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The Middle Way: Midwest IPAs

Today’s Midwest brewers are marrying Old World tradition with New World ingredients for a richer, fuller flavor in their IPAs.

Tom Wilmes Jun 4, 2016 - 9 min read

The Middle Way: Midwest IPAs Primary Image

The American Midwest is where innovation meets tradition in the most unassuming and satisfying ways. You can taste it in the food, you can see it in the architecture, and it’s definitely a distinguishing characteristic of the beer.

“We’re in a part of the country that’s somewhat removed from a lot of the spiky trends, which is nice,” says Todd Haug, director of brewing operations at Minnesota-based Surly Brewing Co. “What we see here tends to fall along a more narrow bandwidth, but it’s way more solid. We may be a few years behind on some of the food and beverage trends as a result, but we have a better foundation for what good food and beer means and for the right reasons, not just because they’re popular or what you’re supposed to be doing.”

America’s obsession with IPAs is a perfect example in microcosm. There’s seemingly infinite room for variance and experimentation within the style, and brewers continue to push hard on either end—from super dense and malty grain bills in the English tradition on one side to very lightly malted with extreme hops additions on the other. Not surprisingly Midwestern brewers tend to fall, well, somewhere in the middle.

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