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Deconstruction Of The IPA

I never get tired of trying any and all IPA’s on the market. They come in all shapes and sizes and are one of the only styles that is constantly evolving and spawning new versions of the original British brew. I think it’s important to visit all of the different version because each one has a special something that makes it interesting and unique. I believe this is why IPA still tops the charts as the most drank craft beer style in North America. For instance, as I write this Town Square has 4 different IPA styles on tap and will almost always have a minimum of 2 at any given time.

Let’s take a look at some of the different versions of the IPA, I will try and always use Alberta examples for these in case you want to go out and support your local brewery trying a new to you style! I will perfect that I am going to add the IBU amount in my posts however I am not on board with using this calculation anywhere other than in recipe creating, more on this in a future post.

English IPA

ABV 5% – 7.5% | IBU Range 40 – 60 | AB Commercial Example – Bangalore Torpedo IPA, Two Sergeants

I’ll be honest I couldn’t think of an Alberta brewer making a true English IPA off the top of my head. This style of IPA has fallen out of favour with brewers for more citrus, fruity and juicy style IPAs. These brews will tend to be more malt forward with a malty sweetness and focus on British hops which are more floral and earthier.

West Coast IPA

ABV 5.5% - 7.5%| IBU Range 40 – 70 | AB Commercial Example – Cornerstone IPA, Town Square Brewing or Page Turner, Situation Brewing.

My personal favourite style of IPA, loaded with American, Australian or NZ hops, that give off Citrus, Pine and Fruit flavours. Malt bills are generally a lot lighter and fade into the background of these beers. A noticeable hop bitterness on the front end but fading into dry beautiful hop flavours.

NE Style Hazy IPA

ABV 6% - 9% | IBU 20 – 60 | AB Commercial Example – Megawatt NEIPA, Town Square Brewing or Force Majeure, Annex Ales

Probably the most popular IPA style being brewed right now, some think they are over-hyped flash in the pan however I believe this style will be around forever. Developed in the US on the east coast (hence NE – New England) this beer boasts low IBU’s however more hops are used in this style than any other. You can spot a Hazy from across the room due to its exceptionally opaque body. The term Juicy is synonymous with this style due to the special hopping process that brings out the hop flavour without the bitterness.

Brut IPA

ABV 6% - 8% | IBU 30 – 60 |AB Commercial Examples – BFFF Town Square Brewing/Blind Enthusiasm Brewing or Burbank Series No. 2 Troubled Monk Brewing/Blindman Brewing

The new kid on the block is the Brut IPA. Developed in California this beer is made with a special enzyme that turns unfermentable sugars into fermentable for better lack of explanation. These brews are bone dry and boast a champagne like quality. This style is still developing and hard to find on the market.

The IPA’s based on alcohol percentage

Some IPA’s are solely based on the alcohol, they technically can be any version of an IPA, from the lightest:

Session IPA – 3.5% – 4.9% | AB Commercial Examples – Ready Paler One, Analog Brewing or 9 Mile Session, Dog Island Brewing |

Double IPA – 7.5% - 10% | AB Commercial Examples – Double IPA, Apex Predator Brewing or Sneaky Snake, Snake Lake Brewing |

Triple IPA – 10.1% - 12.9% | AB Commercial Examples – Nerf This! Town Square Brewing/Analog Brewing or Humongous, Apex Predator Brewing |

The IPA’s based on colour

Changing the malt bill to turn your IPA into a specialty IPA is one way to create new and interesting brews. Starting from the lightest:

Red IPA – Sailors Delight – Undercurrent Brewing

Brown IPA – India Brown IPA – Dogfishhead Brewing

Black IPA – In the Bleak Midwinter – Dandy Brewing

The IPA’s based on Yeast

Changing the yeast in beer definitely will change the taste, about 3 years ago white IPAs were all the rage, and a few have stuck around as the market still enjoys this style.

White IPA (Wit Yeast) – Dystopia – Zero Issue Brewing

Belgian IPA (Belgian Yeast) – Belgian Dip – Tool Shed Brewing

Sour IPA (Kettle Soured or Bret) – 2D Sour IPA – Town Square Brewing

Brett IPA – Crossover Brett IPA - Zero Issue Brewing

India Pale Lager – Fitsy IPL – Fitsimmons Brewing

Wrap Up

IPAs will always be around, and it is one style that I always push people to try and get into. I’ll admit it is very difficult to get a new craft beer consumer to try. But you can’t argue with stats that say it is still so popular, if you still aren’t on the IPA train there has never been a better time to jump on and enjoy some of your local breweries flagships and seasonal releases.

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