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German IPA—It Should Be More of a Thing

The idea is simple: an IPA that relies on German ingredients—especially the country’s distinctive aroma hops. Does it exist? Yes. Is it rare? Also, yes. Josh Weikert digs into the German and U.S. beer scenes to find out why—and to get the blueprints.

Josh Weikert Nov 22, 2021 - 14 min read

German IPA—It Should Be More of a Thing Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves

It seems like there’s an IPA for every occasion and persuasion these days—English and American, East Coast and West, hazy and rye, double and triple, imperial and session, black and white and red—in every combination you can envision. Yet since my earliest days as a homebrewer, and through 15 years of drinking and writing about beer and brewing, I’ve been waiting for a beer that never arrived: the German IPA.

Its absence is striking. After all, Germany is a seminal region for beer, and not just for lager. This is the home of Kölsch, altbier, Berliner weisse, gose, and weissbier, after all, so there is plenty of top-fermented variety here. It’s also one of world’s major hop gardens, including the increasingly exotic varieties bred at the Hops Research Center Hüll in the Hallertau. Hop-forward German beers are real things that exist, too—drinking an Uerige Altbier, a Keesmann Herren Pils, or a Schneider Hopfenweisse, to name a few examples, quickly dispels any suspicion that German brewers or drinkers are allergic to hops.

Still, when I asked a Berlin brewer known locally for hazy New England–style IPAs whether he had ever tried brewing one with only German hops, his answer was terse: “No. I don’t believe that would work.”

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