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Station 26's Bang Bang. Courtesy of Emily Hutto

Double or Nothing—Five Imperial IPAs to Break in Summer

These beers are strong, flavorful, and pair well with patio weather.

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It comes as no surprise that the India Pale Ale is the most popular style among craft beer drinkers. As much as I love IPAs, I might have even more room in my beer-loving heart for the Imperial IPA. The style, also known as a double IPA, takes the hoppy flavors, aromas, and bitterness that make IPAs so darn delicious—and cranks the proverbial dial way past 10. To that end, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite Colorado double IPAs to hit local shelves this spring and summer.

Grapefruit Yanker IPA, Eddyline Brewery
Serving Type: 16-ounce cans
ABV: 7.2 percent
Hop Meter (1–10)*: 8.5
Malt Meter (1–10): 4
Anyone who enjoys Eddyline’s Crank Yanker IPA will love this beer. That’s because brewers at Eddyline essentially took that brew, added grapefruit and a few other fruity flavors to it, and boom: the Grapefruit Yanker was born. The result is a delicious, aromatic brew, and one that Eddyline has promised to keep brewing long into the summer.

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Endpoint Triple IPA, Renegade Brewing Company
Serving Type: Four-pack, 12-ounce cans
ABV: 11 percent
Hop Meter: 10
Malt Meter: 6
I know, this beer is a—gasp—triple IPA. But before you @ me about it, this beer took home silver from the 2018 New York International Beer Competition in the Imperial IPA category. While we’re on the topic, the same competition named Renegade Brewing Colorado’s Best Brewery, which is very cool. Our recommendation for this beer? Actually visit Renegade, which has a great patio and open-air tasting room, and see for yourself why this brewery took home so many honors.

WtFO Double IPA, Bonfire Brewing
Serving Type: 12-ounce cans
ABV: 8.4 percent
Hop Meter: 9
Malt Meter: 5
Eagle’s Bonfire Brewing is known for drawing inspiration from the surrounding mountains for its beer names, and the WtFO is no different. This one is named after Vail’s previously unmarked “WFO” run (if you’re curious, WFO is short for Way the F%$* Out), which alludes to the experimental nature of the beer. Specifically to Bonfire’s use of lupulin powder, a semi-new hop-based product that’s meant to add more umph to a beer’s smell and taste, without contributing to its bitterness. That’s exactly how it works for the WtFO, at least, which is easy to drink and, at 8.4 percent ABV, deceptively strong.

Bang Bang IPA, Station 26 Brewing Company
Serving Type: Six-pack, 12-ounce cans
ABV: 9.2 percent
Hop Meter: 10
Malt Meter: 5.5
Nothing on this list is more bitter than Station 26’s Bang Bang IPA, and as someone who’s grown to love bitter IPAs, this is precisely my kind of beer. Yes, this beer has citrusy hop flavors and fresh, fruity scent to boot, but it’s the bitterness that sticks to your tongue and truly sets the Bang Bang IPA apart. For reference, most of these beers bring an IBU (a measurement of a beer’s bitterness) of about 70–85, which is quite high. The Bang Bang IPA, though, clocks in with an IBU of 124. Proceed with caution.

Beta Capsule, Fiction Beer Company>
Serving Type: 16-ounce cans
ABV: 8.5 percent
Hop Meter: 8
Malt Meter: 5
One of Fiction’s latest creations is this double dry hopped, New England imperial IPA. That’s all just a fancy way of saying this beer is geared more toward the hoppy aromas and flavors than the bitterness also associated with IPAs. Unlike Bonfire’s WtFO, though, this beer is true to the New England-style IPAs, which are hazy in complexion and have a juicy flavor profile (in this case, think: tropical melon and citrus). Perfect, in my opinion, for patio drinking.

*Both the hop and malt meters exist within the writer’s beer palate. Be jealous.

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