india pale ale


Firestone “Union Jack”

98 A+

This West Coast-style IPA has long been one of my favorites. The nose is bright and juicy, loaded with citrus, tropical fruits, a floral bouquet, herbs, and honey-sweet grains.

On the palate, loads of citrus zest up front, with grapefruit juice standing as the focal point of the beer. Tropical fruits follow with reminiscent hints of pineapple. A shallow body of sweetness rises up with raw sugar flavor as pale malts push with support from below. Herbal hops round out the finish with juniper or pine, ending with a lingering flavor of mint leaf. Mouthfeel is creamy at first, developing into a crisp astringency, then leaving with a sustained bitter note.

The hop bill is superb (see below), essentially a short list of my favorite hops. All varieties come together for an amazing, well-rounded flavor with a balanced blend of herbal, citric, and floral characters. For an IPA, the bitterness is quite tame, helping to keep from wrecking the palate for a more efficient drinking experience. This is also slightly more malty than the average IPA, which provides a superb degree of balance in contrast to the bitterness. The flavor profile is very much like its older brother, “Double Jack,” also a remarkable brew. For me, this stands alongside Stone, Odell, and Ballast Point as some of the best IPA’s available year-round. This is a must-try for all you IPA fans. I love this beer. It’s everything a good IPA should be, and I highly recommend it!

Malt: Two-Row, Munich, Cara Pils, Simpson’s Light Crystal

Hops: Warrior, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook


70 IBU

Paso Robles, California


You Rock! 

(by Patswerk

We like brewing beer and handing out presents. So we decided that our 7 year anniversary was the perfect time to combine these things. We created a super limited package for our clients and friends, including 2 home-brewed beers. A nice and smooth porter and one extremely hoppy IPA.
The labels are silkscreened in 3 colors on transparent vinyl stickers, showing the color of the bottle.

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Bridgeport Brewing Hop Czar Imperial IPA

Typically, I love what Bridgeport does. I’ve loved quite a number of their beers, but this Hop Czar just really has no place as a double IPA. It’s got a big old smack of hops, but standing shoulder to the other gods of Oregon brewing’s Double IPAs, yeah, no dice. I’m sorry. If this is the Czar of Hops, I’m throwing a peoples hop-headed revolution.

A lot of breweries have seemed to fall into this trap where they are loading up on hops in the brew, and call it a double or imperial… it is just not the case. There is some closely guarded secret, and few breweries really get that double IPA thing right - and a lot of Oregon brewers do. 

It’s an enjoyable beer, but I don’t feel like the hop experience - which is mostly just a bittering blast of flavor. The beer doesn’t have that fragrance, it doesn’t have that resinous lingering on the glass after its done. It’s just kinda stings your mouth with hops and alcohol and then leaves. 

Worth a try, but major hop heads will probably feel a little underwhelmed.


Sixpoint “Bengali”

87 B+

Bengali is an American IPA, which is available throughout the year. Sixpoint has really strong identity design, and the tall, slender cans add further originality. Aromas release a fruity blend of peach, apricot, and grapefruit. Herbal notes consist of grass, herb, and evergreen. Malt notes come across as toasted bread with sweet hints of caramel.

The palate closely resembles the nose, starting with malty flavors of biscuits, honey, and caramel to establish a light, yet supportive frame. Citrus-flavored hops give a heavy impression of sweet grapefruit pith, blending with an additional hint of dried apricot. Bitterness falls to the back in a citrus character that closely resembles both grapefruit and orange zest. Herbal tendencies follow in a heavy underbelly of grass, earth, and pine oil. The climax is signaled by a touch of spice, then faint tropical notes embellish the aftertaste. Mouthfeel delivers a medium-weight body over uncharacteristically weak carbonation, which despite it’s subtlety, manages to reach a crisp edge with a dry departure.

The combination of proper balance and well-managed bitterness make this fairly drinkable for an IPA. Hops deliver a rather short spectrum where citrus takes the lead, but the combination of flavors is quite refreshing. It’s a bit rough on the edges. Some English character comes through to make this slightly more unique, but I’m not impressed overall. When it comes to this most prevalent of styles, there are simply better options out there. It’s a fine beer, but I don’t necessarily recommend it.


69 IBU

Brooklyn, New York

Omission IPA

Omission IPA is brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon and has been specially crafted to remove gluten. But what’s even more important is that this beer tastes damn good. If you know anyone who has a gluten allergy or intolerance (or simply a craving for a good IPA) I highly recommend this smooth and flavorful IPA with a surprising 6.7% ABV. Plus, it’s fun to hand them the beer and watch their expression when you tell them that it is gluten free.


Lupulin Shift

On April 18th, 1975 Fritz Maytag released the first batch of Liberty Ale. It was revolutionary for it’s time – pale, hoppy, and intense. It was arguably the country’s first India Pale Ale – and it’s an argument you can watch unfold over on Anchor’s blog. Liberty Ale features Cascade hops both in the kettle and the fermenter as a dry hop. Liberty is well balanced. You can taste a healthy toasted malt backbone, notes of marmalade from the yeast, and a nice piney bitterness. But at only 47 IBUs, Liberty looks tame, if not downright docile, by today’s beer standards.

Enter Anchor IPA. First brewed in 2014, Anchor is more what you’d expect in a modern IPA – sticky hops, more alcohol, less balance. It’s six and a half percent alcohol with 65 IBUs. If Liberty Ale was once intense, Anchor IPA would have been nigh undrinkable. It’s slightly darker, a bit denser and sweeter, and much more dank. You can’t taste the yeast or malt as individual players, just an assault of flavor.

Which is better? Last night I would definitely say Liberty Ale. But I was in the mood for something a little lighter with more malt and a crisper finish. Anchor IPA felt too sticky, too heavy. Heavy beer has it’s place, too. In the fall, a beer with more body can help cut through the clouds. But in the summer it just feels icky.


Founders “Centennial”

95 A

This IPA is a available throughout the year, and it’s always a pleasure to have around. Aromas are distinctly floral, with a bright citrus highlight. On the palate, sweet and bitter mix with elegance, and flavors come together with a nice rounded body. Clean citrus meets leafy hops, toasted malts, and a touch of spice. Lots of grapefruit and lemon zest on the high end, and citrus is definitely the dominant force with this one. It never gets too oily, and bitterness is maintained very well. Mouth feel is creamy, easy-going, and super drinkable despite its respectable alcohol.

It’s a straightforward sort of IPA, but perhaps that’s why it’s so good. I for one appreciate the chance to have an isolated hop experience, and I think this a strong strain that can really stand on its own. Floral, herbal, and citric are all there in great proportions. I recommend this to the hop heads, and IPA newbs alike! This is a solid IPA I’ll return to again and again.


65 IBU

Grand Rapids, Michigan


I’m going into my 3rd week out sick. Slowly recuperating from a mountain bike accident that truly could have put the old man in a box…but each day I feel a little more alive. Thankful. First smoke in a while today…lets see how the broken side of my torso handles it…mother in law has left…trying to get back to reading…our sweet dog ‘lily monster’ who drives me batshit crazy occasionally…oiled up my favorite boots, Wolveines, can we end this summer nonsense…nothing better than the pitter patter of my 3 year old son making it to the bathroom at 5am all by himself…good stuff