These days, it's hard to go into a bar without seeing a long list of IPAs vying for your attention. But one that has been around for a while, and continues to be one of the best, is Dreadnaught IPA from Three Floyds Brewing. Dreadnaught is a huge double IPA that clocks in at 9.5 ABV with 100 IBUs, but despite those impressive and possibly intimidating numbers, it somehow manages to stay balanced, thanks to a huge malt body. It's a double IPA that is still a leader in its class despite more and more intense, hoppy competition.
It's not as easy as you think for a brewer to pack a ton of flavor into a lower alcohol beer. But Daisy Cutter Pale Ale from Half Acre Beer Company in Chicago does just that. Daisy Cutter is a pale ale in IPA clothing — with a bitter but pleasing hop bite jammed into a 5.2% ABV package. This aggressively hopped Pale Ale manages to give off the grapefruit and floral hop notes of a double IPA, but somehow pulls off a light, easy to drink pale ale. A confoundingly complex beer that is a true craft classic.
The warmer it gets outside, the more active many of us are. And the more active many of us are, the bigger thirst we work up. Fat Head's Trail Head Pale Ale — already a silver medal winner at Great American Beer Festival — is ready and waiting for you after your trail ride, or if you are just sitting on the porch waiting for the riders to return home. Brewed with whole flower Simcoe and Citra hops, Trail Head is a hoppy pale ale, but won't dominate your palette with bitterness. Available for the first time in cans, a portion of the proceeds from every pint go directly to supporting the rehab of trails in Cleveland, Ohio parks.
With the large amounts of new breweries opening across the US these days, it's tough to keep tabs on which ones are worth your time. Crooked Stave in Denver, Colorado is more than worthy, and beers like Surette Saison are part of the reason. Surette is a provision saison, meaning that the style of beer was historically brewed with higher alcohol content for longer storage and aging. Surette carries a slightly higher 6.2% ABV, but with the perfect mix of mild herbal spice, tartness and refreshing impact on your palette, you'll hardly notice the alcohol. A ideal treat as the temperature rises outdoors.
When we think about classic Midwestern IPAs, the first thing that comes to mind is the always incredible Two Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This fragrant, delicious IPA is a must have for all hop lovers — and now for the first time is available in 16 oz. cans. The can design features a local artist's illustration from a label that was previously retired when Two Hearted was just a young, wide eyed beer in the late 90's. Who says you can't teach an old beer new tricks?