First thing’s first: IPAs don’t need a national day of recognition. Every day is IPA Day. It’s like declaring Sandwich Day (edit: well, I guess that’s a thing, too). But, I love IPAs, I love drinking IPAs, I love talking about IPAs, and I love writing about IPAs. With the ever-emerging slew of new hop varieties coming out these days, I’d argue that few other beer styles offer as much flavor diversity, and as much fodder for conversation.
Chances are, today you’ll suddenly be struck with a deep, nagging urge to engage with someone about IPAs. So, I put together a little help to get the ideas flowing.
Here are 21 icebreakers to kick-start a hoppy chat on IPA Day:
1.) IPAs are evolving. New hop varieties, heavier late addition hopping, and different malt bills are making them smoother, brighter, and more enjoyable to drink.
2.) Need more proof? Here are six of our favorites to check out.
3.) But IPAs are evolving all over the world, and so are people’s palates. Check out this story about the emergence of the IPA in Spain.
4.) Stateside, IPAs are changing in size, too. Session IPAs are the big summer hit, but isn’t the name session IPA a bit misleading? Here’s a closer look at what makes up a session IPA, and why we should probably call them table IPAs instead.
5.) Brewers are also doing some pretty weird, exciting stuff with the style. Just look at how Trinity is bending the IPA style with its new line of anniversary IPAs—we’ve got tasting notes on all of them.
6.) Speaking of weird IPAs: Over the last five years, we’ve seen the birth of black IPAs, red IPAs, white IPAs, and more. Have a gander at this chart, which shows how they all stack up.
7.) For further explanation, here’s a list of all the crazy IPA variations, with a description of each unique style and readily available examples to scoop up today.
8.) Getting tired of reading about IPAs yet? OK, try these lagers (Tricked you! They’re hoppy lagers, aka India pale lagers, aka IPLs).
9.) Earlier this year, RateBeer released its list of the best 15 imperial IPAs in the world. Go take a look, get angry, write a nasty comment, and then steam over it while drinking an imperial IPA that isn’t on the list.
10.) Since we’re talking about lists, did you hear about homebrewing magazine Zymurgy’s reader-voted list of the 10 best beers in the United States? Guess what? The top eight are IPAs or imperial IPAs. Crazy, right?
11.) But what makes an IPA so awesome? Hops, and single-hop IPAs are a great way to learn how different hop varieties contribute to an IPA’s overall flavor profile. For an incredibly easy lesson, pick up ths Samuel Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed Variety Pack.
12.) Speaking of hop varieties, read up on these 10 hops—classic and new—that every beer drinker should know.
13.) Bonus: Read about these four new(ish) hop varieties popping up in IPAs these days.
14.) Double bonus: These three brand new hop varieties, showcased earlier this year at the Craft Brewers Conference, are going to change the way IPAs taste.
15.) But all of these new hop varieties are making it really difficult for judges to evaluate beers in the American IPA category.
16.) On the topic of hops, which beer ingredient do you think has the potential to lend a wider variety of flavors, hops or malts? I asked and people voted.
17.) [Seinfeld voice:] What’s the deal with hoppiness? [End Seinfeld voice]. DRAFT contributor Stan Hieronymus delves into what it all means in this hoppy think piece.
18.) Everyone says fresh IPAs are best, so what happens when you purposely age them? Well, we’re crazy, and decided to find out. Here are five awesome IPAs (when fresh) that we tasted after cellaring for a year.
19.) Today, you’ll likely run into someone expressing the greatness of Russian River Pliny The Elder or The Alchemist Heady Topper (note: they are great). But don’t get depressed if you haven’t tried them yet. There are other imperial IPAs out there that I think rival those two amazing beers.
Unofficial talking point: Wouldn’t this be great?
Now, head out into the wild and preach the awesomeness of IPAs. Happy IPA Day!