With so many breweries in the United States there is one style of beer that remains a constant on tap lists everywhere, and that is the IPA. Those pale ale variations that make hops the front and center ingredient, allowing drinkers to taste all the subtleties within this plant. This is a style of beer where the flavor profiles are endless, all because of a small plant added during the boil of the beer. They can be floral, dry, bitter, and have a strong note of citrus. The possibilities are endless due to the amount of varietals there are available. To go along with the amount of hops available, the amount of styles of IPA seem to be as endless, and in Colorado that is the case. So, here are some of the best IPAs available throughout the Mile High State.
First Cast IPA: Elevation Beer Co., Poncha Springs, CO. This is easily the most traditional IPA on the list and it is a beer like this that proves you don’t need to be experimental, because it is very simplistic but very refreshing. A traditional copper color with three different hops including Chinook and Summit, but it is the third hop varietal that makes this beer so unique, and that is the Zythos hops which is a new strain. The Zythos not only adds a hint of citrus but a pine flavor that compliments the bitterness of the other hops. Extremely simplistic, but with a very complex flavor First Cast defines what a traditional IPA should be and is easily one of the best in Colorado.
Nebula Belgian Black Double IPA: Odyssey Beerwerks, Arvada, CO. There is only one word to describe this beer and that is complex, and as far as IPAs are concerned this is one that will be enjoyed by fans of multiple styles of beer. While it is still a hop forward ale with four different hops in the final product, it is much more complex and well rounded. In addition to the four hops, there are also six different types of malts that add a subtle sweetness to balance out the bitterness. To cap it all off, this beer is fermented using a Belgian style yeast strain. The end result? A full flavored ale that has sweetness, a great yeast flavor, subtle citrus, but most importantly a strong hop flavor to remind us that we are in fact drinking an IPA, and not only one of the most unique, but also most flavorful in Colorado.
Farmhouse IPA: Hall Brewing Co., Parker, CO. A farmhouse style IPA from a brewery that does not have a tap room, instead only distributes bombers to local liquor stores, is hands down the most balanced IPA on the list. Slightly darker in color than most traditional IPAs this style brings forward the flavor of the hops, but it does not overpower the beer like in so many others. The malts create a great foundation that provides a subtle sweetness for this beer, and the hops true flavor comes out with each sip. There are hints of floral and citrus flavors with each sip, all of which can be attributed to the hops, but there is very little bitterness that are common for IPAs. Finish it with a very clean aftertaste and this is one of the easiest drinking IPAs, but the most balanced in the area.
Hoptree IIPA: Lone Tree Brewing, Lone Tree, CO. With eleven different hop additions, and a solid malt foundation this is without a doubt the hoppiest beer on the list. With a floral and citrus based aroma it leads into a bright citrus taste that is full of complexities. The malt flavor of the beer is there only as a foundation, but with each sip you taste the hops in various levels. The true flavor is prominent, and in this beer’s case it is mostly citrus. Along with that the bitterness is just as prominent to create balance, and more depth of flavor. This beer does not finish clean at all leaving a bitter aftertaste that fades away quickly making this a beer that should be enjoyed slowly, but that only gives you that much more time to enjoy it. This beer is for the IPA fan who cannot get enough hop flavor, making it not only one of the hoppiest but one of the top IPAs in Colorado.
It is often said that when it comes to craft beer there are no rules, and that is the case with the above list of IPAs. When the same style of beer is made and reinterpreted four totally different ways, you get four equally delicious beers, but all for different reasons. Whether it be a new and unique hop strain, a different yeast strain, balancing the flavors, or pushing the envelope with the amount of hops in the beer the possibilities are endless. Regardless of flavor profile or color IPAs are an extremely popular beer, and with so many available on the market there is one for everyone to enjoy.
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