American craft breweries have been experimenting with the IPA style for years. First the west coast breweries created their signature west coast IPA, an aggressively hopped and bitter India Pale Ale style. Soon brewers were working with a Black IPA, an IPA-style brew with roasted malts that lent a dark and malty element to the brew.
Suffice it to say, the IPA has seen several iterations over the years. The latest is the White IPA or Belgian IPA. These beers tend to be a combination of Belgian-style ales and hoppy IPAs. Some brewers draw inspiration from the Belgian wit while others draw from the Belgian Tripel. Either way, they're adding yeasty notes and banana aromas to a beer that will likely have a high citrus presence due to the hop presence.
We've been noticing that White IPAs were definitely getting some buzz this summer as well. There are a lot of really tasty ones popping up around the country and we think you should try one -- or two. Here are our six top picks for White IPAs for the season.
Chainbreaker White IPA
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon
This Pacific Northwest brewery has been on the cutting edge of brewing since they opened in 1988. So the fact that their in front of the White IPA trend should be no surprise. Their entry into the White IPA realm even won them a silver medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.
A cloudy yellow brew, this IPA has a refreshing citrus flavor and a nice, drinkable character. But just like any good west coast IPA, it has a nice bite as well. Deschutes combined two varieties of hops with a Belgian yeast that lends a bit of banana to the mix. It's a great pairing for crispy fish tacos -- a perfect Pacific Northwest meal.
Harpoon White IPA
Harpoon Brewery, Boston, Massachusetts
Since 1986, the brewers at Harpoon have been crafting amazing brews in their Boston location. Beer drinkers mostly know them for their signature IPA and their UFO Hefeweizen. But they began experimenting with their 100 Barrel Series and eventually whipped up a White IPA.
While it started as a limited release, when the brewery celebrated their 20th anniversary, the brewers made the White IPA a regular part of their lineup. With three types of hops, this beer has notes of orange peel and a bit of coriander thanks to the Belgian wit character of the brew. It's a good beer to have when you want to kick back on a summer afternoon.
Galaxy White IPA
Anchorage Brewing Co., Anchorage, Alaska
A small brewery located in the capital of the 49th U.S. state, Anchorage Brewing is dedicated to barrel fermenting their beers. The brewers goal was to bring old-school brewing styles to a modern brewery and they've certainly been successful in that.
The experimental processes at the brewery led them to making one of the more unique brewing styles. The brewers went with 100% Galaxy hops, an Australian hop which lends a passionfruit flavor. On top of that, the brewers added kumquats, coriander and peppercorns for a spicy but citrusy brew.
Nebraska Brewing Co., Papillion, Nebraska
What started out as a local brewpub has turned into an impressive brewing company, sharing their unique brews across the country. Some of their more unique beers in their portfolio include their reserve series, a collection of extreme beers, like a barley wine and a blonde aged in French oak barrels.
The Hop God is part of their regular lineup but it's also a pretty impressive brew. A combination of a Belgian Tripel with a west coast-style IPA, this is definitely a White IPA style. This particular brew has big tropical citrus flavors combined with a bit of spiciness. It's a great partner for spicy foods.
Terrapin Monk's Revenge
Terrapin Beer Co., Athens, Georgia
The Athens brewery was started by two friends dedicated to amazing craft beer. They wanted to craft beers they couldn't find in the southeast and they've done a great job with that, making some impressive brews for their fans.
The Monk's Revenge, a Belgian IPA, started out as a side project for the brewers in Athens but they liked it so much, they made it a regular spring seasonal release. It tastes a lot like a Belgian Tripel combined with a citrusy IPA. It also has a high alcohol content so Terrapin recommends cellaring this to let that alcohol warmth mellow out a bit.
Riptide White IPA
Heavy Seas Beer, Halethorpe, Maryland
Heavy Seas came to fruition in 2003, a brand from seasoned brewer Hugh Sisson, a man who wanted to create adventurous beers. Because of this, Sisson takes chances with his beer. Their flagship brew is an IPA that definitely has a unique hop character but their White IPA, Riptide has definitely proved its worth.
With a body similar to a Belgian wit and a blend of five hops, this is a really impressive interpretation of the White IPA. The beer is even pumped through a hopback -- a mechanism used to infuse additional hop character to a beer. The result is a fruity, spicy light-colored IPA with orange peel flavors and yeasty notes.