India Pale Ale is at the centre of craft beer. So where are all the local Sydney IPAs?
India Pale Ale or IPA is generally considered to be the beer style that has carried the craft beer evolution. You can barely move in the US for IPAs.
People have said the same about Australian craft beer but I’m not sure it’s true, especially in Sydney.
While there’s no doubt there are some fantastic IPAs coming from Sydney breweries, I’m not sure there’s as many as there could be. And I don’t think there’s one that really stands out as “Sydney’s IPA”.
There seems to be a lot of room in the Sydney market for more IPAs.There seems to be a lot of room in the Sydney market for more IPAs. Click To Tweet
Modus Operandi has their Zoo Feeder but it’s not packaged apart from the odd CANimal.
Akasha has their Hopsmith which has recently been packaged in 500ml bottles but, while a fantastic beer, it’s not as popular as their Freshwater Pale Ale or Tradewind Lager. I’m not sure how it compares to Fire Within but I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells less.
Batch Brewing Co. has its West Coast IPA which is probably the most typical in terms of modern US-inspired IPAs. It’s increasingly available on tap and also in bombers. But while it is one of Batch’s core beers, they also have a focus on producing a vast range of small batch beer so it’s definitely not as widespread as it could be.
So what other IPAs are there? Grifter has Big Sur and 4 Pines have brewed IPAs but there isn’t one in their core range (yet?). Perhaps the Aussie palate prefers lower alcohol and lower bitterness. To some extent that’s probably true but there are great IPAs coming out of other states.
A Reflection Of Australian Beer Or Unique To Sydney?
Indeed, in the first part of Crafty Pint’s blind tasting of IPAs, there wasn’t a single beer from Sydney. That’s a shame, and no reflection on Crafty, but more on the Sydney beer scene.
South Australia has Big Shed’s Californicator and the whole Pirate Life range. Victoria has Kaiju and numerous others. Feral is the obvious place to look in Western Australia while Queensland is similar to Sydney and New South Wales in terms of stand out IPAs.
There’s room for more big, juicy IPAs to be packaged consistently and distributed more widely but right now it’s unclear where it would come from. While I’d like to see “Sydney’s IPA”, there are very few cities in the world, let alone Australia, that have one stand out beer in this style.
Maybe some of the Sydney-born IPAs listed above will streak ahead to become the most popular and take on the mantle of Sydney’s IPA. If it were to be any of them, I’d back Batch’s West Coast. Batch have made a few other IPAs including the Juicy As Phuck, Vermont style beer, released in winter 2016 which would be deserving of a wider release. But it’s hard to look past their core beer as one of the best in Sydney right now.
Perhaps 4 Pines should make their Citrus IPA a core beer? Or maybe the impetus needs to come from outside Sydney. There have been many calls for Stone & Wood to make their limited release American IPA permanent.
A Growing Market There For The Taking
As the popularity of craft beer rises and people are looking locally for their hoppy beers, it seems as if there’s room for someone to seize the market and make a fantastic IPA that becomes a stalwart of the Sydney scene.There's room for someone to seize the market and make a fantastic IPA that becomes a stalwart of the Sydney scene. Click To Tweet
Wherever it comes from, it would have to be good but Sydney is blessed with some incredibly talented brewers.
Leave a comment and share your favourite Sydney IPA. Are there any I’ve overlooked?