The Top 5 IPAs in the World

Barbara's at the Brewery
Barbara's at the Brewery
Jake Ogle

Here is the Cliffs Notes version of the three sweetest letters in craft brewing: IPA. The Brits, loving themselves some pale ale, would load up a big, slow ship full of the country's favorite liquid, and send it off to that not-so-tiny colony known as India. Problem was, the beer would go bad by the time it got there. So they put that UK ingenuity to work and decided to add some extra alcohol (never a bad idea) and plenty of extra hops (an even better idea) and, voilà! The India Pale Ale was born.

Now it took the American Revolution, and by that we mean the current craft beer revolution sweeping the USA, in which our very own California brewers have unleashed the "West Coast IPA," brimming with multiple kinds of hops, citrus, floral notes and just plain damn delicious. Now we've come full circle with respected Euro-brewers like Mikkeller and Nogne brewing "American-style IPAs." Brilliant, as the Brits would say. We couldn't agree more. So without further ado, here are the five best IPAs in the world, meaning California.

Drake's Aroma Coma
Drake's Aroma Coma
Daniel Drennon

5. Drake's Aroma Coma (San Leandro): The simply great brew crew at Drake's Brewing, one of the older brewing joints in Cali, have been making a very solid Drake's IPA for a long time. But with the current popularity of the citrusy IPAs with a big nose, they have just come out with Aroma Coma. Not surprisingly given their top-of-the-craft status, they knocked it out of the park. It is the current "it beer" in LA, available at only the best beer bars.

Kern River Brewing's Just Outstanding IPA
Kern River Brewing's Just Outstanding IPA
Daniel Drennon

4. Kern River Brewing Just Outstanding IPA (Kernville. Yes. Kernville): A friend brought this IPA to our attention when it first came out by saying he asked for Pliny the Elder at the liquor store. The guy told him he couldn't get Pliny (shocker) but that we would love Kern Just Outstanding. To be honest, we assumed the liquor store clerk was laughing for hours after he sold our buddy a case of the stuff. No one is laughing now. It may be even harder to find in LA than Pliny and the kid from Kern, Kyle Smith, just won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for his Citra Double IPA which was, in our humble opinion, the beer of the year in 2011.

Alesmith IPA
Alesmith IPA
Daniel Drennon

3. Alesmith IPA (San Diego): Alesmith Brewing just does great work. Period. Their IPA is so hopiliciously good it actually made our day when we found it at lunch today. That's a good IPA. Respected website ratebeer.com ranks it #1 in the IPA category. We ain't mad at 'em. Find it. Drink it. Love it.



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