These are the best IPAs in Austin, according to local industry pros
The IPA is arguably the most popular and most polarizing beer style out there — which might be why there’s a whole day devoted to it. Today, IPA Day, have a pint of your favorite hoppy brew to celebrate.
Of course, there’s no shortage of local IPAs you can choose from. We’ve asked 11 people in Austin’s beer industry, whether they’re bar owners, cicerones, brewery sales representatives or writers, what their go-to IPA is so you can find the right IPA for you: a classic bitter West Coast version, a super hazy and heavily aromatic East Coast alternative or some hybrid in between.
“My favorite IPA is WTF is Juice from Pinthouse Pizza. Not only is it my favorite because it was a collaboration we did with Pinthouse but I really like how floral the hops are without being super bitter. It's slammable and delicious.” – Justin Malone, owner of Waller Creek Pub House
"A few years back, it would have been tough for me to name a fantastic local IPA, but now it's difficult to choose just one! Austin Beerworks Bloodwork Orange, Real Ale Axis and Celis IPA are all great, but if I had to pick just one, I'd have to go with Bloodwork Orange. The juicy fruit note balances out the hop profile to make a deliciously refreshing beer for summer!" – Craig Collins, ELM Restaurant Group Beverage Director & Master Sommelier
“(512) IPA — I like the balance of more citrus hops vs. piney . Also like Adelbert’s Travelin' Man — the floral and citrus notes make it easier drinking than some others. I prefer more citrus and floral hops!” – Sarah Haney, General Manager & Head of Marketing at Adelbert’s
“For summer, I love Last Stand's Citra SMASH IPA for its super fresh citrus fruit hop flavor and aroma. It goes down very easy for a 7.4% beer. For the cooler months, I lean toward Adelbert's Travelin' Man Belgian IPA. It's so well balanced with citrus hop notes complimented by a richer malt flavor and complex Belgian yeast character. (I'll have to tout The Brewtorium's Propeller Head IPA when it's available on the market!) – Whitney Roberts, CEO & Co-Founder at The Brewtorium
“Pinthouse Pizza Electric Jellyish. I like to think of this beer as Austin's answer to the Yellow Rose (probably my 2nd favorite IPA). This beer is just plain good. The nose matches the taste, which is fruity and juicy, and the mouthfeel is thick and unctuous. I'm super proud that our city produced such a world class beer." – Ben Siegel, owner of Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
“Oasis Metamodern is my go to. Refreshing and juicy with just a hint of bitterness to bring you back for the next sip!” – Jennifer Davis, Inventory Lead at Jester King Brewery
“I am a fan of Mosaic hops, so when A Pale Mosaic form Hops & Grain was released in cans, it quickly became a mainstay in my fridge. With that said, I am anxiously awaiting Real Ale's Axis IPA (utilizing Eureka, Simcoe, and Mosaic hops) arrival in cans. Personally, I enjoy the combination of taste, availability, and packaging that these beer provide. I know that I can easily go to my local store or bar and find it fresh.” – Andrew Schwab, contributing writer at Craft Beer Austin
“Independence Liberty Lunch, Pinthouse Pizza Electric Jellyfish and my very own Celis Citrus Grandis are my go to IPAs. I definitely like them a bit more on the citrus side, and they all fit that profile nicely with abundant hops on the nose followed by balanced flavors. They are by no means palate wreckers — all easy-drinking enough to enjoy with food, but still so much hop flavor and aroma!” –Tara Carr, sales at Celis Brewery
“I've been a fan of Real Ale’s Axis IPA since I got to try it at last year's Texas Craft Brewers Fest! Oasis’ Metamodern is another favorite. I'm still parsing out how I feel about (East Coast-style) IPAs. Need more samples. Since I work at 4th Tap, I gotta bring up 4th Tap’s Long Walk if we're counting adjunct IPA and our new Guava IPA, Paradise Lost, if we're counting seasonal adjunct IPAs.” – Laura H. Christie, beer ambassador at 4th Tap Brewing Co-op
“Zilker Brewing Marco IPA — a great IPA with a ton of hoppy flavor, great tropical fruit aromas and a vibrant orange color that really makes your mouth water. Zilker is a great new brewery on the east side and they have made an IPA I would drink any day of the year.” – Courtney Strange, beer broker at Banger’s
“Pinthouse's Electric Jellyfish is a beer that I almost want to call a ‘perfect’ IPA. I sell (a lot) of it because I genuinely love it and have nothing bad to say about it.” –Chelsea Münch, assistant manager at Craft Pride Austin
My own two cents: I’ll jump on the Pinthouse bandwagon and shower Pinthouse’s Electric Jellyfish IPA — available at the South Lamar location year-round (and today at the Burnet Road pub for IPA Day and the brewpub’s IPA Throwdown) — with some extra love, but the relatively new Hi Sign Brewing in East Austin also makes some great IPAs, like the double dry-hopped Johnny 5 IPA.