IPAs are the most popular craft beer style today. However, tart and tangy brews are on the rise. Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, says that “by volume and sales, sours are up 25% or more in each of the last two years.”
Thanks to some of the most innovative craft brewers in the scene, there’s now a hybrid style bridging the gap between hoppy and puckering: the Sour IPA.
Beer fans looking to dip their toes into the tart world can ease into it with Sour IPAs. The style delivers fruity citrus and tropical notes as well as refreshing pine and dank, resinous character IPA drinkers love.
To craft a Sour IPA, brewers often use hops to cut the tart sting that yeasts like Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, and Lactobacillus provide Sour Ales. Dry hopping or late-addition hopping delivers juicy fruit flavors with very little bitterness, and this amplifies the real fruit in Fruited Sours and in many Sour IPAs.
If you or someone you know enjoys fruity IPAs or tangy fruit flavors in general, here are six delicious Sour IPAs to help guide you into sour beer:
What Even is Blue Raspberry Anyway? - Evil Twin Brewing - Queens, NY
Evil Twin founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø is one of the pioneers of Sour IPAs. “We took an IPA recipe, but then did a sour mash and it came out awesome — really brought out a lot of grapefruit notes that played well with the sourness and hops.”
That was back in 2012, and now Evil Twin crafts new Sour IPAs somewhat regularly. What Even Is Blue Raspberry Anyway? is a brew that captures the nostalgic hearts of those who used to love the tongue-turning, blue raspberry candies of the late 1980s and early ‘90s.
Soggy Frog - Aslin Beer Company - Alexandria, VA
Aslin has crafted brews in — by our count — at least 58 different styles! Sour IPAs are one category they’ve not only mastered but built a reputation for, since not many other breweries are making them in the DC Metro Area.
Inspired by the tropical flavors of a piña colada, the brewery created their Soggy Frog Sour IPA with real pineapple, oranges, coconut, and nutmeg. Tangy daiquiri sorbet notes from the hops punctuate every sip. If you’re missing the cocktail bar lately, this is your sour beer gateway!
Plums in Retrograde - Cinderlands Beer Co - Pittsburgh, PA
This Sour IPA is so out of this world, Cinderlands had to make their own name for it: a Tartshake!
The brewers crafted this unique sipper by steeping ginger plum iced tea into Sour Ale wort before fermenting with Kveik yeast. Then, they added zesty ginger juice and re-fermented it on a mountain of plum purée.
Next, they hit it with a touch of Loral Hops for a super subtle honey-tinge. Finally, with a few dashes of lactose and vanilla, this Tarshake becomes as creamy as it is fruit-tastic!
Dragon Fruit Sour IPA - Untitled Art Brewing - Waunakee, WI and Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending - Durham, NC
These two breweries are known for keeping craft drinkers on the edge of their seats. Their Dragon Fruit Sour IPA collaboration is no exception.
This tart brew drips with fresh juice from 2 lbs of real dragon fruit puree per barrel! The brewers added in some citrus zest notes from Wakatu and Citra Hops, along with a dose of sweetness from Huell Melon Hops, and created a tropical oasis waiting in your glass.
It’s not your typical Sour IPA either. The subtle fruity goodness swirls in the prominent Sour Ale character, making for one heck of an invigorating pour, like a dragon fruit lollipop with a hop kiss!
We Bring The Monkey With Us - Interboro Spirits & Ales - Brooklyn, NY and Carton Brewing - Atlantic Highlands, NJ
We Bring The Monkey With Us combines Interboro’s high-ranking IPA prowess with Carton’s original Sour crowd-pleasing skills.
It’s just as much IPA as Sour Ale with a pale-pink haze, pleasant pucker, and smooth finish that indicate hoppy hybrid. The tanginess comes from both passion fruity Wai-iti Hops, peachy Simcoe Hops, and real, white grape-like mulberries.
We’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a NEIPA as much as they do a fruity white wine.
Hypebeast - Trap Door Brewing - Vancouver, WA
These Washington Beer Awards multi-medalists know a thing or two about IPAs and Sour Ales, and they have the hardware to prove it.
They triple dry-hopped this Sour DIPA with the orange-mango inducing combo of Citra and Galaxy Hops before adding ripe passion fruit and creamy lactose.
With so many layers, Hypebeast sips like a NEIPA, Sour Ale, and Milkshake, all seamlessly blended into one brew. It starts out tart and ends ever-so-sweet like a yellow Sour Patch Kid, leaving an unmistakable impression on the palate.
Maybe Sour Ales aren’t for everyone, but with a little coaxing from these Sour IPAs, many newcomers are bound to hop aboard the tartness train.