What beer defines an IPA for you?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by akolb, Sep 10, 2016.

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  1. akolb

    akolb Initiate (0) Aug 8, 2015 Colorado

    I was sipping on a Ska Modus Hoperandi today when I realized that this beer represents the quintessential IPA for me: the flavor I think of when I think "IPA" and the standard which I judge all other IPAs against. For me this flavor is tons of pine, grapefruit, resin, a substantial and slightly sweet malt background, and a lot of bitterness.
    The IPA style is so varied that I though it would be fun to see what other peoples' quintessential IPA is. What beer do you think of when you think "IPA?"
  2. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,721) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    I thought Flying Dog produced good stuffs... until I had Stone IPA and Oskar Blues IPA which are for me exceptional.
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  3. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (443) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Right now -- this or one of it's brothers or sisters is it for me. State of the art in terms of getting optimal flavor/aroma out of the latest hop varieties.
  4. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona

    I would say Blind Pig from RR. But lately I have been digging those NEIPA's. (See Above)
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  5. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (465) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    My palate has shifted somewhat away from IPAs that are quite this bitter, but before it did Modus was indeed a beer that I loved. Even if it's not quite in my sweet spot these days it's one of the few things that I miss about living in central Illinois.
  6. ELS

    ELS Devotee (422) Apr 22, 2012 Florida

    I think Modus Hoperandi is the most underrated IPA there is! You nailed the description of this IPA. The pine makes this beer and all the other elements just fall in line. However, there is no quintessential IPA for me because I'm continuing to find great IPAs all the time. Some of the most impressive IPAs I've had include, 3F Permanent Funeral, Fresh Sculpin on tap, TH Sap, Trillium Galaxy Hopped Fort Point, and OH City Slickers.
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  7. DEdesings57

    DEdesings57 Defender (633) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey

    Maine Beer Company Hop Program Beer IV!
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  8. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,977) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Though it has changed some over the years, Flower Power is that exemplar of an IPA to me.
    hopsputin, BigMike, Geuzedad and 9 others like this.

    THANAT0PSIS Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    West Coast: Russian River Blind Pig

    Old School East Coast: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

    New School East Coast: Trillium Melcher Street, Hill Farmstead Susan, Tree House Julius, or Toppling Goliath ZeeLander

    Third Coast: Bells Two Hearted, Surly Todd the Axe Man (almost new NE style), or Three Floyds Zombie Dust (despite that they call it an APA)

    English: Fuller's IPA
  10. skleice

    skleice Aspirant (274) Aug 6, 2015 Connecticut

    Tree House Green. For me it's the amazing balance of tropical juiciness with an awesome green herbaceous kick. And the mouthfeel is nuts. It is perfection.
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  11. utopiajane

    utopiajane Initiate (0) Jun 11, 2013 New York

    I think IPA is the one beer style for which I cannot choose one that is the defining beer for me. It has such range. The hops can all be different as well as the mouthfeel. So many are memorable and all for differences.
  12. dutesanch

    dutesanch Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2014 California

    Zombie dust or Sculpin
  13. MA_hops

    MA_hops Initiate (0) May 18, 2015 Vermont

    Bell's Two Hearted Ale is probably the most balanced beer that I've ever had. The balance between hops and malt is perfect. It's not too bitter and it's not an overpowering hop presence. It's probably my favorite beer just to drink. The quintessential "fridge beer". I can't give it enough accolades!! I only wish I was in NY and could get it more often.
  14. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,983) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    I have to agree with @utopiajane, I have yet to find one I just want to drink in and out. I have to say though I hardly go a week without grabbing a Yellow Rose on tap somewhere. What I am really digging now is Head Hunter by Fat Head's. I don't usually bother anyone other than my kids to mule beer for me, but had a friend that went to Florida pick some up. Great beer
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  15. Beef_Curtains

    Beef_Curtains Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2013 Ohio

    fresh Fat Heads Head Hunter
  16. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,626) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I'll go off the reservation here:
    • Devil Anse (Greenbrier Valley)
    • Exit 16 (Flying Fish)
    • Union Jack (Firestone Walker)
    Like @utopiajane said, there is such a range that it's hard to pick a defining one. However, these embody everything I love about IPAs.

    If APAs are allowed in this conversation, then PseudoSue. Or Mosaic Dry Hopped PseudoSue.
    #16 dcotom, Sep 10, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  17. barflybastard

    barflybastard Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Head Hunter was my first. Blind Pig came next, then Todd the Axe Man...a little later and Trillium and then (locally, thankfully) Brew Gentlemen. The evolution hasn't demoted any to second tier, just a clearer (if not broadening) representation of the favored style, though these examples remains my significant touchpoints.
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  18. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (2,625) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Union Jack comes to mind. It's by no means my favorite IPA but it pretty much encapsulates everything good about the style, in my opinion.
  19. Lurchus

    Lurchus Initiate (190) Jan 19, 2014 Germany

    Greene King IPA.
  20. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing Initiate (0) Jul 5, 2009 Kansas

    Although I haven't had it in forever, Odell IPA.
  21. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Ballantine IPA when it was brewed in Newark NJ.
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  22. M-14

    M-14 Initiate (117) Feb 5, 2014 California

    Alesmith IPA is my reference standard.
  23. upsbeernut

    upsbeernut Aspirant (276) Sep 22, 2011 Georgia

    i would have to say IBUS and ABV together with malt added just enough to balance the two without a trace. I believe most of the ipas that ive tried have to be 65 or better and 6.8% or more, I always go back to Stone IPA and Smutty nose as a defining IPA. Of course the list is a lot longer than that. Here in the South we dont get Russian river and firestone walker so my comparisions are limited. Never had a fat head or a zombie dust either.
  24. marquis

    marquis Champion (802) Nov 20, 2005 England

    IPA has been around in lots of different forms at different times. The originals, fermented to the extreme, Brett affected and massively hopped would have been as bitter as gall and dry as dust.
    20th century IPA was generally just another name for bitter and dozens are still brewed
    .Now we have West and East coast versions. All of these "IPAs" have nothing in common but the name.
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  25. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,806) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    While I do enjoy these new hazy IPAs that are popping up, I still crave beers like Modus. The Ska rep described it to me as a grapefruit making love to some weed in a pine forest, and that is what has defined IPA for me for years now.
    As of late, outside of local faves like dry dock DIPA and superpower, pinedrops from deschutes has been satisfying that need for bitter goodness.
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  26. Realsambo

    Realsambo Initiate (0) Apr 15, 2016 Texas

    First ipa i truly loved was stash from independence. High ibu but not a dry finish. I order it every time i see it. I have since found better, but that to me is a good standard to reference.
  27. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Poo-Bah (2,486) Mar 7, 2013 Canada (QC)
    Society Trader

    Like everything, my tastes have shifted over the years but to this day my favorites are the ones that balance the line between fruity and resinous; shellac and refreshment.

    Odell IPA has been one of my favorites for a long time. It's easy to find, fairly earthy, fairly grapefruity, has detectable malt, has a nice mouthfeel, and is really drinkable.

    Nonetheless, I think that SoS is my favorite IPA, period. It just hits a lot of buttons for me. It looks lovely, has fantastic aromas and flavors that also are both fruity and earthy. Neither one completely takes over. It's hoppy as fuck but still has a touch of malt and it feels like drinking liquid velvet. But it is drinkable and refreshing just like the Odell.
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  28. Wolfhead

    Wolfhead Initiate (0) Sep 1, 2009 Illinois

    First the label, if it states it's an IPA I'll go for it, APA and IIPA's that may be real IPA's don't count because that's what the brewer decided it is, even if BA's agree or not. APA's like Zombie Dust, Pseudo Sue etc are listed as APA's even if I feel they're are IPA's. Sculpin and Sucks are IIPA's? I disagree but that's me, I drink them as IPA's
    Revolution Anti-Hero for me puts it right in the middle of IPA land for my taste buds, Two Hearted, Torpedo are two that represent IPA's well but are probably too balanced IMO for an IPA as I feel IPA's are about the hops, bitterness, resin, sticky, dank, citrus overload to my nose and palette.
    If I wanted balance I would drink something else
  29. xc8pepod

    xc8pepod Initiate (0) Sep 10, 2016 North Carolina

    Tropicalia - Creature Comforts
  30. Czequershuus

    Czequershuus Poo-Bah (2,070) Feb 7, 2014 Minnesota

    Two Hearted was really the first to define the style for me, but in my head now I use Avery IPA as a reference point.
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  31. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona

    I love so many IPA it is hard to say to be honest. I love Stone IPA, Founders-All Day IPA, Ska-Modus. Those would be my fav but I like some many others also.
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  32. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,818) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey

    I think of that first ever sip of 60 minute. That was 4 years ago and its cemented in me. If i think regionally i think...

    East coast: HopDevil
    West Coast: Stone IPA
    New England: Treehouse Green

    All great beers within IPA style yet all have a uniqueness to them. I tend to rate all others to their level. And when i think DIPA i think Carton 077XX or Double Dog. Two same style yet so different. Haven't had an ipa from england but english ipa i think flying fishs hopfish and 60 minute for some reason. All pale ales are thought on the level of Sierra Nevada
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  33. AmeriCanadian

    AmeriCanadian Champion (884) Jul 5, 2014 Tennessee

    Like many posters, it's been an evolving list for me. Each stood out in a special and unique way when I first had it, and has been a beer that I love to go back to when I have an American IPA craving (which is often). In chronological order of me discovering them (and going off BA categorization, so no APAs or IIPAs):

    Lagunitas IPA
    Sierra Nevada Torpedo
    Smuttynose Finest Kind
    Alpine Duet
    Bell's Two Hearted
    Ballast Point Sculpin
    Cigar City Jai Alai
    Bear Republic Racer 5
    Bearded Iris Habit (Nashville local)

    Jai Alai is probably my favorite of the bunch, but I continue to enjoy them all.
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  34. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Poo-Bah (1,777) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Two Hearted ale from Bells.
  35. thuey

    thuey Disciple (330) Nov 13, 2015 California

    I would like to drink this year-round please:

    Modern Times City of the Sun
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  36. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,853) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I must be too selective with my IPAs, because I've never had one of those super bitter in your face versions. Not too many anyway. And, to me, balance simply means palatable; not equal shares of everything. So balance in an IPA is as important as in a hot sauce, I'd say; but the focus does need to be on the main ingredient.

    Anyway, my standard bearers, always delicious and satisfying, are Two Hearted and Union Jack. If they're fresh, I'll take 'em over anything else.
  37. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,151) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Before 2010 things were more simple to define American made IPAs but things have splintered in several new directions now it's tough to quantify only 1 representative of the whole style.
  38. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (1,677) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    OMG! This exactly the correct answer!
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  39. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (1,677) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    It's tempting to try to turn every thread into a fight over whether NEIPA should be a distinct style from west coast IPA, and which is better, but I won't do that because that would be assholish.

    But, at any rate, I'd go for a Hill Farmstead, Trillium or, really, almost any other NEIPA over that west coast tree sap shit.
  40. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (606) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    I don't consider "IPA" to be a defined "Style" anymore, It's a flavor descriptor that brewers use to tell me that whats inside has a hoppy component.
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