I have sampled a lot of them over the years and was pondering one day exactly what I look for in an IPA style beer and what properties and flavours I like best in them. Now the BJCP Style Guidelines recognized three major IPA classes, being British, American and Imperial. I can’t really say which style I prefer as they all have different properties that I like.
My favourite part of Imperial IPA’s is the bready, biscuity malt profile they present, often with some nice caramel that isn’t as apparent in the other styles, yet the high alcohol means most nights are one and done with these. The lower alcohol IPA’s often showcase the hops a little more and give a nice bitter kick that can be very pleasant to me (especially tangerine and mango flavours and aroma), but sometimes they overpower the malt where pretty much all you can taste is bitter hops and I dislike that out of balance flavour. For British IPA’s it’s often the opposite problem where I am missing that bitter kick in the pants observed in most American IPA’s which is what makes them so unique.
To answer my own question, I would say I like mine with bready malt, with mostly a mango and tangerine hop juiciness with caramel in the middle and finally a somewhat dry piney or herbal grapefruit finish (but not crazy bitter, more like a swift kick in the pants that doesn’t injure you). My current local IPA favourites are Four Winds IPA and Central City IPA (both regular and Imperial) and of course the experimental Juxtapose Brett IPA by Four Winds is incredible but not always available year round. In the USA, Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA, Deschutes Fresh Squeezed, Caldera and Oskar Blues are my go to’s when there isn’t something new I am trying.
What flavours do you prefer in your IPA’s? What is your go to IPA? Please leave a comment below and engage in the discussion.