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San Diego's Best IPAs

San Diego owns the West Coast-Style IPA

In a place flowing with the country's best IPAs, including San Diego's own West Coast-Style IPA, some pints deserve a toast as those at the top of the top.

By: Bruce Glassman; Author, The San Diego Brewery Guide

San Diego owns the West Coast-Style IPA, and each San Diego brewery seems to have its own spin on this hoppy palate-buster. In a place flowing with the country's best IPAs, some pints deserve a toast as those at the top of the top.

West Coast IPA - Green Flash Brewing Co

This double IPA is a flag in the sand for the style of beer that helped solidify San Diego as the home of the West Coast-Style IPA. By claiming the name, this beer helped "put the West Coast on the map," as Green Flash likes to say. Soul Style is Green Flash's single IPA - another local favorite.

Islander - Coronado Brewing Company

A ferry ride to Coronado Island is a great escape. A pint of Coronado Brewing Company's Islander IPA has a similar effect. Apricot, grapefruit and mango give this brew an explosive flavor that's made it a favorite of many.

Stone IPA - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone IPA is benchmark for San Diego and its signature style of beer. It's piney, citrusy and extra, extra hoppy. Stone has plenty more killer IPAs, too. Don't miss its Delicious, Ruination and Go-To, which is its take on a session IPA (a lower alcohol IPA). Its Enjoy By series is also beloved and brewed for freshness - to be "enjoyed by" a specific date.

Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

One of the most awarded and beloved IPAs in the country and one of the definitive West Coast-Style IPAs. The staple IPA has some very popular brothers as well: Grapefruit Sculpin, Pineapple Sculpin and Habañero Sculpin. San Diegans drink all varieties of this beer by the pintful.

Tower 10 IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

The name comes from the lifeguard tower in Mission Beach where the founders dreamed up Karl Strauss Brewery back in 1989. Years later, San Diego still loves this beer - extra, extra hoppy. Want even more hops? Try the Tower 20 IIPA, an even hoppier palate-punching double IPA.

Wipeout IPA - Pizza Port Brewing Company

Big and hoppy, this West Coast-Style IPA is a SoCal classic. It was one of the original beers that helped establish this style of brew as uniquely San Diegan. While you're there try Swami's, its other stellar beer of this style.

Mike Hinkley's go-to choice since before opening Green Flash.

The Pupil - Societe Brewing Company

This is a smooth IPA with a forward, tropical aroma and notes of guava and mango. Societe's The Apprentice is also a popular, hop-filled IPA to try.

Best of the new kids on the block," - Mike Hinkley

Duet - Alpine Beer Company

Alpine uses Simcoe and Amarillo hops "in harmony" to create Duet. They're proud of the quality of water used in the brewing process and cite that as a reason for its exceptional taste. Alpine also brews a golden rye IPA called Nelson, a seasonal favorite that is happily gulped down when available.

They say it's the water...but I think it's the [Alpine] brewers knowing how to brew amazing hoppy beers," &- Vince Marsaglia

AleSmith IPA - AleSmith Brewing Company

This IPA is a San Diego giant, with aromas of grapefruit and tangerine and a nice fresh pine flavor. It's world-renowned as one of the top West Coast-Style IPAs, and has a few awards to prove it.

Dork Squad - Bagby Beer Company

A hop-forward IPA made for the beer geek in all of us.

Words cannot describe how good Jeff's [Jeff Bagby] beers are," - Doug Constantiner

Shipwrecked Double IPA - Mission Brewery

The Shipwrecked drinks like an IPA, then - bam - it hits you with the bite of the double. Its unique flavor has earned it some awards. For those intimidated by the big, bad double IPA, Mission IPA is a good fit.

Hopway to the Danger Zone - Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment

"I feel the need...the need for hops." With a name inspired by San Diego's own Top Gun, you know this is going to be intense. There are hoppy IPAs. There are taste bud-berating double IPAs. Then there is this behemoth. Strap yourself in.

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