In the craft beer world, one style reigns supreme as the true king of beers – the IPA. For years the love affair Americans have had with the style has caused most craft brewers to brew some type of IPA to please their customer base, especially in the northwest.
The broad spectrum of beers in this style has been increasing over the years giving consumers options that haven’t always existed. From traditional English style IPAs to East and West Coast American styles, imperial/double IPAs, Belgian IPAs, and a wide range of everything in between, you can’t hardly go any where without seeing one on draft.
To celebrate this adored style, Ashly Routson (@TheBeerWench) created IPA Day in 2011. After seeing much success, it has returned with this years celebration taking place today, August 1st 2013.
From special events at breweries and bars, to bloggers and social media chatting about the day, there is quite a lot of fun going on across the country. Just check out the official calendar of events.
In honor of IPA Day, I’ve decided to make a list of 8 IPAs from around the Portland metropolitan area that you should be drinking.
Please note these are a few of my favorites from smaller breweries that I wanted to give some love to.
So let’s get started.
8 Portland Metropolitan IPAs You Should Try
Heathen Brewing – Transcend IPA / Transgression IPA
Starting off is two beers from a brewery that is starting to make a name for themselves rapidly. From my town of Vancouver, WA, Heathen Brewing has turned from a small nano brewery on the outskirts of town to a brewery that has the ability to compete with the big boys of the Portland beer scene. Recently they took first place in the Battle of the Brews put on by KOIN Local 6 News for their Transgression IPA, which in my opinion was one of the best beers at the Oregon Brewers Festival. Their Transcend IPA is equally as tasty and can be found year round. Plenty of citrus balances out the bitterness making it almost too easy to drink. Pretty much any of Heathen’s beers are worth a try (although their Son of Malice Double IPA isn’t my favorite, but that’s just a personal preference). Keep an eye on these guys, they are making me proud to say I live in Vancouver.
Breakside Brewery – IPA
Ever since my first experience at Breakside years back, I’ve been in love with pretty much everything brewer Ben Edmunds puts out. Their IPA is what I would consider a fantastic entry level beer in the style for those who can’t take overly bitter beers. It’s got very tropical and citrus fruit flavors that makes it overly drinkable. This is the non hop lovers IPA in my opinion. Another plus is that they just started bottling this beer this year so you can look for it around town.
Gigantic Brewing Company – IPA
Gigantic is one of those breweries who hasn’t been around all that long, but if feels like they have been a mainstay in Portland for a long time. Their only year round beer is their IPA, which they tout as “the best damn IPA in Portland”. While that is debatable, I’m not so sure I could disagree. When you think of what a northwest style IPA should be, Gigantic’s meets the bill. Ben Love and Van Havig have artfully crafted a brew bursting with pine and citrus hops with a big enough caramel and malt backbone to create an incredibly balanced beer. Not only are these guys creating some awesome beers, the artwork on the labels are pure genius.
Ghost Runners Brewery – Hellacious Repeats Double IPA
You might be saying to yourself, “who the heck is Ghost Runners Brewery?” Unless you spend some time up in Vancouver, WA you most likely haven’t heard of these guys as they don’t distribute south of the Washington border. Their Hellacious Repeats is a beer that should get you packing your car for a trip up I-5 for a taste. Their 1 barrel brewery is actually located in a building behind the brewers house and isn’t open to the public, so you’ll have to look for it at places such as Brewed, Brickhouse, and Old Ivy Taproom in the downtown area. I’m really rooting for these guys based on this one beer. Caramel and piney hops with a touch of fruits round out the flavor. With 8.4% ABV, the alcohol is present but not dominant. We went through a full growler here at the Blog About Beer office in no time without hardly realizing it.
Hair of the Dog – Blue Dot Double IPA
Mentioning IPAs in Portland wouldn’t be complete without listing Blue Dot from Hair of the Dog. Definitely the cloudiest beer on the list, Blue Dot is full of body and a host of flavors ranging from grapefruit and pineapple to an almost salty/spicy finish. Just like pretty much all of Hair of the Dogs beers it’s complex and will have you discovering new flavors with every sip. Maybe it’s just me but every time I have Blue Dot it is seems slightly different, although I’ve never been disappointed.
Laurelwood Brewing Co. – Workhorse IPA
A classic northwest IPA, Workhorse has long been a favorite to Portlanders. Pretty much any beer brewed with Amarillo hops makes me happy, and I have a hard time taking the smile off my face when sipping on my old friend. The 80 IBUs are present, but not overwhelming in the flavor. The huge aroma is one of my favorite parts of this beer and will have your nose buried in the glass until the last sip. Fans of Workhorse can also now find it in bottles, which hasn’t always been the case.
Loowit Brewing Company – Shadow Ninja IPA
Ok, another Vancouver brewery made my list. I wasn’t trying to do that, but “the Couve” is brewing some incredible beers. Shadow Ninja IPA so far has been my favorite these guys have produced because it’s just plain good. The hazy orange color glows in a way that draws you in and makes you admire the beauty of it. Citrus and piney hops dual it out with a solid malt backbone to produce one of the best IPAs in the area in terms of drinkability. Loowit is another reason Vancouver is starting to become a beer town worth taking note of.
Hopworks Urban Brewery – Ace of Spades Imperial IPA
It wouldn’t be right to leave Hopworks off the list of IPAs. While I love their standard IPA, their Ace of Spades Imperial IPA has been my favorite of their beers since my first sip of it. With over 100 IBUs and 9.0% ABV, you could definitely call it beastly. In 2009 they took home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Imperial IPA category, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. Just writing about this beer I can already taste the citrus goodness on my tastebuds. It’s only available from June through October so enjoy it while it’s fresh.
There you go. 8 IPAs I suggest that are brewed in the Portland area. Obviously there are many others that could make this list, but these are some of my favorites right now.
What are your favorite Portland area brewed IPAs? (and note, I’m not considering Bend part of the PDX area, otherwise this list would look different.)