Top Ten IPA List (Sort Of)

Tried to take it a little easy this weekend — had a little too much fun at the Rose and Crown Thursday night with Racer Five off the cask. There’s something about the cask that I really love. I didn’t like English pale ales off the cask in England that much, but maybe that’s just because I don’t like English pale ales and not because they were off the cask. Casked American IPAs taste creamier maybe than IPAs in the keg. A cask-conditioned beer is like a bottle conditioned beer (where the carbonation is created inside the bottle by adding sugars to already-fermented beer)– except in a cask. The beer continues to ferment, it isn’t pasteurized normally and doesn’t have CO2 pumped in. Really recommended. I recommended to myself repeatedly Thursday night.

So the weekend didn’t have a ton of great beers in it as I recovered a little. Well, it did have Aroma Coma from Drake’s on Saturday, which is a top IPA for me now. Probably top five, which came up on twitter because of this strange list of top ten American IPAs. Let’s just steal the list and pick it apart a bit, though you can see here that the list comes from a good place — all the members of the list won some sort of award at one of those prestigious competitions. Here it is:

1. Sweetwater IPA – Sweetwater Brewing, Atlanta, GA
2. Bootjack IPA – Icicle Brewing, Leavenworth, WA *
3. Deviant Dale’s IPA – Oskar Blues Brewing, Longmont, CO
4. Elevated IPA, La Cumbre Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM *
5. DRIPA, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren, MI
6. Head Hunter IPA, Fat Head’s Brewery, North Olmsted, OH *
7. Stone IPA – Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
8. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, CA
9. Titan IPA – Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, CO
10. Two Hearted Ale – Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI

What? I’ve had seven of these beers (the three I haven’t tried are marked with an asterisk), and there’s no way that Bell’s Two-Hearted is anything but best or second-best of this group. It was pointed out on twitter that these competitions feature the freshest version of these beers, beers that were specifically brewed for the competition, but still…

There are plenty of good beers in the list, and Sweetwater probably deserves to be near the top with Dale’s, but what about Stone? And Two-Hearted too. And where are Green Flash West Coast IPA and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA? There are some great IPAs missing. I know Drake’s is from San Leandro and is a small-ish local brewery, but I put their seasonal Aroma Coma on that list, near the top. My list right now (it’s always evolving, so I won’t put numbers on it) might look like this:

  • Firestone Walker Double Jack Double IPA (okay, that’s cheating, fine, there goes Pliny the Younger and Elder, and Dogfish Head 90-minute, and even the Tricerahops from Ninkasi)
  • Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA
  • Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
  • Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  • Green Flash West Coast IPA
  • AleSmith IPA
  • Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA
  • Racer 5 IPA (maybe I’m just giddy off the cask still)
  • Ninkasi Total Domination IPA (eight is the new five)
  • Stone IPA
  • Deviant Dale’s IPA (might as well go the full ten, although Sweetwater could go here too)

Okay, so there was a great beer this weekend. And it did make me think out loud, so it’s a deserving Beer of the Weekend: Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA.

About enosarris

I write. About baseball, mostly, but also about the anthropology of sports, travel, cooking and sometimes music. But yeah, baseball mostly.
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1 Response to Top Ten IPA List (Sort Of)

  1. Stone IPA over their Ruination IPA? Bold choice. Ruination is one of my faves. Nice list, though.

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