India pale ale is still the best-selling craft beer style in the U.S., and many newer sub styles in the hazy, fruity, juicy spectrum are the stuff of both fierce fandom and debate. Though not as big as it once was, pale ale remains popular, especially with many styles emerging that take cues from what’s happening with lighter, brighter IPAs.
>> RELATED: The state of beer in Georgia
Picking the best Georgia-made IPAs and PAs readily available at bars and package stores in metro Atlanta wasn’t an easy task — though the continuing demand for Creature Comforts Tropicalia, Scofflaw Basement and SweetWater 420 made them obvious choices. The other nine are a combination of the new, the highly rated, and some popular beers I like to drink. As always, your mileage may vary.
Burnt Hickory Drivin N Cryin IPA — From a brewery known for big beers, this easy-drinking session IPA was first released in tribute to the long-running Atlanta band. At 5 percent, unfiltered, dry-hopped, and golden, it hits all the right notes.
Cherry Street Steppin’ Razor Double IPA — Something of a cult beer with a reggae reference, this one manages to be strong but soft, smooth and flavorful. And the late-addition hop combo delivers a fruit-forward burst of mango, passion fruit, and citrus.
Creature Comforts Tropicalia IPA — Before Basement, arguably the biggest buzz beer in recent Georgia history. In the vanguard of hoppy beer for people who think they don’t like hops, it stays true to its name as a soft, sensual IPA bursting with lush tropical fruit.
Jekyll Southern Juice IPA — Another unfiltered modern American IPA with oats and wheat in the malt bill and Citra and Simcoe hops giving it the New England-style juice with a bit of a Southern accent. Hazy, hoppy, and perfectly drinkable at just over 6 percent.
Monday Night Han Brolo Pale Ale — Released last fall, and already a critical and popular favorite, I’ve called it a beer for our times. At only 4.7 percent, it’s a contemporary hazy-juicy pale ale brewed with wheat malt, hip hops, and a touch of lactose.
New Realm Hoplandia IPA — The flagship beer from former Stone brewer and IPA expert Mitch Steele at his new brewery had to be a real IPA. This one mixes West Coast tradition with plenty of sought-after hop flavor and aroma and smooth bitterness.
Orpheus Transmigration of Souls Double IPA — Sours may be the Orpheus way, but this highly rated seasonal double IPA is advertised as “irresponsibly hopped.” Its citrus-floral profile reaches into big aromas and flavors that revel in lemon and tropical fruit.
Red Brick Soul of the City Pale Ale — Atlanta’s oldest living craft brewery has been undergoing a renaissance lately. Part of that is a spate of new beers, including this shiny contemporary pale ale with flaked oats and a big dose of Denali and Citra hops.
Scofflaw Basement IPA — Like Tropicalia, this is a beer that built a brewery. A Southern take on Northeast IPA that has all the cloudy, smooth and fruity attributes of the style, with tropical flavors, and enough malt to mingle sweetness and bitterness on the palate.
SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale — The South’s biggest brewery doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. But its fresh and consistent products are difficult to dismiss. And this flagship remains a refreshing, food-friendly gateway to the pleasures of craft beer.
Terrapin Chopsecutioner IPA — More than the little bro of Hopsecutioner, this 5 percent beer celebrates baseball with a ballpark-friendly version of the flagship brand. Aged on Mizuno bat chips, it has an array of hops with citrus and pine notes and a malty center.
Three Taverns A Night on Ponce IPA — Once known as a version of the brewery’s Belgian-style IPA, this lush, hop-forward American IPA has been tweaked recently. It now stands with Basement and Tropicalia as a ubiquitous best-seller at retail and on tap.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.