After I wrote about IPAs in my last Beerguzzler column, three new 22-ounce bombers hit the Treasure Valley. That's no surprise when you consider IPAs are the fastest growing craft beer category, shooting from No. 3 in 2013 to No. 1 in 2014. With that in mind, I'm revisiting IPAs, with an imperial and two single-hop brews.
Knee Deep Brewing Lupulin River Imperial IPA, $6.99-$8.69
A reasonably persistent finger of foam tops this golden brew from Auburn, Calif.'s Knee Deep Brewing. Piney hops mingle with tropical fruit and a hint of sweet malt on the nose. This is a beautifully balanced ale with a cream component to the hop bitterness that colors silky malt and tropical fruit flavors. The finish is clean and dry, lingering nicely. An exceptional, easy drinking brew.
Pelican Brewing Co. Umbrella Single-Hop IPA, $4.99-$5.99
This Oregon Coast brew pours a clear and bright saffron yellow, topped by a quickly collapsing, two-finger head. Resin-laced hops lead off on the nose, backed by sweet fruit and fresh grass. The palate opens with fruity hop flavors and spicy malt, with an unusual-but-intriguing touch of coconut and pizza crust topped with tomato sauce—that tastes much better than it sounds.
Sierra Nevada Harvest Single-Hop IPA, $5.49-$6.99
This is the first in Sierra Nevada's 2015 Harvest series, and there's a local connection: It's brewed with the new Idaho 7 hop varietal. Another golden pour with a one-finger head, the aromas lean toward cracked wheat biscuit, with just a touch of hop bitterness. That changes on the palate, where the hops play against fruity malt flavors. A smooth, well-balanced effort.