One sure way to get any beer connoisseur excited is to bring up the topic of a delicious hoppy India Pale Ale (IPA).
An increasingly popular style of IPA is the Imperial IPA, which can have almost twice the hops and alcohol content as a regular IPA. The Imperial IPA started off on the West Coast and its popularity has generated an increase of new Imperial IPA brewers across the country, each one with unique flavor.
Food Republic has created the following list of some of the most popular Imperial IPAs in the country that are a definite must try!
10 Fresh Imperial IPAs To Try Right Now
- Hill Farmstead Brewery: Ephraim
Not many new breweries have earned more immediate praise and success than Hill Farmstead. If you are lucky enough to obtain a growler from the brewery in Greensboro Bend, Vermont, one sip of Ephraim is all you need to experience hop heaven. An incredible 280 Theoretical IBUs (more on IBU measurement here) give this 10.5% Imperial IPA a huge citrus hop bite, but there’s enough malt to provide balance. An experience not to miss.
- Lawson’s Finest Liquids: Double Sunshine IPA
A roadtrip is only fun with multiple stops, so if you’re planning one to Hill Farmstead (or maybe The Alchemist) you need to hit Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren, Vermont, too. Double Sunshine explodes with citrus and tropical hops with dominant pineapple and mango flavors. An excellent malt balance makes this 8% ABV brew extremely drinkable, too.
- Knee Deep Brewing Company: Simtra
A huge beer by any standards, this 10.1% ABV Triple IPA from Knee Deep in Lincoln, CA has an astounding 131 IBU’s of hoppy goodness. Citra and Simcoe hops give it a fruity hop aroma, and lots of malt balance it to perfection. You’ll taste mango, grapefruit and some pineapple. Even for the high ABV, it’s remarkably drinkable.
- Boneyard Beer Company: Hop Venom
Bend, Oregon’s Boneyard remarkably used revived second-hand equipment to start one of the most hop-forward breweries in the country. This double IPA has bite at 8.9% ABV and 80 IBUs, but it’s far more floral than bitter and has a big malt flavor to balance things out. This is a tap-only release, so now’s a perfect time to plan a trip!
- Kern River Brewing Company: Citra Double IPA
A small brewery from an even smaller town: Kernville, the Southern Californian town that Kern River Brewing Company calls home has just 2,000 residents. But they should all be proud of KRBC and Citra Double IPA, possibly the best use of Citra hops yet. It’s a refreshingly fruity imperial IPA with massive pineapple, mango and grapefruit flavor from the hops. There’s very little bitterness to be found and at 8%, it’s one you can get used to drinking, if only it wasn’t so damn hard to find.
- Stone Brewing Company: Enjoy By IPA
Stone certainly takes quality seriously: they regularly buy back products that sit on the shelf for too long. But the Enjoy By IPA series takes freshness to an extreme, naming each beer by the enjoy-by date. Huge citrus and floral hops make this 9.4% dangerously drinkable. The series has actually gotten better with each release; their eighth is due to be enjoyed by July 4th, so hoard them for your party!
- Pipeworks Brewing Company: Citra Ninja
Pipeworks from Chicago made our list of 10 breweries about to blow up in 2013, and they continue to impress with every release. While there are a few hoppy “Ninjas” on Pipeworks lineup (there’s a trend of Ninjas and Unicorns in their releases, who are apparently at war with each other?), this one is hands-down the best. It boasts a big citrus aroma and a taste to match, there’s lots of tropical fruit here like orange, pineapple and even some melon. It’s quite bitter, too. At 9.5%, this Ninja can certainly kick some some ass.
- Toppling Goliath Brewing Company: Sosus
While many IPAs turn to a variety of hops to enhance both aroma and taste, Toppling Goliath from Decorah, Iowa used just one in Sosus: the Mosaic hop. You’re hit with huge tropical hops, some weed and some pine. But the bitterness is low — just a touch of malt makes Sosus extremely drinkable. This brew is all you need to be convinced Mosiac hops will be the next big thing, but as far as we’re concerned, Toppling Goliath is already there.
- Three Floyds Brewing Company: Permanent Funeral
Munster, Indiana’s Three Floyds already have a huge reputation for badass beers, from their Dark Lord Imperial Stout to their incredible Zombie Dust American Pale Ale. Permanent Funeral, a collaborative double IPA with the grindcore band Pig Destroyer, can certainly be added to the list of Three Floyds’ best beers. At 10.5% ABV and 100 IBUs, Permanent Funeral doesn’t mess around. It’s aggressively hopped with lots of citrus, pineapple and resin. Listen to Pig Destroyer while drinking for maximum effect.
- AleWerks Brewing Company: Bitter Valentine
Williamsburg, VA’s “only microbrewery,” AleWerks turns out some of the finest beer in the South, and this double one might be their best. Part of the Brewers’ Choice series, don’t be surprised if Bitter Valentine makes you think you’re drinking a West Coast IPA, thanks to Pacific Northwest hops and sweet malt. Really huge tropical hop flavor with hints of orange and mango, and no overwhelming bitterness. A Bitter Valentine for sure, but one that’s easy to fall in love with.
Some of these brewers are relatively new, yet precise and very particular about the outcome of their ale. Many of these Imperials have a dark color and a thick consistency, a perfect brew for the upcoming cold months of the year. Some of these ales are sold regionally and cannot be found at your local liquor store. Oftentimes, liquor stores are happy to take requests from their customers for new brands. But if you ever come across any of these Ales, be sure to pick up a bottle, 6 pack or 4 pack and give them a try. You will certainly thank yourself!
Julio’s Liquors has an extensive inventory of all types of beer. Whether you’re looking for Imperial IPAs, novelty beers, or local craft brewers, Julio’s has you covered! Visit Julio’s Liquors at Route 9 in Westborough today!
Are you going to step up your beer game and get after some Imperial IPA this season?