How Do You Spell IPA in German?
There are West Coast IPAs, New England IPAs, English IPAs, but no one seems to make German IPAs. It’s not like they don’t have hops in Germany. But few people have tried to use to create an entirely German IPA.
Perhaps the best example of an intensely hoppy German beer is Hopfenweisse from Schneider. It’s billed as a wheat-doppelbock, but the dry hopping and eight percent alcohol make it taste more like a double IPA. The nose is floral and citrusy, despite being brewed with traditional Hallertau hops. The flavor fruity. The wheat adds a lot of body and bready sweetness. If they left it unfiltered and canned it, I bet Hopfenweisse could pass as a cloudy American IPA.
Closer to home, Zoiglhaus has started making their own German IPA. Hopfenbombe is brewed with unnamed German hops and malts. It’s a tasty brew, both more bitter and more malt balanced than many modern IPAs. The flavor is on the piney and herbal side – more juniper than doug fir – with a bit of citrus. It finishes with a nice pithy bitterness.
Zoiglhaus was started by an Alan Taylor who spent decades in Germany training in German brewing school and working in German breweries. He can make a mean Pils. He has a great Kolsch. But you can’t last as an American brewery without an IPA.
Three Taverns Craft Brewery opened in Decatur, Georgia launched in 2013 making Belgian style ales. Now, half their production is an American IPA. Belgian styles make up only twenty percent of their sales. Closer to home, people place the blame on The Commons closing on their failure to make an IPA. It’s literally impossible to open a brewery without brewing an IPA.
It used to be that a brewery could specialize. There were breweries that focused on lager. Breweries that made farmhouse saisons. Breweries that made great bitter. Not anymore. It’s all shades of IPA with little experiments on the side. It’s a sad state of affairs. IPA is crushing diversity in American brewing.