Life Style

Do You Like Piney, Dank Craft Beer? Then These IPAs Are For You

Stone/Upslope/Founders/Sierra Nevada/iStock/Uproxx

The IPA is the undisputed champion of the American craft beer scene. But the classic, bitterly hoppy IPA, made famous by brands like Firestone Walker and Stone, isn’t for everyone. In fact, the IPA, particularly the West Coast IPA, has a lot of haters right now — folks who are tired of IPAs dominating taps or can’t understand why someone would inflict this kind of bitterness upon their taste buds.

On the flip side, you have IPA loyalists — who have been insisting for the better part of a decade that it’s not simply bitter beer to them. They genuinely find the aromas and flavors of citrus zest, fresh-cut flowers, and notes of sometimes skunky/ occasionally even weed-like Pacific Northwest pine trees alluring. It intrigues and transports them. That’s the flavor profile we’re going to emphasize today.

Primarily found in West Coast IPAs, certain Northwest hop varietals impart massive doses of dank pine flavor into beer. And the true IPA fans dig it. To be clear, these are beers for hop heads who have no fear of bitterness and resin. For the rest of you, a few of these picks might taste like carbonated bong water.

Stone Ruination

Stone

ABV: 8.5%

Average Price: $13.99 for a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

This 8.5 percent double IPA was the first West Coast double IPA, bottled and made available year-round in the entire country when it launched in 2002. It evolved over the years to add dry hopping in 2015. The newest iteration is unfiltered, hazy, and filled with all the fresh-hopped flavors drinkers expect from a bold West Coast IPA.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find aromas of a Christmas tree forest, citrus zest, and sweet malts. The palate is filled with flavors of ripe guava, sweet mango, fresh flowers, and resinous pine. The finish is sweet and fruity with a nice wallop of bitter hops at the end.

Bottom Line:

You’re more likely to find a hazy, unfiltered IPA made in the New England style (rather than the West Coast style). This makes Ruination a unique craft beer drinking experience.

Upslope Spruce Tip

Upslope

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

You definitely know what you’re getting into when you drink this beer. While many of the other IPAs on this list get their pine flavor from selected hops, this beer gets it from actual hand-selected Colorado spruce tips. It’s also loaded with Cascade and Simcoe hops to give it a bright, bold, hop flavor and aroma.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to breathe in the scents of bright citrus, sweet malts, and a healthy dose of pine. The palate is swirling with dried orange peels, subtle cooking spices, floral hops, and bold spruce tips. It all ends with a nice combination of rich malts and bright, spicy pine.

Bottom Line:

While you might enjoy subtle pine flavor in your favorite IPA, this beer is for those who want bold, in-your-face pine flavor. Don’t let that scare you (too much). Somehow, this beer remains well-balanced.

Founders Centennial

Founders

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Centennial IPA touts itself as an IPA based solely on its use of (you guessed it) Centennial hops. For those unaware, Centennial hops were first released in 1990 and have become one of those most popular varieties for IPAs. It’s known for its healthy dose of citrus and pine aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes:

The aromas on the nose are those of lemon, lime, fresh flowers, and resinous pine. Juicy grapefruit, ripe pineapple, orange peels, and soft pine flavors are prevalent when you take a drink. The finish is dry, crisp, and ends with a nice final kick of bitterness.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the most well-rounded beers on this list, in terms of citrus to pine ratio. You’ll get a great deal of resin, but it’s tempered by juicy tangerine and grapefruit.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute

Dogfish Head

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Part of the appeal of Dogfish Head 60 is the fact that while it’s intensely hopped using Northwest hops, it doesn’t have much bitterness. That’s because they continuously hop the beer while it boils for a full 60 minutes. The result is a highly flavorful, subtly sweet, almost indescribable beer with bold notes of citrus and pine.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll be treated to aromas of lemon zest, ripe tangerines, lime juice, and a whole forest of fir trees. On the palate, you’ll find flavors of crisp, bright grapefruit, bready malts, and a hint of herbal, subtly bitter, resinous hops. It ends with a very crisp finish filled with pine and citrus and ends with just a hint of hop bitterness.

Bottom Line:

There’s a reason this has been one of the most popular IPAs in America for decades. It’s unique, delicious, and well suited to pleasing fans of subtle, piney hops.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo

Sierra Nevada

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This “Extra IPA” gets its name because of the use of a “hop torpedo,” a device used by Sierra Nevada (and other breweries) to dry hop its beer. It’s a piece of equipment that extracts oils from the hops. Thus, creating bolder, hoppier, citrus, herbal, and pine bomb IPAs.

Tasting Notes:

Take a moment to give this beer a nice nosing and you’ll find notes of wet grass, ripe lemons, and bright resin. Take a sip and you’ll be greeted with ripe pineapple, juicy mango, lime, and subtle pine. The finish is slightly bitter, dry, and closes with a nice hit of caramel malt sweetness.

Bottom Line:

As potent and bold as this 7.2 percent extra IPA might be, it’s still highly drinkable with low levels of bitterness and a pleasing kick of pine.

Sixpoint Resin

Sixpoint

ABV: 9.1%

Average Price: $13.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Similar to Upslope Spruce Tip IPA, you can be pretty sure you’re going to get your pine fix when you crack open a Sixpoint Resin IPA. This imperial IPA is loaded with Chinook, Centennial, and a slew of other resinous, piney, bold hops.

Tasting Notes:

Spend a few seconds breathing in the aromas of citrus zest, wildflowers, freshly cut grass, and resinous, herbal pine before taking a sip. At this point, you’ll get to enjoy flavors of honey-like malts, dried orange peels, ripe grapefruit, and spruce tips. It all ends in a cacophony of slightly bitter, resinous, floral hops flavor.

Bottom Line:

Even with a name like Resin, this beer is surprisingly complex and well-rounded. Sure, the resin flavors are pronounced, but they work well with ripe citrus and floral hops notes.

Brouwerij West Bounce

Brouwerij West

ABV: 6%

Average Price: $12.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

This no-frills, by-the-book West Coast IPA is exactly what pine fans crave. It’s hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Centennial hops to give it the classic, crisp, resinous, fruity, and citrus flavor West Coast IPA fans have grown to expect.

Tasting Notes:

This highly acclaimed West Coast IPA begins with aromas of crisp pear, citrus zest, and a nice kick of pine. The palate is filled with notes of grapefruit, bright resin, sweet malts, and a nice herbal, subtle floral hop presence. The finish is sweet, fruity, and ends with a slightly bitter bite of hops.

Bottom Line:

There are a lot of West Coast IPAs on the market, but, in our opinion, this is how a West Coast IPA should taste. Pine is up front with citrus and hop bitterness in the background.

Ninkasi Total Domination

Ninkasi

ABV: 6.7%

Average Price: $10.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

With a name like Total Domination, you know this beer brings the heat. This year-round offering was first released back in 2006. Made with 2-Row Pale, Carahell, and Munich malts as well as Amarillo, Summit, and Crystal hops, it’s a real banger of a citrus, floral, resin bomb.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’ll find scents of ripe berries, lemon zest, spruce, and spring grass. Take a sip and immerse your palate in flavors of caramel malts, ripe grapefruit, juniper, and resin. The close is refreshing and subtly bitter.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a fruitier, yet still piney IPA, this is the beer for you. The spruce flavors are complimented by ripe berries, tropical fruits, and citrus.

Russian River Blind Pig IPA

Russian River

ABV: 6.25%

Average Price: $7 for a 500ml bottle

The Beer:

There are few names bigger than Russian River in the American craft beer world. While the Northern California brewery is most known for its Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger beers, its Blind Pig IPA with its hoppy, citrus, and pine tree flavors is its unsung hero.

Tasting Notes:

Before you take a sip, fill your nostrils with the scents of grapefruit, lemon, lime, and a field of Christmas trees. The palate is swirling with more grapefruit, slight caramel maltiness, vibrant floral hops, and a nice kick of resin. It all ends with a nice combination of fir tips and slightly bitter citrus.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to West Coast IPAs, it’s hard to top the resinous, piney flavor of this beer from Russian River. This complex, flavorful brew is definitely for true pine fans.

Lagunitas Super Cluster

Lagunitas

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Lagunitas refers to this beer as a “Citra-hopped mega ale of intergalactic proportions” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s eight percent and massively hopped to be a nice mix of bitterness, citrus, and pine with 2-Row malted barley and a whole slew of Citra hops. It’s a truly colossal beer that lives up to its over-the-top name.

Tasting Notes:

Breathe in aromas of tropical fruits, bright tangerine, lemon zest, and resinous pine. Take a taste and you’ll be met with hints of fresh grapefruit, ripe peaches, bright lime, and fir tips. The finish is dry, slightly bitter, and filled with tart grapefruit.

Bottom Line:

This IPA was brewed with a ridiculous amount of Citra hops. Because of this, the flavor is a refreshing combination of tart citrus and vibrant pine.

As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

Source: Do You Like Piney, Dank Craft Beer? Then These IPAs Are For You

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