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Everything you need to know for IPA Day


Happy IPA Day!

Quick poll: How many of you have read “Hoppy IPA Day!” today? I bet all of you. Well, you won’t find those puns here. Instead, I’m flipping back the pages to spotlight some of the extensive hop coverage we’ve posted over the last year or so. Consider this your one-stop-shop for all-things-hoppy. Here we go:

What’s up with IPA hybrids?
IPAs used to be pretty straightforward: Bready malts with a wash of punchy grapefruit and pine notes. Today—on top of the expanding hop varieties—we’re faced with IPA hybrids. What’s black, white and red all over? IPA hybrids. If you don’t understand that horrible joke, check this out (spoiler alert: the joke still isn’t funny).

How do IPA hybrids compare?
If you love hyper imperial IPAs, don’t expect the same onslaught of bitterness from, say, a Brettanomyces-spiked IPA. Navigate the bizarre waters of those IPA style mash-ups with this handy chart.

Are you tired of the ABV escalation of pale ales and IPAs?
Pale ales have now become “extra pale ales” (read: the low end of IPAs), IPAs are clocking in north of 7.5% ABV (that’s imperial IPA territory) and imperial IPAs bigger than 10% ABV are labeled triple IPAs by some breweries. Exhausting, right? You’ve decided to scale it all back and spend some time discovering the drinkable, sober(ish) world of session IPAs. That’s great, just don’t call them session IPAs.

Starting to feel like you don’t know what an IPA is anymore?
So are we, and we’re expected to know this stuff. The biggest problem—outside of shifting statistics like ABV and IBU—is hop flavor. The BJCP, which sets the standard for styles, is about 5 years behind the evolution of hop varieties. How are you supposed to evaluate an IPA that tastes like gooseberry and white grapes when American IPAs are meant to be defined by citrus and pine? What about trending New Zealand hops varieties? We tackle those important questions here.

Which IPAs are new in 2013 and worth checking out?

Here is one of my favorite new releases. It’s actually an imperial IPA and available just about everywhere.

What’s the best imperial IPA in the world?
Good question. Here’s what our readers have to say.

What’s your favorite IPA trend these days?
Besides the innovative, new hop flavors, I’d have to say fruit IPAs are the best things around right now.

Still confused about IBUs?
You’re not alone. Our man Stan Hieronymus tackles “what it means to be hoppy.”

Need a suggestion for IPA Day?
Check out this lovely session, aka table, IPA, or swing by our reviews section for a whole bunch of excellent IPA suggestions.

Drink up.


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at

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