PHOENIX — With how warm it’s been this week, we bet you’ve been looking for a reason to tip back a cold beer and relax.
Enter National IPA Day.
The hoppy beers are celebrated annually on the first Thursday of August. In 2016, that’s Thursday.
Before you get to a list of Arizona’s best-rated IPAs below, we thought we’d give you a few facts about the style that’s become the flagship of the craft beer industry.
IPAs — or India Pale Ales — were invented in the United Kingdom in late 18th or early 19th centuries. British sailors destined for India on trading ships would bring beer with them for both drinking and selling. They developed a favorite, Hodgson’s, but were dismayed when another brewery took it over and began alienating the sailors through shady business.
With both sailors and buyers getting thirsty for their beloved beverage, the powerful East India Company asked another brewery, Allsopp, to create a beer similar to Hodgson’s but using more hops. Several other breweries who were losing other markets followed suit and the IPA was born. It also worked nicely that the beer was better geared for sea voyages because hops are a natural preservative (and taste pretty darn good).
Now that you’re in the know, check out our list of the 10 best Arizona-brewed IPAs below. Just a note: We’re not taking credit for the list. We used the ratings handed out by Beer Advocate users.
No. 10: Ponderosa IPA
The Ponderosa IPA from Prescott Brewing Company is like many on this list, in that it’s an American IPA. These beers rely more on hops than malts to carry the flavor of the beer.
No. 9: Raj IPA
The only English-style IPA on the list, Raj from Four Peaks Brewing in Tempe is a staple in many Arizona bars.
No. 8: Thunder Canyon Thunderhead IPA
The first Tucson-made beer on the list (spoiler alert: not the last!), Thunderhead IPA has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 5.8 percent. Most American IPAs typically have a higher-than-usual alcohol content. For comparison, the ever-popular Bud Light has an ABV of 4.2.
No. 7: Sun Up Trooper IPA
The fourth beer on the list takes us to our fourth city. Sun Up Brewing, located in central Phoenix and owned by a German immigrant, said the Trooper IPA is its best-selling beer.
No. 6: Flagstaff IPA
Another beer, another city! Named for the home of its brewery, Flagstaff IPA is made by Lumberyard Brewing Company in Northern Arizona. It’s also garnered a few local beer awards, as well as two Great American Beer Festival medals in 2009 and 2012.
No. 5: Double Knot
Another Four Peaks entry on the list, but the first American Double IPA. These beers may have the same hoppy flavor, but are a little more intense and come in at a higher ABV. For example, the Double Knot has an ABV of 9.2, meaning more than 9 percent of the beer is pure alcohol. Better call a cab.
No. 4: Count Hopula
Typically only offered around Halloween, San Tan Brewery’s Count Hopula is a Double American IPA like Double Knot, but boasts a blood-red coloring. Are vampires into beer?
No. 3: HopShock IPA
San Tan Brewing must be doing something right to go back-to-back on our list. Their HopShock IPA has an ABV of 7.1.
No. 2: Hop Knot
The final Four Peaks entry on the list, Hop Knot is one of the brewery’s flagship beers. It has an ABV of 6.7.
No. 1: Dragoon IPA
Drum roll please…the state’s top-ranked IPA is made by the Dragoon Brewing Company in Tucson! It has an ABV of 7.3 and gives University of Arizona Wildcats fans another bragging right over Arizona State Sun Devils. But hey, this is beer, so can’t we all just get along?