How many substyles of IPA are there?

At Homebrewcon in Baltimore I heard an interesting discussion of the differences between west coast, east coast and midwest versions of India Pale Ale. In short, the west coast version is pale (no crystal malt) and is basically a hop delivery device. It’s really all about the hops. The east coast version includes crystal and, while hoppy, also emphasizes maltiness. The midwest version is kinda in the middle of those two.

They also briefly touched on a New England style, that is somewhat cloudy and … almost chewy. If I’m remembering this correctly, Lost Rino’s Face Plant IPA came to mind when they were discussing that style.

While visiting Waredaca brewery in Maryland, I talked with the bartender about this, and between us we came up with 12 substyles of IPA.

  • English
  • American
  • West coast
  • Midwest
  • East coast
  • New England
  • Imperial (or double)
  • Black
  • Indian Brown Ale
  • Session IPA
  • Rye, and
  • Belgian

That’s a big list, but we didn’t list some of the 10 mentioned on this page, which also includes …

  • Fruit
  • Wet hopped
  • Wood-aged
  • Coffee, and
  • Eclectic

Then this page adds …

  • White
  • Brettanomyces/ Wild IPA
  • Red, and
  • Spiced

Where does it end?

I hope it doesn’t end. That’s the fantastic thing about homebrewing. Constant innovation brings new tastes and expands our beer horizons!

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