West Coast IPAs in the Northeast

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by HorseheadsHophead, Dec 30, 2021.

  1. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,516) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado

    So, as many of you who know of me already know, I recently moved from New York to Colorado--and, I hate to admit this--but aside from a breweries I don't really miss the beer scene in New York at all. The proliferation of NEIPAs and sweet pastry beers had all but wiped out other styles of beer, at least where I was from. But I'm not going to make this yet another NEIPA-bashing thread. I just got to thinking about how difficult it was to find virtually any West Coast IPAs. 3+ month old Stone and Lagunitas was about the best I could ever hope to find. The New England style has all but completely replaced the West Coast style in the northeast. I'm loving the super dry, crisp, modern style WCIPAs I have access to now in Colorado. Does anyone know if anyone at all is brewing these types of beers in the northeast? Or is the West Coast IPA truly dead out there? Has the New England style completed replaced the West Coast style there? And am I alone in my opinion?
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  2. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,301) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I had a WCIPA last time I was at Cambridge Brewing that was pretty good. Isn't what MBC does more West Coast? Not just aggressive IBUs but a considerate amount of bitterness with a dry clean palate. As I've been digging them lately, I will probably seek more of them out and will add to this thread in the future.
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  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,825) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The WCIPA that I purchase frequently is Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA which I can often find less than a month from canning.

    There are other WCIPA beers but the number of Juicy/Hazy IPAs are more prevalent. Maybe someday that differential will change?

  4. tavernakhione

    tavernakhione Initiate (27) Jun 28, 2015 Maine

    Austin Street Paseo. Released every year around this time so right now it's super fresh. New packaging this year. It's tasting great.
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  5. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,516) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado

    Ah, I just remembered that Limbo IPA and Space Juice from Long Trail were delightfully dank and bitter hop bombs.
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  6. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,516) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado

    Oh, that's a good one. The only place I ever found Fat Heads was at one store in Penn Yann that I frequented for work.
  7. jonphisher

    jonphisher Poo-Bah (1,526) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    No you are not, alone. My personal favorite IPA is fresh squeezed, if Deschutes is in NY...

    If you want strictly brewed in the east then I'd definitely suggest: troegs perpetual, victory hop devil, victory dirt wolf, industrial arts power tools (haven't seen in a while though), cape may IPA (the double leans west too but the single more so and is better IMO, super citrus zesty and nice and bitter).

    That's just a quick off the top of my head. My favorite local brewery brews and cans several as well but I doubt that does you much good in NY.
  8. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This is a tough discussion, because beers from breweries like MBC and Alchemist are far more bitter than the modern New England IPA. And they're not nearly as turbid.

    But if you compare something like Lunch or Heady Topper to Ruination IPA from Stone, they're quite different.

    What are we defining as West Coast IPA here? Clear, dry, bitter, piney hop bomb with a caramel malt backbone?

    While Celebration is more balanced than that, I consider that a West Coast IPA. Same with Torpedo from Sierra Nevada. Just using these as examples everyone is familiar with (and if you're not familiar with Celebration, shame on you).
  9. cid71

    cid71 Initiate (146) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

    Trying to define a beer by style is like fools gold . However I have been a fan of dogfish head liquid truth serum. Probably doesn't qualify as it's too hazy but I find it's flavor is a little closer to a wcipa than a haze bomb. And it's readily available
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  10. sefus12

    sefus12 Aspirant (240) Sep 7, 2006 Massachusetts

    I really enjoy Wormtown Be Hoppy. It's not a SN Torpedo but it is a great take on the WCIPA made here in MA.
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  11. seakayak

    seakayak Crusader (761) May 20, 2007 Massachusetts

    Be Hoppy is an outstanding west coast-style IPA! To me it has a similar flavor profile to Head Hunter, White Rajah, Flower Power, and Stone IPA. :beers:

    Ipswich Route 101 West Coast IPA is another, plus it's everywhere again! You'll smell and taste it, and say "oh yeah, that's the stuff I'm looking for!" Cheers!
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  12. dele

    dele Initiate (121) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    Wormtown's Be Hoppy is a pretty good West Coast style IPA. Also, while technically a lager, Jack's Abby Hoponius Union scratches the West Coast itch for me pretty well.
  13. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (2,138) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    I had Jupiter from Mortalis recently. It wasn't very nice. If that's the best we've got, I would wish it dead.
  14. Sheppard

    Sheppard Poo-Bah (2,301) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I feel like there's a spectrum with WCIPAs. To me, Lunch is like a Russian River, Pliny type IPA, which I feel isn't as aggressive as a Ruination. This is the Untappd version of the description:
    Didn't see that first line on their website. You're right, it does open up a whole can of worms on what is a WCIPA.
  15. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I can remember when beers like Lunch, Be Hoppy, Sculpin...etc. first came out. They were far more fruit forward in their hop profiles compared to the likes of Stone IPA.

    It's probably the reason these types of beers sky rocketed to the tops of the IPA lists on this site, we started moving on a spectrum towards more and more fruit forward IPAs, and less pine/grass...etc.

    Obviously we eventually landed on the likes of Fort Point Pale Ale and Julius...and the rest is a murky history...
  16. tinoynk

    tinoynk Initiate (128) Sep 25, 2010 New York

    Wild East makes some very good ones, and they seem to have one around pretty consistently.
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  17. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,995) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Free Will brews a rotating mix of hazy IPAs, but they also have Kragle IPA which is their WC style and Techno which is more an old school East Coast IPA.
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  18. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,995) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Tröegs Perpetual isnt super dry, but its at least clear, crisp, bitter, and has the traditional citrus/pine "C" hop flavors.
  19. ESHBG

    ESHBG Devotee (454) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I am not even sure what a WCIPA is anymore, as over the years I have seen examples mentioned that to me would be more East Coast. But maybe once NEIPAs and hazies became popular most IPAs just became WC in comparison?

    PA distribution only at the moment but Workhorse Brewing Company is making a beer now they call West Coast IPA. I haven't had it yet but seems fitting:

  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,825) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    FWIW that is what I suppose is the situation for most beer drinkers but for me there are a number of brands that are sorta in-between: for example IPAs that are a bit hazy but with prominent bitterness aren't exactly NEIPA type beers IMO.
    A couple of points:

    1. Workhorse beers are now distributed to New Jersey per:


    2. Workhorse West Coast IPA is indeed a WCIPA (i.e., not a NEIPA) and while my preference is to drink WCIPA beers the Workhorse beer is not a favorite if mine. I have consumed it multiple times (both on draft at the brewery and in cans) and every time my 'reaction' is the same: I just do not care for this particular beer. A situation that I am not a fan of the hop varieties they selected to brew this beer?

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  21. ESHBG

    ESHBG Devotee (454) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Ah okay good to know. Their website says that they do not sell outside of PA, guess they need to make an update?
    • What if I don’t live in Pennsylvania?
      That’s too bad and we’d consider relocating to enjoy the wonderful people of the Keystone state. And scrapple. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to visit us at the taproom once since we don’t currently sell our beer outside of the state.
    I will have to give it a try but I too am hit or miss w/ IPAs vs any other style and if it's not the right hop(s) (and malts I guess, but to a much lesser degree) I will not care for it and in some cases can't even finish it.
  22. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,516) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado

    Yeah, sorry if my descriptions were a bit vague. I had multiple lines of thought going into this.
    It is true that some of the older IPAs are still being made and made well. Troegs Perpetual is another good example. I miss that beer. I miss Troegs. Industrial Arts Power Tools is another solid one.
    I guess my main point was that it seems like no one is brewing any new "West Coast Style" IPAs in the northeast; they've been largely replaced by NEIPAs--whereas out west not only has WCIPA popularity never gone away, there are plenty of new ones that further codify the style.

    That's because Mortalis is best at making beer for people who don't like beer. *drops mic*
  23. canoerbrewer

    canoerbrewer Initiate (36) Oct 11, 2017 Massachusetts

    I am hard pressed to not pick up some Be Hoppy for $12 bucks. The imperial versions are delightful as well. Medusa has a WIPA out that hit the spot. Dead Man Walking from Westfield River Brewing Company has promise but was on the flat side when I tried it. Great branding and big bold aroma.
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  24. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Aspirant (272) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    If my eyes rolled any harder they'd bowl a 300 game.
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  25. guinness77

    guinness77 Poo-Bah (2,169) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    I’m really beginning to lose track of what a West Coast IPA actually is. But if we’re going “old school” now, which, granted, sounds a little stupid, I’m going Second Fiddle all the way. It’s got that classic citric, herbal smell and taste. It’s funny, because Fiddlehead IPA, which I also enjoy a lot, has more of a NEIPA look and taste to me.

    I know it’s not widely available but Head High by Kane works for me too. War Elephant by Rushing Duck fits the bill. I can’t believe I’m writing this but does Lunch fall into this category now too? I honestly don’t know anymore because I still love that one, just don’t like the price.

    And, yea, Wormtown Be Hoppy, they don’t distribute by me, I finally tried last July, and that was one of my favorite beers of the many I had while we were up there.
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  26. Mgh2001

    Mgh2001 Initiate (62) Dec 3, 2021

    I know it’s not, but Sip of Sunshine fills that spot for me
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  27. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Aspirant (272) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    Green Flash West Coast IPA.

    Those are generally what people mean when they say WCIPA.

    The problem is there's a whole-ass style in between NEIPA and WCIPA that now gets lumped in with the latter just because there is a noticeable bitterness. Troegs' Perpetual. Maine Lunch. Victory Dirt Wolf. Elysian Space Dust. FW Union Jack. These are all clear, crisp IPAs that are both juicy/dank AND (at least somewhat) bitter.

    And there's no real style name for them. "East Coast IPA" used to get thrown around but that doesn't really mean anything, especially since it would be used to talk about something like Flower Power which is closer to Torpedo than Lunch.
  28. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Aspirant (272) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    (Also I had a fresh Union Jack on draft a few months ago and that is still an inarguable 10/10 perfect beer.)
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  29. Mgh2001

    Mgh2001 Initiate (62) Dec 3, 2021

    You’ve inspired me to grab a 12 pack of torpedo
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  30. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Aspirant (272) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    Well then I have done my job. Dope beer.
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  31. guinness77

    guinness77 Poo-Bah (2,169) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    Green Flash is what I would consider the Gold standard. For sure. Your post basically expounds what I was attempting to get at.

    I mean, it can’t actually be a “West Coast IPA” if it’s made in the Northeast now can it?
  32. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Aspirant (272) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    I mean I don't think actual geography is restrictive. Flower Power is 100% a classic west coast IPA and it was one of the flagship beers in the Northeast for years. Grimm Rewind Centennial is a pitch-perfect, classic WCIPA.

    Conversely you've got Monkish making some of the most coveted NEIPAs in the country.

    And then you've got a brewery like Humble Sea making what I'd consider the next step past, like, Lunch, in that they're still dank, lightly bitter IPAs but phenomenally crisp and juicy too.
  33. jonphisher

    jonphisher Poo-Bah (1,526) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    As an outsider I decided to look them up...

    A bunch of fruited sours, adjunct stouts, juicy ipas, and the two traditional styles (hefe and cream ale) are aged on blood orange and toasted coconut respectively.

    That leaves the single west coast ipa that was mentioned above, which didn't get much love from the person who tried it.

    I would give both perpetual and dirt wolf a try again soon if you haven't, both are much more than somewhat bitter. Perpetual is not not juicy at all, at least to my palette...

    As far as east coast goes there was a recent discussion that lasted quite some time a little ways back:

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  34. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Aspirant (272) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    LOL. I've had Perpetual a hundred times, I know quite well what that beer taste like. Dirt Wolf I had as recently as last year, and I stand by what I said.
  35. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (48) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    The OG, Harpoon IPA?
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  36. BigDummyLamont

    BigDummyLamont Initiate (40) Jan 16, 2021 Massachusetts

    I mean I would only push back a little to say fresh (month old around me) Double Jack was my absolute favorite for a good period of time.
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  37. BigDummyLamont

    BigDummyLamont Initiate (40) Jan 16, 2021 Massachusetts

    My steady rotation for west coast ipa is Great North Aleworks IPA. It’s exactly what you want at 7% and 12oz six packs for $11. Perfect with a burger or a slice of pizza.
    skivtjerry likes this.
  38. Sqhead

    Sqhead Initiate (115) Jul 5, 2007 New Jersey

    I agree on the Union Jack and I would add Racer 5 when you can find it fresh. Hard to find either of these fresh on the East Coast lately.
    Trumpetguy likes this.
  39. Givemebeer

    Givemebeer Zealot (543) Apr 6, 2013 Vermont

    Chinooker'd - Lawson's. Someone mentioned Wild East, they do have a couple great West Coast style IPAs.
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  40. jonphisher

    jonphisher Poo-Bah (1,526) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Sadly they pulled this one from distro for 2021, maybe they’ll announce the 2022 calendar soon and I’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s pine forest glory that beer.
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