Love 'em or hate 'em, the popularity of India Pale Ales in Southern California cannot be denied, and there are more choices than ever for hop-forward IPAs from Los Angeles breweries. Forget the big names from San Diego, here are some new IPAs (and one classic) from local breweries that deserve to be called “world class."
Three Weavers Brewing - Expatriate IPA
A bright and refreshing ale from L.A.’s newest production brewery, Expatriate showcases modern hop varieties like the tropical Mosaic and lemony El Dorado. The beer is flavorful enough to hold your interest well into the second pint, and light enough to not overpower your palate. You can find Expatriate pouring at beer bars around town, or visit the Three Weavers tasting room now open at its Inglewood brewery. 1031 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, (310) 400-5830, threeweavers.la.
Beachwood Brewing - Citraholic IPA
The Long Beach brewpub keeps pumping out some of the most desired IPAs in Southern California, and its next IPA release is Citraholic IPA -- an intense display of the popular Citra hop variety known for its resinous citrus rind flavors tinged with melon and tropical notes. Bottles go on sale at both Beachwood locations on Tuesday, and a limited quantity of bottles will be distributed to local bottle shops. Like all Beachwood releases, the bottles of Citraholic will fly off the shelves, so keep an eye out. 131 1/2 Main St. Seal Beach, (562) 493-4500; 210 E. 3rd St., Long Beach, (562) 436-4020, beachwoodbbq.com.
El Segundo Brewing Co. - Mayberry IPA
El Segundo Brewing has become one of the most prolific IPA breweries in the region -- at last count it makes nearly a dozen different IPAs, each distinct in flavor and aroma from the others. Brewmaster Rob Croxall is adept at highlighting the individual characteristics of different hop varieties, and Mayberry IPA puts Mosaic hops center stage. The brew’s got big melon and passion fruit aromas and an earthy tropical twang that lingers through the bitter finish. It’s a complex brew that is available in limited quantities - though the brewery has committed to the brand and contracted enough Mosaic hops to make the beer year-round in 2015. 140 Main St., El Segundo, (310) 529-3882, elsegundobrewing.com.
Highland Park Brewery - 1UP IPA
The backroom brewery at the Hermosillo bar on York Boulevard has earned a reputation among L.A.’s beer geeks as one of the most exciting new breweries in the city, and there’s a new IPA on tap at the Highland Park pub: 1UP IPA. Dripping with tropical aromas and stone fruit flavors, 1UP is fueled by a one-two punch of Amarillo and Mosaic hops. And at nearly 8% alcohol it’s one of the stronger beers that the brewery has made. Highland Park Brewery’s beers see only limited distribution to other beer bars, so a trip to York Boulevard is in order to see what the fuss is about. 5125 York Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 739-6459, thehermosillo.com.
Golden Road Brewing - Wolf Among Weeds
With so many new breweries and new beers flooding the taps in Los Angeles it’s easy to overlook some of the older “classics”, and at nearly three years old Wolf Among Weeds is among the veterans of L.A. IPAs (though it did get reformulated in 2012). At 8% alcohol the pungent brew qualifies as a “double IPA,” but the booze is deftly hidden by scads of classic American hop varieties like Chinook (pungent pine), Cascade (that classic grapefruit pith), and Simcoe (earthy and musky). The body is light for the amount of flavor the beer packs, and the finish is bone dry to accentuate the hop punch. 5410 W. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, (213) 373-4677, goldenroad.la/pub.