12. AWA

    AWA Aspirant (238) Jul 22, 2014 California

    Got the job though. Gotta love Santa Cruz
     
  13. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    Those are just user-input Untappd listings to which Toppling Goliath is linking, as many breweries do. That's hardly definitive, not a brewery endorsement of the style classification, and no more accurate than the many misclassifications here at BeerAdvocate. I've never seen Toppling Goliath self-describe a beer as a "New England IPA."

    Keep in mind that Toppling Goliath was a huge name (albeit at a small scale) in craft beer, with an emphasis on IPAs and pale ales, years before Tree House or Trillium existed, and Toppling Goliath influenced those breweries much as the early Vermont IPA breweries did. I heard a ton about Toppling Goliath circa 2010, with an emphasis on its hoppy ale output, long before anybody used the term "New England IPA," as far as I'm aware (Why would they use the term then? Such beers did not yet exist.). Toppling Goliath's output shouldn't be retroactively shoehorned into a "style" that it predated.

    Again, people seem to want to apply "New England IPA" to any hazy and/or juicy pale-colored hoppy beer, but they're ignoring the fact that many breweries were experimenting with such beers far outside of the region of New England and long before actual NEIPAs, with their remarkably low bitterness and high residual sugar content that actually define the "style," crystallized into a distinct substyle.
     
    #173 islay, Jul 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  14. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I agree. That's why I was suggesting (I didn't do a great job of detailing my post) perhaps just a single and double classification here on BA.

    If a brewery labels it a "triple" just toss it in the double/imperial category for IPAs.

    Holy crap, that's A LOT of alcohol. If it's 120 at it's minimum ABV (it ranges 15-20%) that's the equivalent of 18 beers.

    Imagine if you hadn't drank...you'd be the CEO!

    I don't disagree with any of this, and it's a good point about the Untappd descriptions, I didn't realize that.

    The overall point is, as @MNAle has discovered and pointed out, some of Toppling Goliath's beers have changed. Fire, Skulls, and Money is at least one of them. Have you had that beer lately?

    I had Pseudo Sue when it first MA. I actually didn't like it as much as future Toppling Goliath beers I've had since. This is because it tasted like those beers that predated New England IPAs. It reminded me of Heady Topper/Focal Banger. Not to say these are bad beers, I think they're good. But I prefer my IPAs either West Coast-ish or New England-ish.

    I haven't had Pseudo Sue since then (might have been a year ago at this point), but it's entirely possible these changes to their beers are recent.
     
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  15. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,642) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew

    So have we figured it out yet? :thinking_face: (The original question, not what styles people think certain beers are.)
     
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  16. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,511) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    We've narrowed it down to somewhere between 2 and 57... :confused:
     
  17. islay

    islay Aspirant (276) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    I think a lot of IPAs and pale ales, including some of Toppling Goliath's beers, have changed in response to modern consumer's preferences, as has long been the case. I don't think taking on some characteristics that people think of as being associated with NEIPAs suddenly makes such beers NEIPAs. I call such beers post-NEIPAs, beers that have been influenced by New England IPAs (or the same consumer preferences that made NEIPAs popular) without actually being them. As I wrote previously, most Toppling Goliath IPAs are pre-NEIPAs (beers similar to Vermont IPAs in a parallel evolution from WCIPAs) that, like so many other IPAs in present times, have adopted some post-NEIPA characteristics.

    I know that's a nuanced position, but my broad point is that New England IPAs are a notable minority of IPAs, not the vast majority as people who would count various pre- and post-NEIPAs would have you believe. Most IPAs now are at least a little bit hazy and juicy as well lower in bitterness than most non-East-Coast IPAs 5 to 15 years ago. NEIPAs take all of those traits to the extreme, add in intentionally low attenuation for sweetness and mouthfeel, and generally are limited to those that are pale in color and don't emphasize malt flavors. Similarly, a decade ago, I would've said that most IPAs were more bitter and tasted more like pine than the IPAs of the late '90s, but that didn't make all of that lot West Coast IPAs. Let's not confuse broad craft beer trends for style-specific attributes, even when those trends are associated with a particular style in the popular imagination.

    Added: This is why "New England IPA" shouldn't be a separate style. People can't tell or agree upon the difference between NEIPAs and IPAs of the pre- or post-NEIPA varieties.
     
  18. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    slightly fewer than there are now?
     
  19. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,642) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew

    Nah. We clearly need more.
     
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  20. stevepat

    stevepat Defender (688) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Trader

    That's true, we need a special one for every region of the US, and apparently at least a few for the various regional varieties of england, and I'd imagine Canada has at least 3 distinct styles. Plus each of those needs to have at least 4 strength categories. Plus milkshake
     
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  21. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,037) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    You could say that again!

    I think I'll just agree to disagree.

    Yup.

    American IPA

    New England IPA

    And Toppling Goliath
     
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  22. rex_4539

    rex_4539 Meyvn (1,341) Dec 20, 2014 Greece

    Would love to add New England Imperial IPA.
     
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  23. rtrasr

    rtrasr Disciple (308) Feb 16, 2009 Arkansas

    I miss Boulevard Frequent Flier Session IPA. That stuff was truly delicious.