Brut IPAs burst onto the craft beer scene early in 2018, inspiring breweries across the country to pour their own versions of the emerging style. Light in color and very drinkable, the concept was born at the hands of Kim Sturdavant, brewmaster at San Francisco’s award-winning Social Kitchen & Brewery.
Borrowing a term from the wine world, brut translates to extra dry — a fitting description. Brut IPAs are made with amyloglucosidase, an enzyme commonly used in brewing to break down sugars derived from malts in big imperial stouts. When added to a traditional IPA recipe, the enzyme aids yeast in consuming sugar during the fermentation process. This creates a very dry finish, usually bulking up the alcohol content along the way.
The brut IPA is a refreshing return to the light-bodied roots of the traditional India Pale Ale. With it, brewers are highlighting tropical, citrusy and fruity hop aromas, resulting in a refreshing, fragrant, Champagne-like beer that is perfect for ringing in the new year. Swap these five brut IPAs into your toasts to 2020.
New Belgium Brewing Co. Brut IPA
The nearly 30-year-old Colorado-based brewery recently released an effervescent brut IPA as the first release in a new “Up Next” rotator series. “The IPA drinker is constantly on the lookout for fresh new flavors and that’s really inspiring for a brewer,” said Ross Koenigs, New Belgium’s research and development brewer. The brewery’s version of a brut IPA weighs in at 6.7 percent ABV and features a combination of fruit and citrus-forward hops like Nelson Sauvin, Huell Melon, Citra, Azzaca and Amarillo.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Brut IPA
At just 25 IBUs, Sierra Nevada nailed their take on the dry-finishing beer style. Taking a more citrusy approach with Comet and Crystal hops, the longtime brewery’s version of a brut IPA features a pleasant pop of citrus that works well as a post-NYE version of a mimosa. Available in 12-ounce bottles at Sierra Nevada accounts across the country, pick up a six-pack (or two).
Ska Moral Panic Brut IPA
The nationwide popularity of brut IPAs has even spread to Durango, Colorado — a mountain town and the home of Ska Brewing. The brewery recently released the Moral Panic Brut IPA — a well-received tropical take on the style. It’s an easy-drinker at only 5.75 ABV, but perhaps the best thing about this beer is it’s available in cans, making it very portable, and easy to cheers with wherever your New Year’s Eve adventures take you.
Drake’s Brewing Co. Brightside Extra Brut IPA
Oakland-based Drake’s Brewing quickly became one of the first craft breweries to rise to the experimental challenge of the brut IPA. Since then, the brewery has released (and kept a running blog about) multiple versions of the style, eventually packaging and releasing the Brightside Extra Brut IPA. The Champagne-esque beer highlights a piney, citrusy hop profile.. “The Brut IPA style lets the hops shine in a wholly unique way,” said Drake’s brewmaster, John Gillooly. At 7 percent ABV, and zero IBUs, this brut IPA is a head-turner.
Sixpoint Brewery Sparkler
Brooklyn-based Sixpoint Brewery is canning and offering up a small batch version of the Sparkler — an extra crisp, extra dry, semi-tart brut IPA that features a light body and a candy-like tropical aroma. It’s refreshing; it’s juicy, it’s easy-drinking, but this highly sought after beer is only available at the brewery’s taproom.