The “Next IPA” is, of course, IPA itself. While everyone loves predicting what the next dominant beer style is going to be—“Pilsner! Sour! Pastry stout!”—the industry itself has decided that no matter what the next innovation is that captures the imagination of drinkers everywhere, it will be called “IPA” whether it bears any resemblance at all to the IPAs that have come before it.
It’s understandable, too—that three-letter acronym sells a lot of beer, despite how polarizing it is for some. It has become synonymous with “hops,” which, depending on your point of view, can mean bitter, floral, tropical, citrusy, grassy, oniony, wine-like, and more. As a result of that shorthand use, it’s not surprising that you can find beers in the market like “sour IPA,” “black IPA,” or more recent developments like the ultra-dry and minimal-IBU “brut IPA.”
I’m going to withhold judgment as to whether that’s a good thing—ultimately, the entire concept of beer styles is based in the need of companies to sell you beer, and there’s nothing fixed or real to the definitions that marketers have ascribed to various styles over the past century plus of industrial beer production. Ron Pattinson has expounded on that enough times in our pages to relieve you of any romantic attachment to fixed definitions, no matter how hard the BJCP tries to codify them.