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Hopnotized: Exploring the Future of the West Coast IPA

A recent release at California’s Firestone Walker may be a window into where IPA is headed, going for clarity and lean fermentation while borrowing hop-saturation hocus-pocus from the hazy grimoire. Brewmaster Matt Brynildson explains.

Matt Brynildson Dec 12, 2022 - 6 min read

Hopnotized: Exploring the Future of the West Coast IPA Primary Image

If you follow IPA in the craft space, you’ll hear a lot about the pendulum swinging from New England–influenced hazy IPA back toward the West Coast style.

To be honest, from my “Left Coast” perspective, clear West Coast IPA never really fell out of favor or slowed down. Brewers such as Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Beachwood, Alvarado Street, Green Cheek, and Liquid Gravity have been consistently pumping out an array of clear and focused IPAs, and I see them on tap up and down the California coast.

That said, it would seem that brewers across the country are back to geeking out on West Coast IPAs and the new-school elements that they’re applying to them. Of course, this moment of clarity could be derailed by thiolized hazy strains and freeze-dried grape skins at any moment. (The latter are rich in the thiol precursors that can boost tropical aroma; see “The Complex Case of Thiols,”

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