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IPAs come in a wide variety of flavour profiles but are not for the hop-shy beer drinker. Originating in Britain, sailors needed a beer that would last the trip to India and loaded up on hops as a preservative; thus, the IPA was born. Since then, newer sub-styles have emerged, bringing all kinds of flavour profiles – not just bitter hoppiness and not just high ABV (Alcohol by Volume). One thing they have in common is that their flavours fade fast – you’ll want to drink these fresh.

So what are these sub-styles? Glad you asked, but keep in mind – lines are often blurred with craft brewers creativity, so here are just a few without getting too technical:

West Coast IPA

This style balances fruity hop aromas with a crisp, clean bitterness and high carbonation. Think piney, citrus, bitter (but not overpowering).

New England Style IPA (East Coast IPA)

Less bitter, more tropical and juicy. These are visibly hazy, with a smooth mouthfeel and big tropical hop flavours. Almost every craft brewery makes a beer in this style for its popularity and approachability.

Lactose IPA (Milkshake IPA)

Similar to the NEIPA above, but with the addition of milk sugar and usually fruit. This makes for a super smooth, creamy (don’t worry, there’s no actual cream in them) mouthfeel, lower carbonation, and a fruity sweetness that’s still big on hops.

Session IPA

Sort of a sub-sub style, session IPAs have a lower ABV than their counterparts.

Double IPA

a sub-sub style as above, but with higher hop concentration than the baseline, and typically a higher ABV (7%+)

Looking to explore the wild world of IPAs? Download your Great Taste of Ontario passport and check out this IPA tour of Ontario’s East End

1. Beau’s Brewery

10 Terry Fox Dr, Vankleek Hill, ON

Stop by Beau’s Brewery and grab a seat on their beautiful patio space, now with Southern BBQ from Sticky Cow on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. We recommend their Full Time IPA, which is getting a rebrand to “About Time” with a new can art featuring a local champion of social justice. Looking for something a little lower on the alcohol scale? Check out their session IPA, Good Time.

2. Tuque de Broue

89 Bay St, Embrun, ON

Visit this family-owned, francophone brewery and tour the facilities. Guided tours are available for $5 per person that include 5 samples of beer. While you’re there, try the Staycation – their American IPA.

3. Clocktower Brew House

575 Bank St, Ottawa, ON

Ottawa’s original craft brewery! Visit Clocktower’s flagship location with a large outdoor patio space and 16(!) taps. For this tour, you’ll want to try the No. 7 IPA, a traditional English style IPA exploding with hoppiness.

4. Kichessipi Beer Co.

2265 Robertson Rd, Nepean, ON

Have some fun in the sun at the beer garden, grab a bite from one of the on-location food trucks and sip on their Boom IPA – a beer celebrating their 11th anniversary. It’s brewed with loads of hops in four different varieties to give big West Coast Style IPA flavours – piney, citrusy, lovely!


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5. Big Rig Brewery

103 Schneider Rd. Kanata, ON

With four(!) IPAs currently available, you can taste many different styles all at one spot. There’s Shakedown, their west coast IPA, Alpha Bomb, their hazy IPA (east coast or NEIPA), for something lighter, the Shakedown is a session hazy IPA, and for the first time on this list, Release the Hounds is a black IPA – with a dark roasted look and flavour


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6. Perth Brewery

121 Dufferin St, Perth, ON

Visit Perth brewery in.. you guessed it, Perth! Located in Lanark County, the town is surrounded by beautiful green spaces. Reach for their Hopside IPA or the Calypso IPA for a more tropical flavour on this hoppy tour!


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7. Bancroft Brewing Co.

4 Hasting St. North, Bancroft, ON

This small brewery in Hastings County packs big flavour. Unfortunately, their IPA isn’t always available, but ask for the Claim Jumper IPA when it is. It’s a mosaic IPA that’s dry-hopped for a pleasant hoppiness and clean finish.


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8. Spearhead Brewing Company

675 Development Drive, Kingston, ON

Tour the state-of-the-art brewery and learn all about the brewing process – it’s free, but donations to Hospice Kingston are encouraged. Once you’ve seen how it’s made, grab a seat on their patio and try the New England IPA, or the big, bold and strong, Big Kahuna – an imperial IPA uniquely “Hawaiian style” that is brewed with pineapple juice and features big pine flavour, and an extremely high ABV at 10%.

9. The Napanee Beer Company

450 Milligan Lane, Napanee ON

After winning the new brewery of the year award in 2017, Napanee Beer Company has grown into an Ontario favourite. Step into their taproom for a friendly greeting and possibly a tour of the facilities! The Extremist is a Belgian-Style IPA with delicious grapefruit and pine aromas. Using American hops and Belgian yeast, this brew is a great example of a balanced IPA.

10. Signal Brewing Co.

86 River Road Corbyville, ON

Located in a historic former distillery district, Signal features a huge riverside patio, live music & events, and of course, great craft beer. Their IPA, Firewire, is a single-hop New England IPA using Simcoe hops. It’s hazy with hints of citrus, passion fruit, apricot, and berry.

11. Midtown Brewing Company

266 Wellington Main St. Wellington, ON

A visit to the county isn’t complete without a visit to Midtown Brewing Co. The brewpub offers indoor and outdoor spaces for dining and drinks, including wood-fired pizzas. No fancy names to decipher here; for this tour, just order the IPA. It’s an English-style session IPA (light on the ABV) that balances malt & hoppiness for delightful citrus & marmalade flavours and aromatic hop finish.

12. Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company

13 Macsteven Drive, Picton, ON

Situated in Picton’s Industrial park, Prince Eddy’s features a 2 storey tasting room that overlooks the brewhouse and facility, a patio with a beach volleyball court, outdoor kitchen and stage for live music. If that doesn’t excite you, maybe the beers will! We’re looking for IPAs on this tour, and Prince Eddy’s has a few to try. Pong Lord (they also host ping pong tournaments) is their double IPA; Haze Brigade is a NEIPA lovingly referred to as “hop juice,” and So Many Friends is a session NEIPA in the same style, but with a lower ABV.

Looking for more from Ontario Craft Brewers?
Check out all our Great Taste of Ontario brewery passports:

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