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Classic American IPAs

Dialing back the hops for a smoother taste


India Pale Ales originated in Britain, designed for export to the Jewel in the Crown. A healthy dose of hops was added as a preservative to protect against the long voyage. The resulting bit of bitterness proved popular. But lately, American brewers have been pushing the envelope when it comes to International Bitterness Units. It can be a bit overwhelming. Here are three ales that harken back to a kinder, gentler, classic IPA style.

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, $2-$2.40

A bright copper tinged pour with a decent head and fine lacing, smooth hops lead off on the nose. That's backed by notes of citrus, pine and sweet bread. Exceptionally smooth on the palate, the mild hops are present throughout, adding a nice hit of bitterness to the finish. Touches of apricot, pine and orange zest add interest. Flat out delicious.

Mother Earth Brew Co. Boo Koo India Pale Ale, $1.60-$1.90

This San Diego brewery is opening a second location in Nampa. Their Boo Koo pours a bright gold with a persistent, creamy white head. The aromas are dominated by resiny hops with some grapefruit coming through as well. Nice, not too bitter hops up front; a sweet malt middle; and a dry finish. What's not to like?

Worthy Brewing IPA, $1.60-$1.90

It's a slightly hazy brass color in the glass with a decent head and a touch of caramel on the nose along with tropical fruit and soft, floral hops. A well balanced brew, it tastes a lot like it smells. You get creamy malt, subtle pine and gritty hops that linger on the finish. Definitely a worthy ale from this Bend-based brewery.