There is more to IPA than meets the eye. The world’s most popular craft beer style, IPA, grew in in prominence with “American style” IPAs, marked out by their intense citrus and grapefruit hop aromas and flavours. However the nature of experimentation in craft brewing has led to a plethora of sub-styles. Taking IPA’s hop forward characteristics and adding an extra dimension through the addition of fruits, changing the malt or borrowing characteristics from other beer styles.
The constantly evolving diversity of IPA substyles can get a little bewildering. So here is part two of my short guide to some of the most popular substyles. You can check out part one, here.
Hop forward character but at a lower alcohol content. The line between a Session IPA and a Pale Ale can sometimes get blurred but expect these to be hoppier than a Pale Ale with a distinct dry, bitter finish. Founders All Day is becoming a classic of the sub-style.
The Belgians have been brewing with fruit for quite a while so it was inevitable that these two styles should collide. And what kind of fruit is used? Orange and grapefruit really accentuate the hop notes of an IPA but, really, all bets are off on what brewers are willing to try. Beavertown’s Bloody ‘Ell, brewed with blood oranges, is one of the best examples.
A very recent style that has yet to become clearly defined. These are use similar malt and hops to many other IPAs but the use of Belgian yeast adds another dimension. One should expect definite hop notes alongside a clean Belgian-esque dry bitterness and fruity esters characteristic of Belgian ales. Try the excellent Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Take a Belgian Witbier with its wheaty cloudy body and added spice, (traditionally coriander and orange peel), then hop it to the level of an IPA and you have a White IPA. Check out Rascals Yankee White IPA to see what you are missing.
For a look at the pure wheat influence on IPA check out our own collaboration brew with O Brother, Who What Wheat Where for a big hop hit with a spicy wheat character.