Hey, it's another great excuse to line up a pint or three: Thursday, August 2 is the 2nd Annual IPA Day! The hoppy beer day was spawned by "beer evangelists and social media personalities" Ashley Routson (aka the Beer Wench) and Ryan Ross. They say it's "an opportunity for the entire craft beer culture to combine forces and advocate craft beer through increased education and global awareness, [focusing on an] illustrious style [that] represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations — making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer's social voice." Yep.
And coincidentally, a slew of BIG beers recently hit the shelves, which will maximize your IPA Day celebration (or on any other day when you wake up and declare it your own special IPA Day). Let's start with the BIGGEST in this batch: FOUNDERS' DEVIL DANCER, a Triple IPA which drops massive hop bombs on the other so-called hop bombs. It's the equivalent of Spiñal Tap turning it up to 11, only Founders turned it to 12% ABV. It's an overwhelming brew, bursting with citrus and syrupy resin and more than a hint of its potent alcohol. A four-pack runs $18 or so — a BIG price for a BIG beer.
The folks at Stone excel at mega-hopping with a dose of attitude, so it's business as usual with the release of RUINATION TENTH ANNIVERSARY IPA. Their double/Imperial IPA weighs in at 7.7% ABV, but the birthday bottles (celebrating "Ruining Palates for Ten Years") unleash 22 ounces of 10.8% goodness (in effect, another triple IPA), doubling the amount of hops in the regular formula. It's fitting to share one of these bombers in honor of Stone's IPA-crazed ways.
New England Brewing's GANDHI-BOT made its non-violent return to stores last week. The it-only-shows-up-once-a-year double IPA (8.8%) seems a bit murkier than previous batches, but it's still an incredibly tasty brew.
But most assuredly treat yourself to Pretty THINGS' MEADOWLARK IPA. Dann and Martha Paquette, the esteemed "tenant brewers" whose reputation has been built with a series of delectable beers based on a wide variety of singular styles, created the ale to "celebrate the flavor and spirit of American craft brewing" â€” which is the point of IPA Day! Kismet! The beer (7%ABV) is a well-balanced marvel, blending hops from the Pacific Northwest (Citra, Bravo) and Australia (Galaxy) with English and Munich malts (so it's an international IPA too). The beer is best experienced fresh, and it just rolled into your better beer stores. So grab a few, share the wealth, and savor the superb flavor.
And if you can't line up any of those beers, then mix-a-six of some year-round standouts — say, Smuttynose Finestkind, Firestone Walker's Union Jack, Sierra Nevada's Torpedo (there's still some Hoptimum around), Bear Republic's Racer 5, Sixpoint's Resin, and Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid.
Hit ipaday.org for a slew of info: IPA history, a description of styles, and recipes (hop brownies!).