For an American IPA start by reaching for your nonic pint glass. You could also reach for a seidel or mug. The wider mouths and bodies will allow for bigger sips and better enjoyment of the beer’s aroma. These glasses can also showcase the different colors and clarities that an American IPA may exhibit.
For higher ABV or more flavorful entries go with either a tulip glass or snifter. These glasses help focus the beer’s more subtle aromas making for better enjoyment of the bolder versions of the style.
About the American IPA
American IPAs have strong floral or citrusy hop flavors which can include piney and resinous notes. These bright flavors are often followed up by a malty backbone which gives the beer a bit of a sweet, sticky finish. The beer can be smooth or sticky bodied and on stronger versions the head can stick to the glass almost like a foamy syrup.
American IPAs range from 5.5%- 7.5% ABV. Stronger versions are also split into the Imperial IPA category. These beers can be clear to slightly hazy and pale to reddish in color.
While the style is immensely popular on the craft brew scene I personally find it to be a bit overpowering at times. I usually find it best in warmer weather and in limited quantities. There’s something about the strong hop characters (especially in the bolder takes on the style) that overwhelms my palate very quickly.
Imperial IPAs or Double IPAs are American IPAs with higher ABVs. These beers range from 8% ABV up to a whopping 15% depending on ingredients and brewing techniques.
Notable American IPAs
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: 60 Minute IPA
Ballast Point Brewing Company: Sculpin IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
When drinking a kölsch the first thing you should reach for is a stange. With it’s tall, narrow, body it shows off the beers refreshing clarity and light carbonation. It also helps in maintaining the beer’s delicate head.
In the absence of a beer stange you can also reach for any type of flute glass or a narrow pokal (pilsner glass). Even a tall champagne glass will do the job.
The idea is that you want a smaller surface area focusing those delicate aromas and flavors into a tight space.
About Kölsch Beer
This style is generally light in color and very clear. The light color comes from the pilsner and vienna malts used for brewing. They’re typically fermented with ale yeasts though they can be bottle conditioned with lager yeasts as well. This eclectic mix can lead to a slightly hoppy beer with hints of orchard fruits some wine-like characteristics.
It’s an excellent style for spring / summer drinking!
Unless you make a trip to Germany you’re unlikely to have authentic kölsch anytime soon. Like some other European products, a true kölsch beer must originate in a very specific place in order to garner that name.
There are plenty of other breweries crafting beers in the same style though – some do use the title but others may instead call them “german-style kolsch.” Still others just refer to them as being “summer” beers.
*Due to the nature of this style, with its geographical restrictions, I’m mostly listing easy to find versions of the beer vs. more common or traditional versions. Be sure to check out any liquor or wine stores with large import sections if you want something truly “authentic.”