For most beer drinkers, IPA is at least a vague acquaintance. In full India Pale Ale, but no one needs that designation when ordering an iPad on the terrace. IPA is a beer that has plenty of citrus and other fruit aromas, but depending on the version, grass, herbs and even pine are noticeable to the attentive nose. Full in the mouth, nice and bitter in the aftertaste – the popularity of IPA is easy to understand.
This is all thanks to the high dose of hops used in the beer. British brewers from the 18th and 19th centuries used it pale ale after months at sea to arrive in potable condition at the remote and tropical destination. Today, however, it’s all about freshness: the hop flavors must be enjoyed as soon as possible after leaving the brewery. That’s why IPAs are often in cans: the best possible packaging when it comes to preserving the fresh taste of beer.
We owe today’s IPA to American craft brewers who found inspiration in the storied history of the English pale ale, which was prepared for the Indian market to create a hop-driven beer type all on its own. So much flavor, but also quite bitter. At the beginning of this century, The Alchemist brewery from the US state of Vermont came up with an IPA variety that had a very soft and fruity taste. A bit of technique: By applying the hops more towards the end of the brewing process, the emphasis is on the hop flavor and aroma and less on the bitters of the hops. This Vermont or New England style IPA, NEIPA, caught on quickly.
Nowhere does NEIPA taste as good as in New England, the northeastern part of the United States. Enthusiasts have many miles to drive and long lines to purchase fresh, chilled beer from popular breweries such as Tree House, Trillium and Bissell Brothers. If you come across a (fresh) can from one of these breweries in the Netherlands, don’t be put off by the price, but do yourself a favor with a genuine American NEIPA.
A NEIPA is unfiltered and has not only an opaque appearance, but also a velvety mouthfeel. The taste is bursting with juicy fruit, which can only be attributed to hops specially selected for aroma. It can be a nice board game to recognize as many fruits as possible in a good NEIPA. Those who find a ‘regular’ IPA too bitter are sure to be charmed by the often sweeter, yet very hoppy NEIPA.
V serves six Dutch NEIPAs. The selection of beer in the supermarket is growing, but only the specialty store can advise. Drink the beers as fresh as possible, so check the best before and fill in dates when purchasing and consume the beer within a few months – and always pour it into a glass. Preferably of the teku type (a kind of large angular wine glass), or if necessary in a large wine glass, because then this almost warm scented beer with its hazy appearance comes into its own.
Folkingebrew – Roots (8.2%)
DDH NE DIPA is the formula on the label. You know what IPA is by now, the D in front means ‘double’ and that means more malt and more alcohol. The NE stands for New England. And Hedeselskabet means double dry hopped. In other words: during fermentation or storage, the final stages in the production of beer, the beer acquires an additional amount of hop flavor. This Groningen beer is one with muscle. But very beautiful.
€6.25 (44 cl)
Curve Herring – Whaleshark v2 (8%)
Utrecht brewery Kromme Haring does not shy away from the style of beer. In their version of NEIPA, there is also a whole basket of fruit in the aroma and taste, but the beer also has a slightly grassy feel. Underneath all that, it has a powerful body and a pleasant bittersweet finish.
€3.75 (33 cl)
From the region – this weekend (6.6%)
A NEIPA can also be recognized by words such as ‘hazy’ and ‘juicy’ in the name. Van de Streek from Utrecht, in their own words, only make the beer on Mondays, when they are still a little hazy from the weekend. However, this is not a Monday morning beer. Always with amarillo hops, plus another hop that is different in each batch. Fresh and uncomplicated.
€2.79 (33 cl)
Wrench – Crank The Juice (5.5%)
The breweries use a fixed range (‘core range’) and a number of special editions (limited or even made once). The latter is intended to keep the relationship with the clientele somewhat exciting. This Alkmaar hazy IPA is part of the basic range. Lighter than most of its neighbors on this list, Crank The Juice offers a sparkling experience of orange in particular. The bitter edge at the end makes this an adult drink.
€3.89 (44 cl)
Valhalla – Elixir XIII (6.2%)
The Elixir series of Walhalla is an example of a series of special editions. The series now has thirteen pieces. The latest in the series smells lemony, while the beer in the mouth constantly reveals different fruit flavors like a magic bullet. A magical drink from Amsterdam.
€5.05 (44 cl)
Frontal – Double Juice Punch (8.5%)
The fact that beer is now increasingly available in cans should also please lovers of the graphic arts. Because a whopper like this one from Breda certainly offers plenty of space for beautiful designs. The mouth-filling beer flows wonderfully sweetly and is reminiscent of mango and passion fruit. Beer to enjoy in small sips.
€4.38 (44 cl)