Five on Five: India Pale Ale

IPAs have become the driving force and signature style family of American craft beer, now available in a wide spectrum of forms, flavors, and strengths. But which ones do the pros prefer? Here are five of their picks.

Craft Beer & Brewing Staff Nov 26, 2022 - 3 min read

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Town Hall Masala Mama

Bob Slack, co-head brewer, Pulpit Rock Brewing in Decorah, Iowa

“Balance in a beer should not be taken lightly, and Masala Mama is perfect in that regard. As an ‘OG’ of the Midwest craft scene, this IPA opens with subtle floral and citrus notes, placates the malt-minded through the mid-palate, and wraps it up around a proper bitterness. It was the first legal beer I drank when I turned 21 (on cask, no less), and it’s a beer worth coming back to time and time again.”

Night Shift My Hop Will Go On

April Dove, aka the Traveling Hoptista, roving brewer and founder of CommUNITY Brew

“I love West Coast–style IPAs because of their piney resinous flavors. It reminds me of hiking through the woods or glamping. Night Shift [in Boston] is one of my favorite breweries because I used to work the night shift. I think they nail the best version of West Coast IPA on the East Coast. The hops used and the roast flavor of the malt pair perfectly together.”


Bale Breaker TopCutter

Joel Shields, brewmaster at Rogue Ales & Spirits in Newport, Oregon

“I love this beer because it reminds me of the hop harvest in Yakima every time I open one up. I love Topcutter’s intense citrus and floral flavor. It’s a well-balanced hoppy beer that always hits the spot.”

Half Acre Bodem

Laura Burns, Director of Research and Development, Omega Labs in Chicago

“Bodem IPA from Half Acre is my favorite IPA for any day, and I can find it in almost anyone’s fridge in Chicago. The blend of Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Cashmere packs in a juicy nose, but the crushable balance of biscuity malt and firm bitterness keeps it in IPA territory. From pine to pineapple, velvety to bitter, this beer gets me.”

Ghost Town Brewing Hymn of Nelson

Zack Frasher, head brewer and co-owner at Slice Beer in Lincoln, California

“My buddy Justin at Ghost Town Brewing makes a beer called Hymn of Nelson, a West Coast IPA with 100 percent Nelson Sauvin hops. It rips New Zealand hop character in some of the best ways, with passion fruit, gooseberry, diesel, and more. It packs in this huge hop flavor and aroma with minimal malt—my type of beer.”