The world may be changing in unforeseeable ways, but at least one thing remains true: IPAs are still wildly popular, and for good reason.
Last year, we rated dozens and dozens of versions of the craft world’s favorite style, from hop-bomb DIPAs to juiced-up hazies and everything in between. (Check out our list of the best IPAs of 2019 here.) And throughout the first half of 2020, we’ve tasted a fair number of amazing IPAs, too.
Here is the start of our ranking of the best IPAs of 2020, a list we will continue updating throughout the year.
Brewed to benefit hospitality workers who were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, "All Together IPA stands on its own as a nearly flawless example of a hazy IPA gone right," writes Tucker Anders. "It’s super bright and tropical yet balanced with just enough prickly, herbaceous hoppiness to keep it from skewing too sweet. Simply put, this is exactly the kind of beer you’d expect from one of the best brewers in the game."
Pennsylvania-based Abomination Brewing “has ambled from brewery to brewery, tinkering with the many versions of Wandering into the Fog,” writes Jerard Fagerberg, He notes that with the Mosaic variant of this double New England IPA, “ it may have stumbled close to perfection.”
“This beer calls for a striped straw, Tropicana-style,” writes Jerard Fagerberg of this juicy IPA from Wisoncon’s O’so Brewing Company. “What a full-frontal explosion of fruit. The combination of hops used to double dry hop Hop Debacle is more or less foolproof, but it is rarely sensational. Here it feels like a genius stroke, a torrent of juice unleashed on your eager palate.”
Half Acre’s imperialized version of its well-regarded Daisy Cutter kicks everything up a notch, says Tucker Anders. “Fittingly, Double Daisy Cutter is like a turned-up version of the original. It’s boozier, thicker, and fuller, ratcheting up the familiar flavors of its predecessor at a much higher volume, and there is nothing at all wrong with that.”
If you’re looking for a Colorado twist on a New England IPA, look no further than WeldWerks: “WeldWerks builds on an impressive appearance and powerful aroma to create a memorable IPA in a crowded field, pulling some of the best attributes of hazy IPAs and marrying them with the best of Denver IPAs.”
Some IPAs want to bomb your taste buds with sweetness or hops, but not Mood for a Day. Instead, this solid IPA from Nod Hill is just the thing you want to drink all damn day. Writes Jay C. Williams, “While some beers feel like great rewards for tasks like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, Mood for a Day doesn’t feel like a post-chore beer.”
“The best IPAs balance bitter, fruity, and bright hoppiness with sweet, crisp, and clean maltiness. Hi-Wire’s flagship IPA hits the mark across the board,” writes Tucker Anders. “Hi-Pitch Mosaic makes the most of its namesake hop, with a bold aroma of resinous pine, bright berries, tangerine, and some melon.”
A low-cal IPA that gets high marks in just about every respect? Yes, it’s possible. “Say hello to your new everyday beer,” proclaims Jerard Fagerberg. “Light Hearted is not Two Hearted. Nor is it the sensational Double Two Hearted. It doesn’t aspire to be. It’s a backyard sipper that comes in 12-packs for a reason.”
There are many reasons for abstaining from alcohol, but those who choose not to partake shouldn’t be left with watery nonalcoholic options. Hairless Dog knows this, and its NA IPA is anything but water. Judiciously hopped with Simcoe, NA IPA looks and smells like a typical IPA—just without the booze.
Some IPAs are intimidating with their complex hop bills and eye-popping ABV levels. If you want something simpler, turn to Offshoot’s Relax [It's Just a Hazy IPA]. “There’s no point in over-intellectualizing this beer,” writes Jerard Fagerberg. “Turn off your brain and let the simple pleasure of juicy hops override your analytical instincts.”
Just in case you’re looking to round out your lo-call IPA stash, Goose Island’s So-Lo is ready for consideration. “This is a pretty strong entry into the low-calorie IPA category,” writes Tucker Anders. “In fact, it’s in the running for the best low-calorie IPA I’ve had, and certainly one I’ll buy again when calories or ABV are a chief concern.”