Pliny the Elder wasn’t just a Roman author, naturalist, and philosopher; he created the botanical name for hops, lupus Salictarius, some 1,900+ years ago. On August 6th, National IPA day, we pay homage to the almighty hop plant by raising a glass of the hoppiest beer of them all, India Pale Ale. Orange County is no stranger to beers bursting with fruity, tropical and resinous hops. Most O.C. breweries release special beers, casks and bottles for the day, and you should probably reach for a fresh pint at the source, how Pliny would have wanted. Here’s where to go and what to ask for:
Along the 57 “Hop Highway”
Noble Ale Works – Citra Showers: From the brewery that won the L.A. IPA Fest two years in a row, Noble’s shower series beers have been both educational and delicious. Each release showers your palate with a single hop, and Citra has been the darling of the bunch. Fresh batch released Monday and won’t last long!
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Valiant Brewing Co. – Alpha Overdrive Quad IPA: Like an opium den of hops in a glass, I’m pretty sure this beer will help you achieve a higher level of cosmic consciousness. At 14.3% alcohol by volume and a dumpster full of hops, it sounds like the beer version of a food dare at the OC Fair. Sadly it’s not deep fried and bacon hopped.
Bottle Logic Brewing Co. – Recursion 6.0 IPA: The guys at Bottle Logic like to tinker with recipes. IPA version 6.0 is the freshest! Judging by versions 1.0-5.0, is not to be missed.
RIIP Beer Co. – Dan K IPA: HB’s new nano brewery has been the talk of the town with their unique milkman-style beer delivery service (within HB city limits). Their flagship IPA, Dan K, is absolutely dank and full of tropical Citra hops. The mango tropical notes shine like sunrays through a smoke-filled VW bus. Find them on tap at BT’s Southern BBQ and SeaLegs Wine Bar as they don’t have a tasting room.
Beach City Brewery – Crimson Typhoon: Although not technically an IPA, I can assure you Beach City’s Imperial Red Ale is packed solid with juicy, resinous hops, matched with a candy-like malt backbone to balance the typhoon out, if that’s possible.
Along the 55
Tustin Brewing Co. – Immediate Consumption IPA: Tustin’s brewer Jarrod Larsen brewed this award-winning homebrew recipe with Ryan Holt for the Great American Beer Festival Pro Am competition. It’s more of a northwest-style ale with plenty of malt backbone, but fear not, Immediate Consumption is a mere serving suggestion, and hopefully lasts until GABF late September.
Barley Forge – The Orange Curtain IPA: Brewer Kevin Buckley’s career has crossed paths with some of the best IPA producers in the world, so it’s no surprise that Barley Forge’s Orange Curtain IPA wins my hop-filled heart. The beer explores the citrus/pine side of India Pale Ale; it’s refreshing, crisp and a bit old school. I like it!
Down South in San Clemente
Artifex Brewing Co. – No Name IPA: “At least it’s not a hop-pun” IPA! No Name thankfully stands up to the blank birth certificate, erupting with fresh hop aroma and smooth clean bitter finish.
Pizza Port San Clemente – Lono Mango IPA: Head brewer Trevor’s recipe, Lono has a touch of mango floating on Pizza Port’s award-winning IPA style. Once it’s on, get it quick as it’s a local’s favorite.
Left Coast Brewing Co. – Trestles IPA: A true IPA classic! Rumor has it Trestles will be in cans soon, which means I’ll pack a few for the golf course, a local hike and perhaps at the beach with a super-secret koozie. Shhh.
*Look for the Artifex, Pizza Port, Left Coast collaboration brew, made special for the sixth annual Brew HaHa on September 12, 2016