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Which coast is the best coast? West Coast or East Coast IPA

This debate is hotly contested at pubs and bars up and down the country. A battle of the heavyweights, a plucky underdog against the undisputed champion of the world. This is the Rumble in the Jungle of the beer world.

The Alchemist brewery, based in Northern Vermont USA, is thought to have popularised the East Coast IPA with their beer Heady Topper in the early 2010s. It has now become one of the most popular styles in the UK and has redefined what people expect when you say “IPA”.

The key features of an East Coast IPA are a pale colour, hazy appearance, low bitterness, and a super hop forward “juicy” flavour & aroma. Our drayman Dan is on Team East Coast, he loves this style because of it’s low bitterness and fruit forward flavours which satisfies his sweet tooth.

West coast IPAs arguably defined the craft beer revolution. They have a brighter appearance, pronounced bitterness and a caramel sweetness. The hop flavours lean more towards citrus and pine which comes from the famous 4 Cs hops which are a mainstay of this style - Cascade, Columbus, Chinook and Centennial. Jaipur, Thornbridge is a prime example of a west coast IPA, whose recipe was inspired by breweries such as Stone brewing, Pizza port and ballast point on the west coast of America. For me, the west coast is the superior coast, the assertive bitterness just invites you to take another sip.

But now it’s time for you to decide! We’ve got a double beer release to pit these two styles against each other and find out which IPA reigns supreme.

 

First up is our East Coast IPA, I don’t want to change the world. We’ve loaded this beer with oats to give a creamy texture and hazy appearance. For the hops, we went for Cascade and Citra in the steep after the boil and a generous dry hop in the fermenter of El dorado and Mosaic - expect juicy, tropical flavours and a low bitterness.


I’m not looking for a New England is our West Coast IPA packed with crystal malt which provides a caramel sweetness and produces a more golden colour. We went for the classic C hops with additions throughout the boil and a small dry hop of centennial (often called super cascade) in the fermenter. Prepare yourself for a beer with a high bitterness and piney, citrus flavours - it’s a belter.

So which Coast is the best coast? Will West coast regain the title belt? Or will it be a Rocky III Freeze Frame Ending? Only time will tell.

Happy drinking! 

Sources:

Modern British Beer by Matthew Curtis

 

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