Craft Beer Experts Reveal The Best IPAs For Fans Of Citrus

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If you weren’t an avid IPA drinker and someone asked you to describe the beer’s flavor, you’d probably say “bitter.” And… maybe not much else. But while that makes sense for those unacquainted with IPAs, we think that’s a fairly narrow look at this complex, flavorful beer style.

Sure, we agree that many IPAs (especially some West Coast IPAs) border on aggressively and sometimes uncomfortably hoppy, dank notes, there are others that feature more nuanced flavors as well. We’re talking about bright floral hints, grassy notes, fresh hay, tropical fruits, and our favorite vibrant, sweet, and sometimes tart citrus flavors. Especially grapefruit, lemon, lime, and tangerine.

Don’t get us wrong, we can throw down an in-your-face bitterly hopped banger with the best of them. But we prefer our IPAs to be more balanced and drinkable, especially in summer.

In order to find the best IPAs for fans of bold, tart citrus flavors, we went to the pros. We asked a few well-known craft beer experts, brewers, and beer professionals to reveal their favorite IPAs for fans of citrus. Keep reading to see their picks!

Rockford HopLust

Rockford HopLust
Rockford

David Ringler, director of happiness at Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs, Wisconsin

ABV: 7.1%

Average Price: $11.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I’m a huge fan of Rockford Brewing Company’s HopLust IPA. They’re a past Great American Beer Fest Brewery of the Year and they hit a home run with this beer. It has a hearty backbone and a blend of big citrus and pine bitterness that begs the next sip.

Trillium Farnsworth Street

Trillium Farnsworth Street
Trillium

Thomas Reese, brewer at Ghost Harbor Brewing Co. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina

ABV: 7.2%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Farnsworth Street from Trillium Brewing in Boston. What flavors make it great? This beer blew me away and really opened my mind to the possibilities of where IPA can go as a style. Bursting with flavors of pineapple, cantaloupe, and mango. Smooth, full-bodied with restrained bitterness lends an orange creamsicle character.

It’s my all-time favorite beer.

Kane High Head

Kane High Head
Kane

Kevin Beachem, head brewer at Taproot Brewing Company in Newport, Rhode Island

ABV: 6.6%

Average Price: $12.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

I’ll have to be biased and rep my old brewery on this one and say Kane Head High. They were the brewery that got me into drinking beer, and I was fortunate enough to work for them for over three years in both the taproom and production side. Their IPAs were just an awesome riff on your classic west coast IPAs but with an east coast twist.

Head High is their flagship and just bursts with flavors of pine resin, Cara orange, ruby red grapefruit and has a nice lingering hop bitterness that keeps you wanting more. It was the IPA that got me into IPAs. We delve more into the juicy New England style IPAs but would love to do more west coast inspired beers like this one down the road.

City Barrel Rad AF

City Barrel Rad AF
City Barrel

Eric Martens, founder and owner at Border Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri

ABV: 6.4%

Average Price: $17 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

There are so many great options for citrus-forward IPAs, but one of my favorites has become Rad AFfrom City Barrel Brewing in Kansas City. It’s a hazy IPA that is light, easy-drinking but still packs a huge citrus-bursting hop character that makes it very enjoyable to drink.

Community Beer Citra Slice

Community Beer Citra Slice
Community Beer

Hector Cavazos, owner and head brewer at Rebel Toad Brewery in Corpus Christi, Texas

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Community Beer Citra Slice. It tastes like lemon and orange peel. This bold, bright, vibrant, 7% ABV IPA is brewed with Citra hops to give it an authentically citrus flavor. It’s only heightened by the addition of lemon and orange peel.

It’s definitely a citrus bomb of an IPA.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed
Deschutes

Kevin Smolar, production and quality lab manager at Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis

ABV: 6.4%

Average Price: $10.50 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. The first time I had this beer it took a lot of convincing for me to believe there wasn’t actually fruit added to it. It has such bright pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, and passionfruit flavors that I crushed the first beer and immediately ordered a second. I’ll always reach for one of these when I have the opportunity.

Lagunitas IPA

Lagunitas IPA
Lagunitas

Kyle Park, director of marketing at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co. in Croydon, Pennsylvania

ABV: 6.2%

Average Price: $9.99 for a six-pack

Why This Beer?

I tend to gravitate towards the classics and Lagunitas IPA checks all the boxes for classic IPAs with bold citrus flavors. They load it up with all the classic ‘C’ hops and continue to show the rest of us what an IPA can and should be. What could be better?

Cigar City White Oak Jai Alai

Cigar City White Oak Jai Alai
Cigar City

Chris Elliott, chief brewing officer at Wild Leap Brew Co. in LaGrange, Georgia

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $10.99 for a four-pack

Why This Beer?

I feel like I have hundreds of favorite IPAs, but one classic regional IPA that is citrusy and juicy, with traditional IPA bitterness and a unique oak character is White Oak Jai Alai by Cigar City. This was a beer that I used to chase the beer truck for when Cigar City was first available. I really love the combo of wood and hops and this one never disappoints.

North Park Hop Fu!

North Park Hop Fu!
North Park

Douglas Hasker, head brewer at Puesto Cerveceria in San Diego

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: $19.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Hop Fu! from North Park Beer Co. The 2022 World Beer Cup Gold Medal winning IPA, Hop Fu! is bursting with bright orange and grapefruit zest underpinned by a solid malt foundation that is anything but a second thought. An old-school West Coast IPA at heart, everything about this IPA is bold and flavorful while remaining eminently drinkable.

Civil Society Fresh

Civil Society Fresh
Civil Society

Marshall Hendrickson co-founder and head of operations at Veza Sur Brewing Co. in Miami

ABV: 6.2%

Average Price: $16.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

Why This Beer?

Civil Society Fresh. It is packed with all of the amazing citrus fruit flavors for IPA lovers. Even before your first sip, the aroma hits you hard with full grapefruit, lemon, and lime aromas. This beer is truly one of my favorites, so delicious.

The Fermentorium Juice Packets

The Fermentorium Juice Packets
The Fermentorium

Chris Wittemann, area sales at Specher Brewing Company in Glendale, Wisconsin

ABV: 6.6%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Juice Packets IPA by The Fermentorium). Every brewery and beer drinker is overly familiar with the Citra hop. Every brewery makes a Citra IPA, juicy IPA, or something similar featuring the Citra hop. What really distinguishes a good IPA is if you can use the hops to create a balanced beer. The citrusy flavors of Juice packets is top notch and brings out a nice piney flavor compliments of the double dry-hopping.

Source: https://uproxx.com/life/craft-beer-ipa-citrus-orange-grapefruit/