It’s no secret that the IPA has been enjoying its moment in the sun as craft beer has risen in popularity over the years. As beer has evolved, so has the IPA in the U.S. and in a country with such diversity, it’s no surprise that the IPA has taken on regional distinction as craft continues to grow.
One of the more popular styles is the West Coast IPA which means a few things: most notably, West Coast IPAs featured American grown hops with big juicy citric flavors and aromas that bring the bitter with every sip and finishes dry. They’re also characterized by higher ABVs, typically topping 6% in the single IPA category and lack a certain malt balance and sweetness sometimes found in other IPAs. One might think being brewed on the West Coast is a requirement, but the popularity of these hop-bomb beers has spread across the country and even to Europe.
Below are two brews, true to West Coast Style, that we’ll be pouring at Chicago Ale Fest in the “West Coast IPA Tent” in all of their hoppy, juicy, fruity, California-brewed glory.
Stone – Delicious IPA
It’s not a stretch to call Stone’s this IPA a happy little accident. Stone Brewing owner Greg Koch requested a gluten-reduced beer from his small batch team to release locally; Delicious was the result and has since become part of their National, year-round line up. Don’t let the “gluten-reduced” designation fool you, this beer is as bitter and hoppy as you would expect any of Stone’s well-known stable of IPAs to be. Delicious is hopped with El Dorado and Lemondrop to give it a distinct lemon flavor and a big candy, fruit nose. It’s resinous from start to finish and boasts over 7% ABV for a must try for anyone who’s been of Stone’s bitter beers past and present.
Green Flash – Soul Style IPA
Few breweries live up to the West Coast style like Green Flash and their year-round Soul Style IPA is everything great about this San Diego brewery. Bright and tropical, this beer layers Citra, Simcoe and Cascade hops for a distinct mango, pineapple and citrus aroma that brings a softer touch on first taste. Don’t let that softness fool you, as the back end finishes with citrus pith, pine and grapefruit notes with a truly bitter finish. Soul Style is as hop-centric as IPAs come and manages to hide it’s 6.5% ABV well. Pair this one with warm weather and good vibes and you’ll be well on your way to taste enlightenment.
The fifth annual Naperville Ale Fest – Summer Edition will take place on Saturday, July 15 and will feature over 200 unique American craft beers, live music and food from some of the area’s favorite restaurants and food trucks. Situated on the grounds of the Naper Settlement, with downtown Naperville as a backdrop, it is the ideal setting to experience craft beer.
Naperville Ale Fest
Saturday, July 16th