Bartender pouring Hazy Little Thing IPA into a glass

India Pale Ale (IPA)

Taking hops to the next level

PUSHING THE LIMITS OF HOP FLAVOR

What is IPA Beer?

We introduced a generation to the glory of hops with our Pale Ale, but we kept pushing the limits. India Pale Ale, or IPA, is a beer style that flaunts hop flavor above all else—from bitter and piney to smooth and juicy—with a bolder alcohol content (ABV) than a pale ale. (Substyles like “session IPA” create exceptions, but we’re not here to split hairs.) Today, Sierra Nevada IPAs represent a constant hop exploration, and the lineup includes double IPAs, imperial IPAs, and more.

THE QUICK HISTORY OF INDIA PALE ALE

During the 18th century, a best practice emerged among British brewers who exported beer: extra hopping could help maintain flavor and freshness on long ocean journeys. Hops, it turned out, contain compounds that prevent spoilage. Shipments increased, taste for hops grew, and essentially what emerged among the various beer styles was a pale ale made for the East. In time the moniker “India Pale Ale” surfaced and stuck.

IPA has evolved a lot since then, and it’s worth noting that English-style IPA differs from its American counterpart. Stateside we’ve come to emphasize hop intensity, whereas English brewers historically weave in more pronounced malt character and use subtlety with hop aroma and flavor.

Today, IPA has a fairly broad interpretation. But at its core, IPA shines the spotlight on unique aromas and flavors only hops can accomplish.

HOW DO HOPS WORK ANYWAY?

Hops are cone-shaped flowers whose leaves (called bracts) protect a jackpot of tiny yellow lupulin glands housed within the cone. These glands hold the resins and oils responsible for hop flavor, aroma, and bitterness in beer.
 

Brewers can manipulate all of those things when making IPAs—using more or less hops, boiling them in the kettle, steeping them in cold fermentation tanks, and so on. There are dozens of hop varieties, and each has a unique flavor and aroma character, much like wine grapes.

Go Deeper: What Are Hops?
 

Brewers can manipulate all of those things when making IPAs—using more or less hops, boiling them in the kettle, steeping them in cold fermentation tanks, and so on. There are dozens of hop varieties, and each has a unique flavor and aroma character, much like wine grapes.

Go Deeper: What Are Hops?
EXPLORE DIFFERENT IPA SUBSTYLES
Craft brewers have limitless imaginations, and we’ve collectively taken IPAs on a real ride. Whether it’s unexpected ingredients, process experiments or style hybrids — hops, meet sour beer — there’s no shortage of IPAs to capture your curiosity.
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WEST COAST IPA

The West Coast IPA typically showcases big aromas of citrus and pine, and perhaps additional fruity character, with an emphasis on creating a clean yet assertive bitterness. There should be enough malt body to balance the hops, yet the overall drinkability remains crisp. Try our Torpedo Extra IPA, or Celebration IPA today.

TORPEDO EXTRA IPA
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EAST COAST IPA

Sometimes referred to as East Coast or New England-style, these IPAs have a hazy appearance, their bitterness is faint, and the hop flavors tend to be more tropical and “juicy” on the fruit spectrum. And let’s not forget these brews require specific grains (oats and wheat are key) to help generate that soft and silky-smooth flavor. Try our Hazy Little Thing

Hazy Little Thing
IPA STYLES
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WHAT IS DRY HOPPING?

Dry hopping is a way to give beer more flavor and aroma, not more bitterness. A traditional method is filling nylon sacks with hops and suspending them in fermentation tanks. But we found that sometimes we’d remove those sacks—even weeks later—and they’d be dry in the middle!
 

So we created a device called the Hop Torpedo to maximize every hop. Beer circulates out of a fermenter, flows through the column of hops, and back into the tank. By adjusting the time, temperature and speed of circulation, we can control the aromas and flavors in a finished beer.

Dive Into Dry-Hopping
 

So we created a device called the Hop Torpedo to maximize every hop. Beer circulates out of a fermenter, flows through the column of hops, and back into the tank. By adjusting the time, temperature and speed of circulation, we can control the aromas and flavors in a finished beer.

Dive Into Dry-Hopping

Take our Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Celebration IPA as examples. Hops are the star of both beers, but IPA generally cranks it all up — everything from flavor intensity and bitterness to alcohol by volume (ABV). And it’s worth diving into the details, like the influence of malt, the hop varieties used, and more: Pale Ale Vs. IPA.

IPA is a hugely popular craft beer style. At the 2022 Great American Beer Festival, there were more than 400 entries in the American-style IPA category! But the actual definition of a craft brewery comes down to production volume and ownership. Get the full breakdown of craft beer and craft breweries: What is Craft Beer?

There is a substyle of IPA called the Hazy IPA, and it’s had a meteoric rise in recent years — even earning its own holiday. The haze contributes to a soft and silky texture, while the hop flavors are fruity, often called “juicy.” But it takes real brewing chops to create a great Hazy IPA, so let’s explore the science of the style: What is a Hazy IPA?

If you’re looking for a heavy hitter, you might choose an Imperial IPA like Atomic Torpedo. But if easy-drinking is what you’re after, reach for a low-ABV Session IPA or even a Cold IPA. The Cold IPA is all about delivering on hop intensity, yet the malt character is light and crisp for unreal drinkability. And craft brewers go about Cold IPAs in different ways: What is a Cold IPA?

FAQ

Take our Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Celebration IPA as examples. Hops are the star of both beers, but IPA generally cranks it all up — everything from flavor intensity and bitterness to alcohol by volume (ABV). And it’s worth diving into the details, like the influence of malt, the hop varieties used, and more: Pale Ale Vs. IPA.

IPA is a hugely popular craft beer style. At the 2022 Great American Beer Festival, there were more than 400 entries in the American-style IPA category! But the actual definition of a craft brewery comes down to production volume and ownership. Get the full breakdown of craft beer and craft breweries: What is Craft Beer?

There is a substyle of IPA called the Hazy IPA, and it’s had a meteoric rise in recent years — even earning its own holiday. The haze contributes to a soft and silky texture, while the hop flavors are fruity, often called “juicy.” But it takes real brewing chops to create a great Hazy IPA, so let’s explore the science of the style: What is a Hazy IPA?

If you’re looking for a heavy hitter, you might choose an Imperial IPA like Atomic Torpedo. But if easy-drinking is what you’re after, reach for a low-ABV Session IPA or even a Cold IPA. The Cold IPA is all about delivering on hop intensity, yet the malt character is light and crisp for unreal drinkability. And craft brewers go about Cold IPAs in different ways: What is a Cold IPA?