Want to find the best beers? Check out our favourite British beers, lagers to try and our guide to craft beers here. We also have our best stouts, or for cocktail lovers, we have our best beer cocktails to try.
What is IPA?
IPAS are a broad category of beer that encompass many different styles, from easy-going session brews to boozy DIPAs and piney West Coast numbers.
The origins of IPA, or India Pale Ale, is disputed, but it's thought that they were originally pale ales brewed with more hops and at a higher ABV in order to survive the arduous journey from the UK to India during the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are many different categories of IPA but the following are the most common you'll come across.
- British IPAs will have that bitter hoppiness characteristic of IPAS, but with more of a toasty, caramelly malt base.
- American-style IPAS – which have exploded in popularity in recent years – make the most of the fruity flavours in hops.
- A classic example of the above are West Coast IPAS, beers known for their opulent tropical, pine and citrus notes, clean, crisp body, and vibrant yet well-balanced bitterness.
Other styles you might come across include New England IPAs – hazy, unfiltered, fruity beers – and East Coast IPAS, more malty than West Coast IPAS. Increasingly popular are double or triple IPAS – beers with an even higher hop concentration and alcohol content. These are also known as Imperial IPAS and can reach hefty ABVs, 10% or more is not uncommon.
8 IPAs to try
A lighter Welsh IPA brewed with citrussy American hops and packed with passion fruit, pineapple and mango.
A classic West Coast-style IPA from a forerunner in the USA’s craft beer renaissance. Lagunitas may now have lots of competition but this easy-drinking brew still holds its own, with appealing green hop and malt flavours.
A really delicious IPA with voluptuously fruity, hoppy aromas and a soft, smooth mouthfeel.
Samuel Allsopp was one of the first to brew this now world-famous beer. 200 years later, his ancestor Jamie has made this very modern version of a popular classic. Rich, grassy, light and lingering.
All summery tropical hoppiness, this winningly accessible IPA has a beautifully soft mouthfeel thanks to the addition of oats in the beer.
This crisp, refeshing IPA (previously known as Easy Peeler) packs in the citrus fruit for a light and lovely thirst-quencher.
London’s Eko Brewery makes beer inspired by African traditions and ingredients, and this hazy NEIPA is a homage to a classic African drink, palm wine. Brewed with coconut palm sugar, this is a winningly juicy, fruity affair with tart citrus notes and a rounded sweetness from the palm sugar. At 6.5% ABV it’s quite boozy, but the 440ml can means you can easily split between two people.
Cornish brewery Firebrand make beers inspired by their North Cornwall roots using local spring water, natural ingredients and American hops to create their cult core range. This Thundercloud NEIPA (New England IPA) is typically hazy with a lot more heft than a session beer. The big hoppy, intense flavours are balanced with juicy tropical fruit and at 5.5% abv is more of a sipper than a quaffer, so one for when the nights draw in.