When IPAs first emerged in England in the 1820’s, they had a reputation for being a little stronger than the average beer. How things change!
These days, breweries across the U.S. and the world are cranking up the booze to levels once considered absurd. Pick up a 6-pack of Imperial IPAs from your favorite craft crew, and you might only make it through a couple cans before deciding that 7pm is a totally reasonable bedtime.
But, if you want some serious bang for your hoppy buck, you have to seek out the biggest, booziest hopbombs to stock your fridge! To get your started, here are 5 of our favorite high-octane IPAs that you should probably sip instead of chug.
Molotov Heavy Imperial IPA, 17.5% ABV - Evil Twin Brewing, New York, New York
The legendary crew at Evil Twin NYC don’t seem to know the meaning of the word ‘excess’ (just take a look at their uber-decadent Pastry Stouts).
One day they looked at their massively boozy, 13% ABV Molotov Cocktail IIPA and thought “it’s pretty big. But is it big enough?” Apparently the answer was ‘no,’ because they cranked up that bad boy so high you could practically run your car off it.
Evil Twin has only released this monster a handful of times, and knowing them, if they ever bring it back it will be even bigger.
California Barleywine Imperial IPA, 17% ABV - Five Threads Brewing, West Lake Village, California
Don’t let the name fool you - this brew is very much an IPA. But, because the West Coast IPA-style is pretty much synonymous with Golden State craft, the brewers at Five Threads figured that if they made one big enough, they could call it a brand new style!
What’s really remarkable about this brew isn’t the name, it’s the smoothness! Take a sip, and it’s all tangerine and mango flavors with a solid backbone of resinous pine… and almost no booze at all. It’s just Bru-1, Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Eukuanot & Mosaic Hops, all day long, like you’re sipping a typical 5% brew. It probably goes without saying, but if you manage to get your hands on this one, be careful with it!
Sunday Imperial IPA, 12.8% ABV - Martin House Brewing, Fort Worth, Texas
If you plan to drink this brew while watching football on a Sunday, you might want to save it for the night game. Crack open this boozy can right from the first kick-off, and you might be sawing logs by half time.
The brewers at Martin House buried all that booze behind so much Centennial, Cascade, and Hallertau Blanc Hops, it’s easy to forget it’s there and just start chugging. Those flavors of grapefruit and honeyed malts are just too tempting!
Unfortunately, like so many of Martin House’s innovative brews and unusual flavors, if and when they’ll re-release this beast is something of a mystery. (Hint hint, Martin House!)
D.O.P.E. Imperial IPA, 11.7% ABV - Levante Brewing, West Chester, Pennsylvania
D.O.P.E. stands for Doctrine of Phonetic Equivalents. If you want to know what that means, you’ll have to figure it out on your own. Or, head to the Keystone state and stop by one of Levante’s taprooms. Even if you don’t learn anything, you’re bound to have a good time.
Especially if you’re drinking this staggeringly large IPA. The Cryo Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe Hops in this brew create huge aromas of dank melon and ripe orange that totally obscure the massive ABV, so it must be approached with care.
But, each sip goes down so smooth, it’s easy to throw caution to the hoppy wind.
Annihilation Imperial IPA, 11.5% ABV - Anchorage Brewing, Anchorage, Alaska
If you’re at all familiar with Tavour, you already know about Anchorage Brewing. This crew makes some of the most sought after beer to ever hit the app! And, they’re no strangers to seriously boozed-up hopbombs. In fact, we’ve already called them out as one of our favorite breweries for high ABV beers!
To create this one, Head brewer Gabe Fletcher dry-hopped this beast 4 times with 6 different hops! Mosaic, Strata, Sabro, Citra, Galaxy, and Enigma Hops drench your tastebuds in all the tropically fruity, ultra-dank, and bouncing berry flavors you want in a Hazy.
So, the next time you’re craving a little hop-juice, why not reach for something bolder and boozier?! With these 5 beers — and other high ABV hopbombs like them — you can sip slow and still slip into relaxation. Just be careful; with these smooth brews, it’s all too easy to forget what you’re drinking and tip a can back too fast.