What was once considered beer taboo has quite literally become beer royalty. Beer with a bite once resulted in “bitter beer face,” a term reserved for beer that was definitely past its consume by date or that was so hop-forward it made the wrong first impression.
Oh, how times have changed. The once highly-avoided bitterness afforded by a surplus of hops has grown into more than just a cult following; it’s a nationwide trend. The hoppier, the better, some say, as they seek and consume double and even triple hopped brews with enough tartness to turn their mouths inside out.
For those of us still pining for smoother, easier drinking beer, with just a bit of heavier hop flavor, there is a solution. This hallowed middle ground is occupied by fruity IPAs. We’ll talk about what they are and how they’re made and give you three to try right now.
What Is An IPA?
Hops, hops, and yes, even more hops. That’s an IPA. India Pale Ales are hop-forward brews that are bitter, fruity, and earthy. All beer contains hops, but when the hops are added, which hops are added, and of course, how much hops are added varies.
IPAs are aggressively hopped, sometimes adding hops numerous times during the brewing process. IPAs have a strong, hoppy aroma and are usually pale red or copper in color. There are numerous different types of IPAs, including black IPAs, American, English, and Belgian versions.
The problem some drinkers experience with an aggressively hopped IPA is that it can impact drinkability. For those drinkers, the fruity IPA is their redeemer.
What Is a Fruity IPA?
Also called a New England IPA, a juicy IPA, or a hazy IPA, these ales temper their heavy hop-load with sweet, drinkable, juice-like flavor. Although not all IPAs actually contain juice (some do), the flavor is more citrusy, less tart, and more juice-like than dry.
Fruity IPAs are characterized by their haze just as much as their aroma and flavor. While the heavy hops content in an IPA gives them all a slightly cloudy appearance, fruity IPAs are virtually opaque and intentionally so. Fruity IPAs are never filtered, allowing the dank haze of the hops and adjunct grains to remain intact.
The flavor of a fruity IPA is remarkable. Although hops are present, the bitterness isn’t, at least not to the degree of hop bitterness you’d experience in a typical IPA. Instead, the aroma and flavors are tropical. Instead of pine and citrus, you’ll get peach and mango. Instead of a finishing bite, you’ll taste sweetness.
How Are Fruity IPAs Made?
An IPA, but make it sweet. That’s a juicy IPA. The secret is in the boil. Instead of adding hops beginning, middle, end, and occasionally dry hopping as well, the fruity IPA brewer adds hops toward the end of the boil.
Adding hops at the very end of the boil allows the aroma and flavor of the hops to remain intact but cuts the bitterness. You’ll get all the hop flavor, with very little afterbite.
Craft brewers also refrain from filtering the wort. This intentional cloudification creates the iconic haze fruity IPA lovers crave and causes the beer to be less shelf-stable than most. Fruity IPAs usually need constant refrigeration.
What To Expect From a Fruity IPA
If you’re planning to sample a fruity IPA, be prepared for a truly mouth-watering experience. These IPAs are popular for a reason; the hop flavor (minus the bitterness) lets the drinker experience the full hop flavor, which is most often tropical and sweet.
What Color Is a Fruity IPA?
You’ll find most fruity IPAs are straw to light amber in color. It goes without saying you’ll also notice the intense haze when poured in a glass or even through the glass bottle. Most fruity IPAs are notably dense, another reason why they are referred to as “juicy.”
What Does a Fruity IPA Smell Like?
The aroma of a fruity IPA varies depending on the source of the hops. Most notably, you’ll pick up earthy hops, gummy fruit candy, sweet citrus, and tropical fruit.
What Kind of Carbonation Does a Fruity IPA Have?
Tying in with mouthfeel, the fruity IPA has a smooth, silky feel that is rich, velvety, and full.
What Kind of Palate/Body Can You Expect?
Most fruity IPAs are medium-low to medium-high bodied and more drinkable than other IPAs.
What Flavors Show Up in a Fruity IPA?
Flavor is specific to each fruity IPA, but you can expect tropical fruits, slight bitterness, and a distinguishable balance of bitterness and sweetness completely absent from traditional IPAs.
Generally, fruity IPAs are between 6%-10% ABV.
Three Fruity IPAs To Try Right Now
You can enjoy a fruity IPA year-round, although some may argue they’re a definite necessity of summer. Here are three of our absolute favorites that you can sample any month.
- Sloop Brewing Company Juice Bomb. This New England IPA has an ABV of 6.5% and a hazy, golden color that will remind you of an autumn sunset. Low bitterness and classic IPA citrus flavors combine with a surprise splash of tropical aroma and taste to give this beer its name. Full of flavor and easily drinkable, this beer is balanced, not bitter.
- Montauk Juicy IPA. A New England IPA with 6.8% ABV, you’ll get aromatic notes of mango and grapefruit along with spicy white pepper. It’s impossible to miss the sweet, candy-like peach flavor dotted with a hint of mango and orange. Once you try it, it may be impossible not to drink another.
- Frost Beer Works Lush. This double IPA has an 8% ABV but less bitter hop flavor than you’d expect from a double. The addition of hearty ale yeast brings out the aromatics and flavors in the hops while taming the bitterness. The end result is rich, thick, juicy goodness.
At TapRm, our selection of fruity IPAs is ever-evolving. If you see one you love, grab it. Often, our craft brewers provide these brews seasonally or on a limited basis, which means there’s a limited window of availability.
Make A Splash With TapRm
Whether or not you love a good IPA, you’ll do yourself an injustice to pass on a fruity IPA. These beers are made with intentional haze and late hopping to allow the dank, fruity flavors and haze of the hops to step forward while bitterness takes a backseat.
Depending on where you live, it might be hard to find a craft brewer who specializes in making a respectable fruity IPA. The solution is TapRm.
At TapRm, we’re building a better beer infrastructure that connects obsessed craft brewers to passionate beer drinkers. While a microbrewery in California might find it virtually impossible to get their product to a consumer on the east coast, TapRm makes it possible.
Our ever-changing lineup of beverages means that you get to sample the best beers from all across the nation without ever leaving your home, while craft brewers get the exposure they deserve for their immaculate libations.
This summer, make an even bigger splash. Cool off with a fruity IPA and trust TapRm to deliver the very best up-and-coming concoctions from the most skilled brewers.