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10 Beer Experts Tell Us The IPAs They Always Drink

10 Beer Experts Tell Us The IPAs They Always Drink

If you were on a desert island with no immediate hope of rescue and you could only have a few supplies, what would you hope that you had with you? Probably some type of first aid kit, matches, blankets, maybe some food and water and means to make a shelter, right? At the very least a complete EDC kit. What if you also had one beer with you? To add to that, while it’s the only beer on said desert island, it’s also an IPA. Not to be morbid, but if you never get rescued, it might be the last beer you ever drink. Which IPA would you chose?

Clearly, picking just one is no easy task. At least count, there are over 9,000 breweries in the United State alone. You can bet that most (if not all) have at least one IPA (if not more) on their menu. That’s an awful lot of IPAs to choose from, and few people know this as well as the brewers, beer bar owners, and cicerones that make the country’s beer industry what it is today. We reached out to 10 brewers and beer professionals who were kind enough to give their picks for the one IPA they always turn to time and time again (desert island not required).


Reuben’s Brews Crikey IPA

“A multifaceted aroma shifts between notes of orange flesh, spruce, pine, sweet onion and papaya, each fragrance more pleasant than the last. Sticky, pithy bitterness punctuates tangerine and tree bark hop flavors, while the lush, velvety body caresses the tongue with pumpernickel malt sweetness.” – Zach Fowle, head of marketing at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix

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Breakside IPA

“When I first moved to Portland, Oregon, I did not properly acquaint myself with Breakside Brewery at the actual brewery but with a pint of Breakside IPA at a random bar. This beer really impressed me with its clean tropical fruit and pine flavor and aroma from the hops that is supported with a touch of caramel. This beer exists within the duality of being classic and contemporary. This beer is solid and relevant for the past, present, and future.” – Dashawn Agbonze, head brewer at Mastry’s Brewing Co. in St. Pete Beach, Florida

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Two Hearted IPA

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

“Rooted deeply in their community and sharing their craft with beer lovers old and new, Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and specifically Two Hearted Ale, has long been a mainstay on the shelves at (most) Craft Beer Cellar locations. Pouring a clear and radiant orange, with intense aromas of grapefruit as the head forms, Two Hearted is a quintessential American IPA, showcasing bitter, piney notes, with enough citrus juiciness to provide the perfect balance. Named after fishing waters in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Two Hearted is brewed and dry hopped with 100 percent Centennial hops, making it a perfect showcase for this classic ‘C’ hop variety. The hops used for Two Hearted are selected and hand-picked every year during hop harvest, which just adds to the personalization and flair of this ubiquitous beer and keeps me loving it even more.” – Suzanne Schalow, CEO of Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, Massachusetts

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Moonlight Bombay by Boat

“This beer is in the category of those that vie for the ‘one-beer-to-rule-them-all’ crown. A classic West Coast IPA, it has all the markers of the style with none of them dominating or out of balance. Earthy, dank, sharp, resinous, rich–it’s all there and all approachable. In the West Coast style, this is absolutely an apex IPA.” – Kevin Mcgee, president of Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, California

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Cigar City Swordfight

“Cigar City Swordfight is their Jai Alai IPA aged on both Spanish cedar and white oak. Cigar City uses a proprietary vessel called the Spinbot 5000, which allows for the infusion of flavors usually reserved for long term aging into beers in a short amount of time. They use that here to add awesome vanilla oak and spicy cedar notes to the pineapple and citrus hop notes of the base IPA, offering a unique experience that I have yet to match since I first tried this at my first IPA Day over a decade ago.” – James Bruner, certified cicerone and brewing supervisor at Irwindale Brew Yard in Irwindale, California

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Societe The Pupil

“If I could only drink one IPA for the rest of my life, it would be The Pupil by Societe Brewing. It’s mango in a can without being so overly hopped that you get tired of it. There’s a reason it’s one of the highest rated IPAs in America. Guava, other tropical fruits, and citrus as well as a crisp, refreshing, lightly bitter finish makes this a desert island IPA for sure.” – Joe Mashburn, head brewer at Night Shift Brewing in Boston

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Odell IPA

“One IPA for the rest of my life that I don’t make!? Wow, that’s’ a tough one but it might be Odell IPA because it is perfectly balanced and has the freshest hop aromas. Nine different American hops as well as Vienna and Pale malts make this a unique, complex IPA worth celebrating,” – Jan Chodkowski, head brewer and co-owner at Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company in Denver

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Blind Pig

Russian River Blind Pig

“There is no right way to answer this question, but if forced to choose, I would have to go with Blind Pig from Russian River Brewing Company. While many others might go for the more famous brew from RRBC, Blind Pig is my choice for its citrus, pine and general fruity flavors. There is just enough malt and alcohol to balance it all out, with a dry finish asking for another sip.” – Bryan Donaldson, the brewing innovation manager at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California

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Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

“Sierra Nevada Celebration was the first American IPA I ever tasted. It is literally the beer that taught me American beer wasn’t all yellow fizz. It brought me to the homebrew hobby and subsequently the homebrew and brewing industries. So literally a life changing brew for me. Caramel and toasted malts mingle with citrusy Cascade and Centennial hops. And every year I get some, it’s the same as it ever was, and that’s ok by me.” – George Hummel, grain master of My Local Brew Works in Philadelphia

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Dare Mighty Things

Brewing Projekt Dare Might Things

“Regardless of having tried more than 1,500 unique beers, I still choose Brewing Projekt’s Dare Mighty Things IPA as my island beer. The beer is a perfect example of how you get multiple hops to harmonize their flavors together for tropical citrus notes like pineapple, orange, and mango shine through while the hazy body makes it slightly filling.” – Garth Beyer, certified cicerone and owner of Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison, Wisconsin

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