Best IPAs

Best India Pale Ales

Fall in Love with IPAs: The Very Best India Pale Ales

India Pale Ales earned their name in the days of the British empire, when brewers used hops to extend the life of beer so it would survive the long sea voyage to reach soldiers stationed in India. Higher alcohol and hop content acts as a natural preservative. Today’s brews have evolved considerably, with American versions containing far more hops than their British forebears.

Complicating things further, brewers have wildly subverted the original recipes, with dark Cascadian IPAs, extra-strong double IPAs and brews that combine specialty ingredients as far-ranging as coffee, rye, lemon, blood orange and nectarine.



Luckily, GAYOT has gotten its hands on the best IPAs on the market, from American-style hop monsters to lighter versions sweetened with malt or fruit—contributing to some of the Health Benefits of Beer.

And if you still can’t get enough, check out our Top 10 Craft Beers for even more reasons to pop open a cold one.

> The selections are presented in alphabetical order.


1. Dogfish Head Flesh & Blood IPA

Dogfish Head Flesh & Blood IPA

Origin: Milton, DE, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA, Blonde Ale
Price: $14 for six-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 7.5%
Brewed by: Dogfish Head





This is a unique IPA that drinks like a fruit beer, balancing resinous hoppiness with zesty fruitiness.

Since its beginning in 1996, Dogfish Head — the first American craft brewery to focus on culinary-inspired beer recipes — has been innovating with fruit and other ingredients not previously used in beer. Flesh and Blood IPA is named for its additions of lemon flesh and blood orange juice, plus orange and lemon peel. The mixture of Warrior, Centennial and an experimental hop so new it doesn’t have a name yet, combine to magnify the natural citrus flavors. This is a unique IPA that drinks like a fruit beer, balancing resinous hoppiness with zesty fruitiness and finishing with a dry, citrus tartness.


2. Elysian Brewing Space Dust IPA

Elysian Brewing Space Dust IPA

Origin: Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $14 for six-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 8.2%
Brewed by: Elysian Brewing Company

This cosmically named IPA indeed sends hop lovers into orbit.





Bittered with the powerful Chinook hops and dry hopped with locally-grown floral Yakima Valley Citra and Amarillo, the beer offers aromas of orange and tangerine with flavors of tropical fruit such as pineapple and mango. The fruity flavors are matched with a slight sweetness obtained from two-row, c-15 and dextra-pils malts, making it an easy drink with a refreshing, dry finish. The eye-catching label depicts Dusty the Space Hop: a cartoon-like hop cone emitting the space dust for which this brew is named.


3. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

Firestone Walker Wookey Jack

Origin: Paso Robles, CA, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $11 for four-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 8.3%
Brewed by: Firestone Walker Brewing Company

This ale offers rich aromas of roasted malt, piney hops and peppery rye.





This unfiltered Cascadian Black IPA allows you to go dark without giving up the hops, as the style marries the flavors of stout with those of a hoppy IPA. Atypical ingredients include malted rye, CaraRye, Midnight Wheat and, according to the brewer, a dash of “Wookey Dust” — we’re not sure what this esoteric component is, but the results taste great. The ale pours a pitch black color with a khaki-hued head and offers rich aromas of roasted malt, piney hops and peppery rye.


4. Founders Centennial IPA

Founders Centennial IPA

Origin: Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $10 for six-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 7.2%
Brewed by: Founders Brewing Co.

The brew that pours a crisp bronze hue with aromas of pine, grapefruit and sweet malt.





Founders Brewing’s best-selling beer, this IPA is so respected that the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) uses it as a benchmark for judging beers using Centennial hops. It pours a crisp bronze hue with aromas of pine, grapefruit and sweet malt. The flavor that follows is a well-balanced mix of tropical fruit and dryness. This beer is so easy drinking that its 7.2% ABV is well hidden and may sneak up on you. Founders is noted for its artistic labels and this one depicting two angels surrounded by hops and barley holding up the Centennial title suggests that this brew is quite heavenly. We have to agree.


5. Four Peaks Hop Knot IPA

Four Peaks Hop Knot IPA

Origin: Tempe, AZ, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $9 for six-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 6.7%
Brewed by: Four Peaks Brewing Company

This beer offers a clean and crisp finish that is bitter without being harsh.

This beer is truly all-American, as it is made only from American malts and American Cascade, Glacier, Magnum, Liberty and Simcoe hops. Its peculiar name alludes to the weaving of these five different hops added at seven separate times during the brewing process. As expected, the aroma is hoppy — with citrus and pine tree along with grapefruit and bready malt — and its appearance is a light amber with yellow hues. Well-balanced and refreshing, this beer offers a clean and crisp finish that is bitter without being harsh.


6. Moody Tongue Sliced Nectarine IPA

Moody Tongue Sliced Nectarine IPA

Origin: Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $10 for four-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 5.9%
Brewed by: Moody Tongue Brewing Company

A very refreshing IPA that should pair well with slow-roasted pork shoulder or a slice of warm peach pie.

A former chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Moody Tongue brewmaster-owner Jared Rouben has built a reputation as a culinary brewer: one who uses a chef’s mindset to highlight flavors and aromatics in balanced beers. Sliced Nectarine IPA finds him combining fresh nectarines with the grapefruit acidity of Chinook hops. It pours a red-orange color and exudes an aroma of the sweet stone fruit. The flavor is more subtle than the nose, and the bready malt sweetness is backed up with citrusy hop bitterness. The final result is a very refreshing IPA that should pair well with slow-roasted pork shoulder or a slice of warm peach pie.


7. Oskar Blues IPA

Oskar Blues IPA

Origin: Lyons, CO, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $9 for six-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 6.43%
Brewed by: Oskar Blues Brewery

This beer has a strong, fresh juiciness backed by a strong malt presence and long-lasting finish.

Oscar Blues is known for producing very hoppy beers, yet this is the first to be labeled as such. What sets this apart from the brewery’s other beers — and other IPAs on the market — is its use of red wheat and five hop varieties: Australian Enigma, which offers flavors of white wine and raspberry; Vic Secret, an unusual hop that imparts earthy aromas along with passion fruit and tropical notes; Ella, which whiffs of anise and floral notes, along with stone fruit flavors; Topaz, which has grassy and piney flavors; and Galaxy, which showcases gentle citrus and passion fruit. The beer has a strong, fresh juiciness backed by a strong malt presence and long-lasting finish. The ABV of 6.43 is likely not a coincidence, as the number 43 happens to be Oscar Blues founder Dale Katchis’s favorite number.


8. Samuel Smith’s India Ale

Samuel Smith's India Ale

Origin: Tadcaster, U.K.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $4.99 for 18 oz.
ABV: 5%
Brewed by: Samuel Smith Old Brewery

While the flavor is hop forward, it doesn’t approach that of its American cousins.

This traditional IPA is 100 percent English. It’s brewed with water from the original well at the Old Tadcaster Brewery, which dates back to 1758; it utilizes English-grown malted barley and hops; and it’s fermented in classic stone Yorkshire squares. At only 5 percent ABV with a 46 IBU count, this brew is quite sessionable and pours an apricot color with an earthy and caramel aroma. While the flavor is hop forward, it doesn’t approach that of its American cousins.


9. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Origin: Chico, CA, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $16 for 12-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 7.2%
Brewed by: Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada is so serious about its full-cone hops, it invented its own patented device…

Sierra Nevada is so serious about its full-cone hops, it invented its own patented device, the Hop Torpedo, to more efficiently extract the volatile hop oils without adding bitterness. This IPA takes its name from the unique dry-hopping technique the brewery uses, maximizing the pine, citrus and herbal aromas that form the beer’s backbone. Beware the bone-dry finish, which will make you want to reach for more.


10. Victory DirtWolf Double IPA

Victory DirtWolf Double IPA

Origin: Downingtown, PA, U.S.A.
Beer type: IPA
Price: $9.99 for four-pack 12 oz.
ABV: 8.7%
Brewed by: Victory Brewing Company

A pungent 8.7 percent ABV brew that’s so flavorful, you might find it hard to put down.

This golden-hued double IPA is brewed with whole-flower American-grown Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops, which bring on a full dose of citrus, pine, grapefruit and pineapple aromas. Don’t let the higher alcohol content sneak up on you: This is a pungent 8.7 percent ABV brew that’s so flavorful, you might find it hard to put down.