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Imperial IPA Reviews

One of the newest beer styles on the map, these hoppy giants honor their English and American IPA kin yet satisfy palates that demand a more intense brew. These beers—synonymous with double, extra and extreme IPAs—are powerfully hopped: Brewers may use any number and variety of the herb, resulting in some versions that smell fruity, some grassy and some sweet. Flavors should go heavy on the hops with a commanding bitterness and, usually, dryness. A malt backbone should help to prop up the hops, but shouldn’t have much grain flavor or sweetness. It’s important to note the difference between imperial IPAs and American barleywines: The latter is maltier, higher-bodied and more alcoholic, and is regarded as a sipping beer rather than a gulping one—that means imperial IPAs, even with their hop strength, still require drinkability.

Pair: Opt for rich foods that will stay on your palate as long as these beers’ hops: Cheesecake, bacon cheeseburgers and creamy smoked cheeses are sure bets.

Glassware: pint glass


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