Calling all IPA lovers! It’s time to try a handful of new IPAs.

This new blog feature will showcase ideal flights of specific types of beers. These beers would only be able to be arranged if your favorite bar was on the same wavelength as me or the beer gods granted us access to all beers all the time. I’m going to try and stay with five, but as we know places like to change up the number of beers you get in your flight, so I may do so too!

This week’s freakin’ flight focuses on American IPAs which have a sometimes golden or light reddish hue to them. They can be between 40 to 70 IBUs and can have a range of 4.5% to 7.5% in ABV. American IPAs regularly consist American hops, hence the name, such as Simcoe, Centennial, and Amarillo.

Let’s just get this out of the way. Two Hearted is the king of American IPAs, BUT there are other excellent IPAs out there and they deserve the spotlight, too. We can use Two Hearted as our base, but it’s time to branch out!

All of these beers are from Michigan breweries and are, of course, better on draft.

Photo Credit – North Peak Brewing Company

SpartaNorth Peak Brewing Company – Dexter & Traverse City, MI

Sparta is the newest beer of the flight. It was produced with another beer, Hail, to showcase the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry within the brewery and throughout the state of Michigan. Neither beer used any trademarks from either university, yet they allow beer drinkers to show off which school they support this football season at tailgates. Sparta’s arrival also meant that North Peak now has a canning line! Can’t wait to see what else from them will be canned.

Sparta packs a powerful punch of pine, grapefruit, and peach. I’ve already heard mumbles that it has Two Hearted characteristics, and I agree. North Peak decided to have the MSU-inspired ber be an IPA because of the bold green hops used. This new kid on the block is 7% with 70 IBUs.

Photo Credit – Axle Brewing Company

The Long CutAxle Brewing Company – Ferndale, MI

Axle Brewing Company acknowledges that they are often on the long cut.

The long cut is the road less traveled that provides the traveler with moments of both exhilarating thrills and perplexing challenges. All in all the travelers who take this path come away stronger and more prepared for future long cuts.

The beer itself is a golden yellow and has a strong pine and grass taste. Personally, I always thought it was a prime selection after mowing the lawn due to its name and crisp grassy flavor, but that’s just me. You can enjoy this one within this freakin’ flight or on it’s own.

Photo Credit – Aberrant Ales

West Coast IPAAberrant Ales – Howell, MI

In the far reaches of Metro Detroit, a new brewery has popped up on the award winning main street of Howell – Aberrant Ales. With its open concept kitchen, constantly sold out mug club, and fun atmosphere with open mic nights and corn hole league, Aberrant is a hip place to be. Not only are there fun activities to do there, there are also top notch beers a flowin’!

West Coast IPA is one of Aberrant’s “core beers,” so it is almost always on draft. It’s rich color is inviting and once you lift the glass to your mouth, the experience has begun. A strong nose hits you, followed by the traditional fruity, tropical body. The end lingers enough for you to want more and more of this American IPA. The West Coast IPA is 7% with 77 IBUs.

Photo Credit – The Mitten Brewing Co

Country Strong IPAThe Mitten Brewing Company – Grand Rapids, MI

The Mitten Brewing Company of Grand Rapids is a baseball-themed brewery full of relics and merchandise. Located in a renovated firehouse, this brewery is a destination for those interested in history and beer. The Mitten is also has excellent pizzas, and they know they do. In addition to adding the following beer to our freakin’ flight, they also have flights of their pizza that way you can give each a little try to share or load up on.

Country Strong IPA is a solid IPA. It’s located in the Mitten’s Tier II of beers at 7.2% and 58 IBUS. Hoppy is an understatement, but yet it is smooth and citrusy to make this beer the perfect companion at sporting events or outdoor activities. Mitten has a canning line so the distribution of this beer is growing, but head out to the brewery to get this delicious American IPA on draft.

Photo Credit – Shorts Brewing Company

Huma Lupa LiciousShort’s Brewing Company – Bellaire, MI

Short’s is a destination brewery for a ton of craft beer enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and fans throughout the Midwest. Short’s is located in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, so not only are you going to find the brewery, but your journey will be well worth it if you enjoy the scenic route. Knowing that it is a destination for people, Short’s even includes a “planning a visit” tab on their website. How thoughtful!

According to the tagline from Short’s, Huma Lupa Licious is a “complex hop and malt theme park in your mouth.” This beer rounds out the freakin’ flight with the same range, in terms of ABV and IBUs, as the other beers in this freakin’ flight at 7.7% and 70 IBUs. Want tons and tons of hops? Check this beer out!

Get out there and grab up all these beers to make this freakin’ flight!




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By Ed Norton

Edwin "Ed" Norton was first introduced to craft beer when his designated fraternity Big Brother Vince asked him if he knew anything about the topic. Ed admitted his ignorance and the rest is history as Ed and Vince would split six-packs of craft beers each week during Ed's probationary status. Ed is now a craft beer enthusiast who is always on the lookout for a beer he has not tried when bottle shopping or drinking at breweries and bars. In addition to drinking beer, this livelong Michigan resident enjoys a bunch of hobbies that he doubts you really care about, other than drinking beer and sounding off about it.

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