There’s an assumption that IPAs are only meant to be enjoyed during the sweltering summer months. While it’s true enough that West Coast, New England-style, and most other variations are refreshing, crisp, thirst-quenching, and loaded with bitter, floral, or downright dank hops that seem to be made specifically for warm-weather drinking, some IPAs are actually brewed to be imbibed during the winter months. Alongside the likes of porters, stouts, barleywines, and Scotch ales, these classic, hoppy winter IPAs are built to stand up to the cold.
IPAs are arguably the most popular beer style in the U.S.—so when brewers realized that drinkers didn’t want to spend a quarter (or more) of the year not sipping them, they created winter IPAs. Usually slightly higher in alcohol than many of its summery counterparts, the equally (if not more) hoppy suds are often brewed with seasonal flavors as well. We’re talking spices, spruce tips, and anything else that tastes like winter.
So if you’re looking for a respite from barrel-aged brews and indulgent winter beers you’ve been drinking for the last month, here’s a hoppy break. We bring you 10 of the best winter IPAs to drink from now until the spring thaw.
Best Winter IPAs to Drink This Season
1. Five Boroughs Winter IPA
Smack dab in the middle of the congested New York craft brewing world, Five Boroughs stands out from the crowd with bangers like its Winter IPA. This hazy, juicy, tropical fruit-centric beer is brewed with 2-Row, Carared, and Carafa II malts as well as flaked oats and a symphony of hops including Citra, Cascade, Comet, and Simcoe varieties.
[$14.99, 6-pack, drizly.com]Get it
2. New Belgium Accumulation Winter Hazy IPA
One of the most eagerly awaited winter IPAs, New Belgium Accumulation is a hazy, juicy break from snowy winter days. Brewed with Pale malt, wheat, and El Dorado, Mosaic, Strata, and Lotus hops, it’s filled with flavors like bready malts, pineapple, citrus zest, and piney, slightly bitter hops.
[$10.99, 6-pack; drizly.com]Get it
3. Hi-Wire Elated Winter IPA
It might not have the name recognition of Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, but Asheville, North Carolina’s Hi-Wire is crafting some seriously great beers. Its foray into the winter IPA world is Hi-Wire Elated. This 5.5 percent ABV beer is brewed with Michigan Chinook and Idaho 7 hops, giving it a piney, citrus-filled flavor that will make you forget about the weather outside.
[$10, 6-pack; hiwirebrewing.com]Get it
4. Brooklyn Winter IPA
Brooklyn Brewing has given craft beer drinkers an award-winning style for every season. Why shouldn’t they also have an outstanding winter IPA? Brooklyn Winter IPA is potent at 7 percent and brewed with Trident and Simcoe hops. The result is a refreshing winter beer with notes of orange zest, pine trees, and a nice, holiday spice at the finish that rounds everything together.
[$10.99, 6-pack; bevmo.com]Get it
5. Ecliptic Filament Winter IPA
This 7.2 percent seasonal, dry-hopped winter IPA from Ecliptic Brewing is brewed with myriad hops including Strata, Mandarina, Crystal, Bavaria, and Centennial. An added, wintry, holiday twist with the addition of tangerine gives beer an added citrus kick pairing perfectly with its gamut of floral, piney hops.
[$9.99, 6-pack; totalwine.com]Get it
6. Upslope Spruce Tip IPA
If you only drink one winter IPA this year, make it Upslope Spruce Tip IPA. This limited-release 7.5 percent winter IPA brewed with Cascade, Simcoe hops, and American malts gets added, resinous flavor from the addition of actual Colorado-sourced spruce tips. The result is a citrusy pine bomb you’ll be happy to drink all winter.
[$11.49, 6-pack; totalwine.com]Get it
7. Full Sail Wreck The Halls Winter IPA
This 8.5 percent double IPA with the punny title (otherwise nothing hall-wrecking about it) is brewed with Pale and Crystal malts, as well as a crazy amount of Centennial hops. An award-winner, it’s known for bold flavors of caramel malts, pine, citrus, and wintry spices well-suited for winter drinking.
[$9.99, 6-pack; drizly.com]Get it
8. Saint Arnold Texas Winter IPA
If you live somewhere without harsh New England-style winters, the cold season is a different deal. Still pretty chilly but without those piles of snow. Saint Arnold created Texas Winter IPA for these hybrid conditions—a slightly malty, effortlessly hoppy, piney, citrusy IPA brewed with Galaxy, Columbus, Simcoe, and Cascade hops as well as Texas-grown grapefruit.
[$9.49, 6-pack; totalwine.com]Get it
9. Sierra Nevada Celebration
There are few winter IPAs as famous and eagerly anticipated as Sierra Nevada Celebration. This 6.8 percent fresh hop IPA is brewed with ale yeast as well as Caramelized and 2-Row malts. It gets its hoppy, floral bite from the addition of Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops—and is filled with memorable caramel malt, pine, resin, and citrus flavors.
[$11.49, 6-pack; totalwine.com]Get it
10. Troegs Blizzard of Hops
The name pretty much says it all. Here’s a true winter beer but it’s loaded with a generous blizzard of hops. This 6.5 percent seasonal brew is made with ale yeast, Pilsner malt, unmalted wheat, and white wheat—and hopped with El Dorado, Centennial, and Chinook varieties. Among the most well-balanced winter IPAs out there, it has a strong malt backbone that pairs well with notes of pineapple, citrus zest, and resinous, slightly bitter pine.
[$14.99, 6-pack; drizly.com]Get it
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