New England India Pale Ale is the beer of the year.
Since its introduction in the form of the cult beer Heady Topper, launched by Vermont’s The Alchemist in 2004, the hazy, orange, juicy style of dry-hopped ale known as New England IPA has been embraced by craft brewers around the country. If you haven’t tasted one yet, now’s the time to try—they’re soaring in popularity. Craft brewing’s Brewers Association recently created three new categories to accommodate the style.
Cloudiness in IPAs historically has been seen as a flaw. But with New England style, the haze is intentional. Flaked grains (most often oats) used in the brewing process give off starch and protein, resulting in an opaque beer that catches light and glows like a glass of orange juice. The dissolved particles also create the signature creamy mouthfeel, which delivers bright hoppiness and mouthwatering acidity.
New England IPAs are best served very fresh, ideally within a few weeks of brewing. While big breweries are getting in on the action, for crispness and variety, we found smaller breweries have the best options. Look for cans (which protect the beer from light), keep them chilled, and drink them as soon as possible.
Here, five IPAs to try:
Folksbier Recurring Dreams
The tropical-fruit nose of this superb brew from Brooklyn gives way to smooth-drinking juiciness.
Weldwerks Brewing Co. Juicy Bits
The same color as Orangina, this 6.5% ABV IPA brewed in Greeley, Colorado, has a lemony aroma.
Evil Twin Brewing Ceci N’est Pas A Ne Style Ipa
Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø named this creamy, quenching draught “This Is Not a NE Style IPA” in French.
Fort Hill Brewery Checkmate Chuck
Brewed in Western Massachusetts, this 8% ABV DIPA goes down easy without the heat of a high-gravity beer.
Lamplighter Brewing Co. Birds Of A Feather
Easy-drinking with just a touch of pine-needle hoppiness, this IPA is the quintessential New England style.