Bay Area - Best IPAs of 2015

Hoppy IPA day! Don’t skimp out on celebrating with a hoppy ale. Throw a IPA party. Host a beer sharing with IPAs. Even blind-taste 100+ IPAs with your fellow friends to find out which are the best, or the most bitter.

Talking about hoppy, what’s the story behind hops? A few hundred years ago, the English wanted to ship their beer to India, but without the proper preservatives their beers weren’t making the long and arduous trip –hence the humulus lupulus plant came into play. Nowadays, we’ve bred hundreds of regional strains of the same plants and add them for bittering, aroma, and flavors – where we consume for maximum freshness. Kind of ironic, if you ask me. What’s your favorite?



7. New Bohemia Brewing Whale of an Ale

Santa Cruz, California

Clearly, this ain’t just an IPA. Beautifully brewed with a complex yeast profile and an unfiltered texture.  Off the bat, you can tell it’s got a good balance profile and fairly complex. It’s complexity is rivaled by strength and will take down the fiercest IPA lover – can’t wait to go back and have another go.

6. Alpha Acid Brewing Citra Bro

San Carlos, California

I met Kyle Bozicevic, Head Brewer, at his Ale Arsenal tavern This guy is very impressive, he knows his stuff, does his own brewing, and serves as the awesome pub. This single hop Citra brew is more of a DIPA but the fruit esters area so powerful that I love it – guava, oranges, mango, lemons, etc with almost no bitterness. You either love it or you don’t, bro.

5. Hermitage Brewing Exp 07270

San Jose, California

So experimental hop 07270 is straight out of a science fiction movie. Coming out of a breeding program in the Pacific Northwest, this no-named hop will knock you back into your seat. Highly funky, high on alpha acid gives way to bitter, pine-y, and full of flavor. This one isn’t for the faint of heart but I think what impressed me the most what the fact that this was only ONE hop. It tasted like a handful thrown together. I guess those scientists aren’t to be messed with. This hop should be called “Armageddon."

4. Russian River Brewing Blind Pig IPA

Santa Rosa, California

While most people rave for the Elder Pliny, they seem to forget, forgo, or downright ignore, it’s beautiful and unpretentious sibling, the Blind Pig. Obviously, Vinnie Cilurzo is the man when it comes to IPAs,  having coined the term “DIPA”, but I highly enjoy this beer for its balanced, yet not overpowering, demeanor and the fact that my palette isn’t wrecked every time I drink it. One needs to appreciate the craft, the history, and the legacy this beer started when he was working at Bling Pig Brewing Company in Temecula, before Vinnie became, well, Vinnie.

3. 10 Barrel Brewing Joe IPA (formally known as Sam IPA)

Bend, Oregon

Chris and Jeremy are very down-to-earth from when I interviewed them on their recent brewery acquisition. I haven’t had too many IPAs from Oregon but the northwesteners might have found the the perfect formula of hops – simcoe, amarillo, and mosaic (SAM) – and one that’s ever so popular given the name change. I downed this things in about 30 seconds alongside my chicken burger and thought, “there’s nothing fresher or tastier at this moment.” Then I proceeded to drink another one. That’s just how I feel.

2. Discretion Brewing Uncle Dave’s Rye IPA

Santa Cruz, California

This one hits home both tastefully and emotionally, having recently brewed a Rye IPA myself *chuckles*. I wish I could this was my inspiration but every Rye IPA I’ve tasted and deconstructed turns out so differently that it’s downright hard to compare. Fruity and incredibly malty, there’s actually a lingering pepper taste that makes this one ever-more complex. Really enjoyed it and must keep drinking…

1. Fieldwork Brewing Coconut Milk DIPA

Berkeley, California

Sampled this on tap and feel in love. The alluring coconut aroma is upfront and incredibly tropical. This will literally take you to an island far away, to bask in the sunlight of awesomeness. Apparently 100 lbs of hand toasted coconuts and lots of milk sugar were essential to bring this forward and I’m glad they did it – raising my glass at you, Alex Tweet!

Justin Tung

San Francisco, CA,

Justin Tung is a San Francisco resident, amateur homebrewer, and big beer lover. Often traveling for work grew a natural habit - an obsession - with exploring new regions and beers. The best way to understand a locality? Hang with a local and buy them a beer, hear their stories and the rest is history. This is the golden age of beer revolution and innovation. Fortune rewards the brave.