What is an American IPA?

What is an American IPA?

History of The American IPA

The first modern American craft beer example is generally believed to be Anchor Liberty Ale, first brewed in 1975 and using whole Cascade hops; the style has pushed beyond that original beer, which now tastes more like an American Pale Ale in comparison.

American-made IPAs from earlier eras were not unknown (particularly the well-regarded Ballantine’s IPA, an oak-aged beer using an old English recipe). This style is based on the modern craft beer examples Like: Bell's Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA.

What is an American IPA (West Coast IPA)

What was once the standard-bearer for the IPA style has now become a sub-style on its own. While West Coast IPAs typically describe standard American IPAs in that they are almost always crystal clear, an orangey golden color, and provide piney, resiny and dank hop flavors.

Of course, because of the meteoric rise of New England IPAs, the more old-school American IPA is having to differentiate itself with this catchy new name for itself. The West Coast IPA immediately brings to mind surf, sand and good vibes – and it follows up on it with a bright, clear and inviting pour that still deserves credit for its pioneering spirit in the beer world.

This is the “classic” example of what one would think of when describing an IPA to someone with no prior knowledge of the style. A medium-gold to light amber beer with a healthy amount of white to off-white head, hops are the star of the show – though note that the classic American IPA can also showcase low to medium-low malt aromas of caramel, toast and grain.

According to the BJCP, the American IPA is “a decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hop-forward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.”

Just know that without the American IPA style, all of the other IPA styles would not exist.


Checkout our limited release American IPA West Coast online today!

Back to blog