You’ve surely heard of them.
You wouldn’t be wrong to go out of your way for those great beers. But more and more these days, as craft breweries proliferate, the flavors you seek in those rarities can be found closer to home. I have, in my everyday life, encountered dozens of IPAs I’d happily drink again and again. Even keeping it to my home state — and you should, always, drink local — doesn’t severely limit the options.
Below are 10 of the best, most underrated Massachusetts IPAs available right now. And given the recent restrictions on bars and restaurants in the state, now is as good a time as any to stock up, support your local brewery, and enjoy these beers at home.
Rabbit Rabbit, Lamplighter Brewing Co.
A double IPA the brewery describes as “dangerously drinkable,” Rabbit Rabbit boasts flavors of melon, mango, and pineapple, and drinks softly, like the footsteps of those bunnies, treading all over Cambridge, for which the beer was named. 8.5 percent ABV
Overboard New England IPA, Newburyport Brewing Co.
The North Shore brewery’s antidote to its biting (and very good) Green Head IPA, Overboard is sweeter and hazier, with a strong grapefruit juice vibe and full mouthfeel. 6.2 percent ABV
Equivalent Exchange, Bent Water Brewing Co.
I did a double-take after the first few sips of this double IPA, which drinks much lighter than its ABV. Packed with Mosaic, Idaho 7, and Centennial hops, a fresh can emits bright tropical fruit notes — I wrote down “mango bomb.” 8 percent ABV
The Cat’s Meow, Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Co.
A true Massachusetts go-to, The Cat’s Meow is all about balance, striking the right harmony between peaches and tangerines on the high end, and bitter grapefruit and navel orange peel lower down. 6.5 percent ABV
Blue Comet, Widowmaker Brewing
How do you make an IPA’s fruity notes sing? By going soft and biscuity with the malt character, as is the case with Blue Comet, which emits tons of tropical fruit aromas and drinks almost too smoothly to be believed. 7.1 percent ABV
Flower Child, Cambridge Brewing Co.
One of the OG’s of the Boston area brewing scene is still belting out hits. Flower Child is more classic in delivery than some of the New England-style IPAs on this list, delivering waves of floral, piney goodness. 6.5 percent ABV
4 Seam, Idle Hands Craft Ales
The less-available Six Seam draws bigger crowds, but for my money 4 Seam is no less formidable, playing up tangerine and guava notes in a tight, cloudy package 6.6 percent ABV
Cloud Candy IPA, Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co.
The former makers of protein-enhanced beer make a killer IPA, too. In this case, the New England-style beer is hopped with Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo, with mango and starfruit flavors taking central roles. 6.5 percent ABV
Love & Wrestling, Mayflower Brewing
Don’t sleep on Mayflower. The purveyors of a classic, English-style IPA also make some killer New England-style brews. Double-dry hopping brings out intense mango and grassy notes in Love & Wrestling. 8 percent ABV
Pulp Daddy, Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co.
You could make an entire list of stellar IPAs brewed in Western Massachusetts, but Worcester is as far as we’re going for this one. Citra and Mosaic hops are the main drivers of this hazy standout. 8 percent ABV
Honorable mentions: Chosen by you, the readers, with no disagreements from me, these brews popped up over and over again when I asked Twitter users for their favorite underrated Mass. IPAs: Laser Cat, Medusa Brewing Co.; Melody Maker, Wandering Soul Beer Co.; Jess, Amherst Brewing; Jigsaw Jazz, Fort Hill Brewery, Northern Haze, True North Ale Co.; Be Hoppy, Wormtown Brewery.
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