First of all, big blogger mistake… This is my second go at this post because A) I didn’t save my first one and B) my mouse got stuck on a chord and closed my window. So, here’s your Hoppy National IPA Day v2.0!
I love beer and I love IPAs. Together with my taste-buds and some helpful husband and brother-in-law input, I have come up with a list of hoppy, crisp, delicious brews to try! As always, drink responsibly and plan ahead with a sober driver.
Fresh Squeezed – Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR
I came across Fresh Squeezed on our honeymoon last year when we toured the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Deschutes wins my award for best brew tour thus far and their commitment to sustainability within their organization and community makes their beer (and burgers) taste better! They commit their spent grain to their pub bakery and local farmers, and in turn they purchase beef from those farmers for their pub house burgers. Full circle!
Fresh Squeezed “gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops” (Deschutes Brewery) and is thoroughly enjoyed by myself after a solid day of hiking whether it’s Crater Lake, the Superior Hiking Trail or anywhere in between.
Gunba Imperial IPA – Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO
Colorado brews some seriously good beers and Gunba has to be one of the best. The taste varies each year based on the brewers’ selection of “the most exciting and best available hops from each individual season” (Oskar Blues on Ratebeer.com). Gunba is dangerously good–emphasis on the dangerously, as it boasts 10% abv. The sweet, smooth and crisp taste of the 2015 version will sneak up on you so sip with caution (or reckless abandon!).
Hopvale Organic Ale – Summit Brewing Co, St. Paul, MN
I stumbled upon Hopvale on accident and haven’t looked back since! I enjoy a solid brew but one that’s crafted with care and 100% organic hops, barley and lemon peel is a definite win. The only drawback is the 4-pack price, but obviously when it comes to sustainability and organic quality, I understand the effort taken behind this creation. Head brewer Damian McConn explains the craft behind Hopvale at Summit in this video.
NORTHERN MINNESOTA PICKS
Recenlty moving to Maryland, their craft beer scene doesn’t hold a candle to that of Duluth and the surrounding area (it honestly makes me a little homesick). Fitgers, Castle Danger (Two Harbors), Bent Paddle, Canal Park Brewery, Dubh Linn, Thirsty Pagan (Superior, WI), and so many more make Duluth, Minnesota a stand-out in the best beer communities. The fact that their local breweries have also teamed up with the running community (try the Shamrock Shuffle, Brewhouse Tri, the Beer Run, and Bradtoberfest to start with) makes it even better for yours truly! Here are a few of the faves:
Bent Paddle Brewing Co, Duluth, MN – Golden IPA The Golden IPA at BPBC was a flagship brew and is a solid standing beer. Bent Paddle is fairly new to the craft brew scene but they aren’t afraid of collaboration, and they’re invested in the community as well.
Fitger’s Brewhouse, Duluth, MN – The Mayor and El Nino Both beers boast an unshakable hoppy flavor, but El Nino sets itself apart with an extra bold taste and 7-hop variations. Fitger’s is Duluth’s “original brewery” with 150 years of experience and it shows in each of their brews. (Apricot Wheat is my favorite, followed closely by the Starfire Pale Ale)
Castle Danger Brewery, Two Harbors, MN – Ode IPA and Double Crossing Castle Danger had been on my radar before I worked for Michelle and Lauren at Infinity Massage, but local supports local and Lauren’s hubby is the head brewer so that gave me even more of a reason to love them. Their taproom rocks, their beers rival the best and they’re just plain rad. To celebrate National IPA Day, the taproom has $3 pints of Ode IPA or a tulip of Double Crossing IPA, and growler fills of either will also be on special all day for $8. Swing in tomorrow (8/7) to hear Feeding Leroy play!
Dubh Linn Pub, Duluth, MN – Double Hop IPA Another fairly new addition to the Duluth beer scene, Dubh Linn holds a special place in my heart dating back to before they were open when the boys owned Shark’s Pool Hall. When Dubh’s opened, it quickly became a hot spot and the bar was almost always packed at least three deep. Now so much more than just a bar, their beer stands alone and the Double Hop IPA was the first on my list to try.
These are just a handful to help you get started on National IPA Day 2015 – Join me on Untappd for the skinny on check-ins and best-to-worst brew reviews!
THE EBLING BOYS: Chad (my husband) and his brothers, Nate and Todd, are responsible for most of my “out of the box” beer sampling. They’re also responsible for our first 2 home brews, a rich saison and a thick tripel (that will go down smooth but knock you out if you’re not careful!). I picked their brains this week and this is what they came up with for their favorite IPAs…
Chad’s Pick: Dank and Sticky by Port Brewing, Sculpin (Grapefruit or Habanero) by Ballast Point, and Ode IPA by Castle Danger. “Pliny the Elder is obligatory…incredible, but I feel like and IPA lover would pick that.” He’s right.
Todd’s Pick: Heady topper by the Alchemist, Pliny the Younger by Russian River, Zombie Dust by 3 Floyds, and Double Jack by Firestone Walker. “Most accessible… Sculpin, Two-Hearted, Racer 5, Fresh Squeezed, Hai Alai, Furious, and All Day… Saga too!”
Nate’s Pick: “Anything by Stone,” Sculpin by Ballast Point, Hercules Double IPA by Great Divide Brewing, and his “go-to” Sierra Nevada (Try Hoptimum, Torpedo, Hop Hunter, or any of their Beer Camp collabs)