We introduced a generation to the glory of hops with our Pale Ale, but we kept pushing the limits of hop flavor. India Pale Ale generally leans even more into hop character, with alcohol content (ABV) sometimes rising with it. (Substyles like “session IPA” certainly expand the definition, 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.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, British brewers had learned the benefits of extra hopping when shipping beer to the Empire’s faraway territories, including India. Hops contain compounds that help prevent spoilage, and ocean journeys were long. Shipments increased, taste for hops grew, and essentially what emerged among the various beer styles was a pale ale made for the East.
The adoption of India Pale Ale as a descriptive name with its own style guidelines took longer, and it’s worth noting that English-style IPA differs from what’s evolved in America. Stateside we’ve celebrated 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.
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.
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, there’s no shortage of IPAs to capture your curiosity.
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, Celebration IPA, or Dankful IPA today.Torpedo Extra 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. We’ve got lots to offer here including Hazy Little Thing, Fantastic Haze and Summer Break.Hazy Little Thing
Pairing hops and tartness can make for an exciting Sour IPA. Many brewers use a technique called accelerated “kettle souring” to get a base beer with their desired tartness. Then come the hops, building out a beer that grips your senses.
And while Wild Little Thing is not an IPA, it’s a slightly sour ale brewed in much the same way.