Ten IPA’s That Rock: A Guide To Great India Pale Ale Drinking

Hops are a beautiful thing.

hopsFrom Amarillo to Simcoe, Cascade to Centennial, hops are the seasoning and the bitter in your beer. And what better beer style to truly show off the power of hops than India Pale Ale.

So the story goes, the IPA style was originally created by the Brits in the early 18th century as a more stable beer to ship to British troops in India. Hops were believed to be part of the solution in keeping beer fresher as it traveled the long journey across seas. There is perhaps some ambiguity in the storybooks as to the exact origins, but if your an IPA fan like me, there is no doubt that we have British innovation to thank for giving the IPA its start.

On that note, here is a list of ten of my favorite IPA’s (and Imperial IPA’s) that rock. Enjoy!


AleSmith IPA
San Diego, CA
American IPA, 7.25% ABV


alchemist heady topper

The Alchemist Heady Topper
Waterbury, VT
American Double/Imperial IPA, 5.70% ABV


Bear Republic Racer 5
Healdsburg, CA
American IPA, 7% ABV


Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Denver, CO
Imperial IPA, 10% ABV



Russian River Brewing Co. Pliny The Elder
Santa Rosa, CA
Imperial IPA, 8% ABV


Maine Beer Co.

Maine Beer Co. Lunch
Portland, ME
American IPA, 7% ABV

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
San Diego, California
American IPA, 7.0% ABV


Stone Enjoy By IPA
Escondido, CA
Imperial IPA, 9.4% ABV


Union Jack India Pale Ale
Paso Robles, CA
American IPA, 7.50% ABV


Avery Maharaja
Boulder, CO
Imperial IPA, 10%-12% ABV

What IPAs would you put on your shortlist?

  • I have tasted about half of the beers on your list, and three of them (Stone, Russian River, and Bear Republic) at the source. It is hard to pick a favorite since all are top-notch but for a daily drinker I would have to go with Lagunitas since, for my taste anyway, it seems the most balanced and comes in 12 oz. bottles. One 500ml Pliny or a 22 oz bottle of the others on an empty stomach and you better reconsider getting behind the wheel.

    Stone, by far, has the best brewery/restaurant

    I’m curious about the Weyerbacher. Is that a single-hop ale? Simcoes can give off a mild cat-pee aroma if used in abundance so I’d be a bit leery about it unless the 9% abv overwhelms it

    Good article on Pliny, btw.
    Bottling has been a boon to fans of that ale. Years ago I would get two growlers. One for me and one for sharing with only my closest friends.

  • World Beer

    Hmm Ten IPA’s That Rock “In the USA”

    Some others

    Brewdog Punk IPA (Scotland)
    Brewdog Hardcore IPA (Scotland)
    Feral Hop Hog (Australia)
    Dogfishead 120 minute (US)

    • Pliny The Awesome

      Obviously the top 3 are not US now, are they? Dogfish is okay… it is now Sculpin or Pliny.

  • I would add Cigar City Jai Alai and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA to your list.


  • Jay

    Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is a good IPA and Norms Raggedy Ass made by Griffin Claw Brewing out of Birmingham Michigan.