Best Cold IPAs: Crisp, Refreshing, and Hoppy

Hey there, beer enthusiasts! Have you heard of Cold IPAs? These brews are taking the craft beer world by storm, offering a crisp, refreshing twist on the classic IPA.

Imagine all the hoppy goodness you love in an IPA but with a smoother, cleaner finish. It’s like your favorite IPA took a refreshing dip in a cool mountain stream.

Let’s dive into the world of Cold IPAs and discover why they’re becoming a new favorite.

1. Wayfinder Cold IPA

Wayfinder’s Cold IPA is a pioneering example of the style. It combines bright citrus and pine hop flavors with a clean, lager-like finish. Imagine the boldness of an IPA balanced with the crispness of a cold lager—it’s refreshingly bold.

2. Deschutes Brewery Cold Brew IPA

Deschutes’ Cold Brew IPA blends cold brew coffee with hoppy IPA goodness. The result? A unique, invigorating beer that’s perfect for coffee lovers. Think of it as the beer version of an iced coffee on a hot day.

3. Stone Cold IPA

Stone’s Cold IPA delivers intense hop flavors with a smooth, crisp finish. It’s like a classic West Coast IPA got a refreshing makeover. Perfect for those who want bold hops without the heavy finish.

4. Firestone Walker Hopnosis Cold IPA

Firestone Walker’s Hopnosis Cold IPA is a hop-forward beer with notes of tropical fruit and citrus. It’s bright, clean, and utterly refreshing—like a tropical getaway in a glass.

5. Sierra Nevada Cold Torpedo IPA

Sierra Nevada’s Cold Torpedo IPA offers a balanced mix of pine, citrus, and malt flavors with a cold-fermented twist. Imagine their classic Torpedo IPA, but crisper and more refreshing.

History and Background

Origins of Cold IPAs

Cold IPAs are a relatively new style, emerging from the creativity of craft brewers looking to innovate within the IPA category. The idea is to combine the hop-forward characteristics of an IPA with the clean, crisp finish of a lager.

This hybrid approach has roots in the broader trend of experimenting with brewing techniques and ingredients to push the boundaries of traditional styles.

Evolution Over Time

Since their inception, Cold IPAs have quickly gained popularity. Brewers experiment with different hop varieties and fermentation techniques to perfect the balance between bold flavors and refreshing drinkability.

This evolution reflects the craft beer movement’s spirit of innovation and constant exploration.

Key Regions and Their Influence

While Cold IPAs have found a home in craft breweries across the United States, the style has begun to spread internationally.

Breweries in Europe and beyond are starting to experiment with Cold IPAs, each bringing their unique twist to the style. This global influence is adding even more diversity and excitement to the Cold IPA category.

Characteristics of Cold IPAs


Cold IPAs typically have a clear, pale golden color with a frothy white head. They look crisp and inviting, like a perfectly chilled glass of beer on a hot day. Imagine the visual appeal of a classic lager combined with the enticing allure of an IPA.


The aroma of Cold IPAs is a delightful mix of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit, thanks to the generous use of hops. You might also catch subtle notes of malt and a hint of the lager yeast. It’s like sticking your nose into a basket of fresh hops.

Flavor Profile

Cold IPAs offer a bold hop flavor with a smooth, clean finish. Expect vibrant citrus and tropical fruit notes balanced by a subtle malt sweetness.

The cold fermentation process adds a refreshing crispness, making each sip invigorating. It’s like an IPA that’s been polished and refined for maximum refreshment.


Cold IPAs have a medium body with a crisp, clean mouthfeel. The carbonation is typically moderate to high, enhancing the beer’s refreshing qualities. It’s like a cool breeze on a hot day—light, refreshing, and utterly satisfying.

Types of Cold IPAs

Traditional Cold IPA

Traditional Cold IPAs focus on combining classic IPA hop profiles with a clean lager finish. These beers highlight the best of both worlds, offering bold flavors with a refreshing twist. Think of them as the perfect balance between intensity and drinkability.

Experimental Cold IPA

Experimental Cold IPAs take the basic concept and run with it, incorporating unique ingredients like cold brew coffee, fruit, or unusual hop varieties.

These beers push the boundaries of what a Cold IPA can be, offering innovative and exciting flavor combinations. Imagine your favorite IPA with a surprising twist that keeps you coming back for more.

Regional Variations

As Cold IPAs gain popularity worldwide, regional variations are emerging. European brewers might use local hop varieties or traditional lager techniques, while American brewers continue to experiment with bold new flavors. Each region adds its unique spin, enriching the style’s diversity and appeal.

Pairing Cold IPAs with Food

Best Food Pairings

Cold IPAs are versatile and pair beautifully with a range of foods. Here are some pairing ideas:

  • Traditional Cold IPA: Perfect with spicy foods like buffalo wings, Thai curry, or Mexican tacos. The hop bitterness complements and balances the heat.
  • Experimental Cold IPA: Ideal with seafood dishes like grilled shrimp, ceviche, or sushi. The refreshing crispness and unique flavors enhance the freshness of these dishes.
  • Regional Variations: Great with barbecued meats, cheese platters, or even light salads. The complexity of the beer can elevate these foods.

Why These Pairings Work

The citrus and tropical fruit notes in Cold IPAs complement the flavors in spicy foods and seafood, creating a harmonious balance.

The refreshing, hoppy nature of these beers helps cleanse the palate, making each bite more enjoyable. It’s like finding the perfect dance partner—each movement is fluid and in sync.

Homebrewing Cold IPAs

Basic Recipes

Want to try brewing your own Cold IPA? Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


  • Pale malt
  • Pilsner malt
  • Hops (like Citra, Mosaic, or Simcoe)
  • Lager yeast
  • Water


  1. Mash the grains at 150°F (65°C) for 60 minutes.
  2. Boil the wort, adding hops at the start and near the end for bitterness and aroma.
  3. Cool the wort and pitch the lager yeast.
  4. Ferment at 50°F (10°C) for about two weeks.
  5. Bottle or keg, carbonate, and enjoy your homemade Cold IPA!

Tips and Tricks

For the best results, use fresh, high-quality ingredients and ensure proper sanitation throughout the brewing process. Pay close attention to fermentation temperatures to avoid off-flavors.

Be patient during the conditioning phase to allow the complex flavors to develop fully.

Common Challenges

One common challenge is achieving the right balance of hop bitterness and the crisp, clean finish typical of Cold IPAs. Start with a balanced grain bill and adjust future batches based on your taste preferences.

Another challenge is managing the fermentation temperature to ensure a clean lager profile, which can be achieved with precise temperature control.

Trends in Cold IPAs

Current Trends

Cold IPAs are a big hit in the craft beer world. Brewers are experimenting with unique ingredients like exotic fruits, herbs, and spices to create innovative Cold IPAs.

Barrel aging and hybrid styles that blend Cold IPAs with other beer styles are also becoming popular, adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile.

Future Predictions

Looking ahead, we can expect even more creativity and experimentation in the world of Cold IPAs. As the craft beer industry continues to grow, brewers will likely push the boundaries with hybrid styles and new flavor combinations.

The focus on sustainability and local sourcing will also influence the production of Cold IPAs, leading to unique and regionally inspired brews.


To wrap things up, Cold IPAs are a delightful fusion of crisp, refreshing flavors and bold hop characteristics, making them a versatile and enjoyable choice for any beer lover.

Whether you’re savoring a commercial example or brewing your own, these beers offer a unique and delicious experience that celebrates the best of both worlds. Their versatility in food pairings and their innovative style make them a standout among craft beers.

So next time you’re in the mood for something special, reach for a Cold IPA and savor the crisp, hoppy goodness. Cheers!

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