Times are changing for the UK’s beer drinking habits. Long gone are the days of having to choose between Carling and a warm pint of John Smith’s – now is the dawning of the age of all things craft beer, with micro-breweries popping up as quickly as groumet burger joints, creating dozens of different kinds of unusual ales.
The most popular of these ales is undoubtedly the refreshing, versatile IPA. Whether it’s on a beach on a summer’s day, or in a restaurant washing down a steak, the IPA is the perfect accompaniment.
So we thought we’d select some of the best UK brewed IPAs around in one neatly packed article. So what are you waiting for – check them out and see what you’ve tried and what you really need to.
Redchurch Great Eastern India Pale Ale (7.4%)
— Lee Coleman (@Lee_Coleman) October 22, 2013
Redchurch have made a name for themselves as one of the best craft breweries in London, and their IPA, which is arguably their flagship ale, is one of the punchiest, intensely aromatic of its kind out there. With a complex spicy and herbal aroma inviting you in for a sip, it’s almost impossible to have just one of these devilishly strong IPAs. The mixture of hoppy bitterness and a light caramel sweetness to it’s flavour, makes for a great crowd pleaser if you’re drinking with a group of people with varying tastes and palettes.
Cromarty AKA IPA (6.7%)
— 300lbCyclist (@300lbCyclist) October 24, 2014
Cromarty is a brewery which silently works away in the shadow of Scottish craft beer giants Brewdog and Williams Brothers, yet consistently produces some of the most exciting and tasty beers north of the border. Their AKA IPA is just about as pleasant and well balanced beer as you could ever wish to drink, with each flavour deduced from it delicately complementing the other. You will experience grapefruit, lemon and malt all in the space of a few seconds of sipping, swirling around with the signature heady floral swirl that is so prominent in IPAs. An excellent entry point for beginners and a perfect summer session ale for those thirst quenching pints under the sun.
Buxton Axe Edge Double IPA (6.8%)
— BuxtonBrewery (@BuxtonBrewery) November 30, 2014
Although it seems ever changing, Buxton is probably my favourite brewery at the moment. And they also happen to brew two of the best IPAs available right now: the delicious and bold, yet painfully hard to obtain Wyoming Sheep Ranch DIPA and the selection for this segment, the more widely available and equally brilliant Axe Edge IPA – which has, for some time, been the benchmark for craft brewed ales. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get positive feedback to whomever you give the Axe Edge to; it’s quality really does stand apart from most other popular alehouse brews and the Amarillo, Citra and Nelson Sauvin hop combo is a rare aromatic delight to taste and savour.
Beavertown Bloody ‘Ell Blood Orange IPA (7.2%)
— Beerasmus (@beerasmus_) May 29, 2015
For the trendy and hip among you, I present Beavertown’s quirky looking little canned Blood Orange IPA. It’s not style over substance with this beer either, giving off – as you would expect – a strong and inviting orange-tinged aroma that doesn’t hold back on the senses. Its fruity flavour is prominent, making it perfect as a chilled refreshment during these summer months, whilst its bold use of New World hops will sedate you with its strength. Not one you could drink all day, but as a one off treat or experiment, it goes down spectacularly.
Brewdog Punk IPA (5.6%)
— James Reid (@radiojamesreid) April 14, 2015
One of the most omnipresent IPAs in the world right now. You’d be hard pressed to visit a craft ale bar anywhere in the UK that won’t stock the instantly recognisable blue bottled Punk IPA at some point. And its popularity and adoration is more than deserved. With a flavour that’s distinct from the moment you inhale the hoppy aromas, there’s no doubting that Brewdog deliver on their promise of being a unique brewery who play by their own rules, standing out against the waves of samey flavoured beverages. It’s also the lightest and most drinkable beer of all on this list. To back this up I have, on many occasions, sank six or seven of these bad boys before realising they’d even gone down my neck. Believe the hype.
Thornbridge Brewery Jaipur IPA (5.9%)
— DRayMorton (@SoccerStash) April 21, 2015
Thornbridge IPA tastes a hell of a lot stronger than it is. At 5.9% it catches you off-guard with just how intense it feels, but once you adjust it’s smooth sailin’ from then on in with this outstanding no nonsense IPA. It’s a very typical English style IPA that might not quite be en vogue right now with the emergence of more hoppy, American influenced beer styles, but there’s no doubting this is one of the most refreshing, well balanced IPAs for those who like to lean towards a bitter tasting brew.
The Kernel Indian Pale Ale Citra (7.2%)
— Nick Byrne (@nickfullspec) May 6, 2015
This IPA is probably the finest example of how to use a Citra hop, which is known for being intensely grapefruity in flavour. The Kernel is tropical sunshine in a bottle of beer, with the aforementioned grapefruit note being washed over with an accompanying flavour of pineapple, honeydew and lemon which tastes as though it’s been rolled in sugar candy coating. This is all finished off with a pleasant orange bitterness that rounds it off perfectly. For the 7.2% volume it’s very drinkable and refreshing, with a clean, crisp yet complex flavour and a perfect level of carbonation. This is one IPA with flamboyancy, character and a whole tonne of flavour that backs it up. Try it if you get the chance.