Can you offer a couple of Oregon IPA’s I must try? – Kevin J.
These kinds of questions are always rough to answer, but I’ll give it a shot. The trouble is, IPAs are so variable that opinions invariably vary. But you didn’t ask me to waffle, so here goes.
I personally have three favorites, for different reasons:
- India Pelican Ale from Pelican. As an all-arounder, it’s hard to beat. Lots of sticky, resinous hopping, but it’s bright and not overly heavy. The hoppy aromas and flavors are intense but not overwhelming.
- Double Mountain Vaporizer. A recent phenomenon in Oregon has been the “Summer IPA”–an all-pilsner malt, light-bodied IPA that has all kinds of zesty, refreshing hops. Vaporizer is single-hopped with US Challengers, and it is ideal on a hot day. (Draft only.)
- Fort George Vortex. Sometimes you are looking to be overwhelmed, to have your eyelids pasted back in your skull as a green flame of hop intensity screams down your throat. Vortex is my go-to in those situations.
- Ninkasi does two nice beers, as well. Total Domination is their lively regular IPA and Maiden the Shade is their summer IPA. Terminal Gravity’s venerable IPA is still amazing. And, if you’re looking to go imperial, I’d suggest Hopworks Ace of Spades or Hair of the Dog Blue Dot.
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Yes, this is a tough question as I love IPA’s yet dislike any with Belgian Yeast. Hop Valley has some amazing IPA’s, Widmer Brothers Rotator Series, Deschutes Hop Henge IPA, Terminal Gravity is awesome. Bend Brewing Company has their Hop Head which is very yummy.
I’d add Bridgeport to the Ninkasi option. I’m not an expert though.
I agree whole heartily with the Ninkasi Total Domination recommendation. In my opinion it is the best all around IPA around with a smooth flavor and generous hoppiness and it is becoming easier to find in stores and most bars. If you want to ratchet up the hops a bit more, I’d suggest Hop Valley Alphadelic (also out of Eugene) or Caldera IPA from Bend
Joseph Miller says…
My two favorites in Oregon:
1) Hopworks’ IPA has a nice bite at the onset but has a welcomed lingering floral finish. Available @ both of their Portland locations
2) Leafer Madness from Beer Valley, Ontario, Oregon is more bitter, the bite stronger — sometimes on tap @ the Green Dragon in Portland but also available in select stores.
If you’re an IPA fan also check out Hopworks’ CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale), Beer Valley’s Black Flag Imperial, and to switch it up try Pelican’s Spring seasonal Nestucca ESB
Jesse Martinich says…
I second the vote for Caldera IPA, one of my favorite! Caldera Brewing is based in Ashland though, not Bend. Southern Oregon Brewing Co. in Medford also has a great IPA. It’s got a great flavor and a crisp finish. You will find it a little less hoppy if you compare it to Total Domination or Hop Czar (I think the hoppiest I’ve tried).
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About Ask Oregon Expert Jeff Alworth
Jeff Alworth has been writing about Oregon beer for fifteen years, and his recent work has appeared in Draft and Sunset Magazine. He has been blogging at "Beervana" since 2006. In Spring 2012, Chronicle Books will release The Beer Tasting Toolkit, his beginner's guide to blind tasting. He is currently writing The Beer Bible for Workman Publishing.