Origin: Vermont, USA, 2003ish
History: A modern craft beer style originating in the New England region of the United States. Alchemist Heady Topper is believed to be the original example and inspiration for many other interpretations that grew in popularity in the early to mid-2010s. Brewers are continuing to innovate and evolve the style, with the style trending towards a less bitter presentation to the point of making a mockery of the term “IPA”.
Appearance: Color ranges from straw to yellow, sometimes with an orange hue. Hazy, often opaque, clarity; should not be cloudy or murky. The opacity can add a ‘shine’ to the beer and make the color seem darker. Any visible floating particulates (hop matter, yeast clumps, etc.) are a fault. Medium to rocky meringue white head with high to very high retention.
Aroma: Intense hop aroma, typically with fruity qualities (stone fruit, tropical fruit, and citrus are most commonly present) reflective of newer American and New World hop varieties without being grassy or herbaceous. Clean, neutral malt in the background, potentially with a light bready sweetness without caramel or toast. Absence of any malt character is a fault. Neutral to fruity fermentation character that is well-integrated with the hops. A creamy, buttery, or acidic aroma is inappropriate. Any perceived alcohol character should be restrained and never hot.
Flavor Profile: The hop flavor is high to very high and reflects the same characteristics as the aroma (emphasis on fruit, with ripe tropical fruit, stone fruit, and citrus being most common). The perceived bitterness can be somewhat low to medium-high, often being masked by the body and finish of the beer. The hop character in the aftertaste should not be sharp or harsh. Low to medium malt flavor, generally neutral, sometimes having a bready, grainy, lightly sweet flavor. Noticeable toast or caramel flavors are a flaw. Fermentation character is neutral to fruity, but as with the aroma, supportive of the hops. Off-dry to medium finish. Creamy, starchy, or sugary-sweet flavors are inappropriate, although a high ester level and lower bitterness may give the impression of up to moderate sweetness. A moderate, supportive alcohol character is acceptable but should never be hot or dominating.
Bitterness: 25-60 IBU’s
Commercial Examples: Ommegang Neon Rainbows, Hill Farmstead Susan, Other Half Green Diamonds Double IPA, Tree House Julius, Trillium Congress Street
Recommended Food Pairings: Hawaiian Pork Tenderloin, Goat Blue Cheese, Macha Creme Brulee