All 73 Portland-Made IPAs, Ranked

It's no surprise that Fat Head's makes the city's top hoppy beer. But what happened to Blue Dot?

There are 73 different IPAs made within the city limits of Portland.

At least there were on January 28, when we gathered a panel of pros for a blind tasting of all the IPAs, from the North Portland nanobrewery that once sold only a half-barrel of beer all year to Budweiser-owned craft label 10 Barrel.

Those pros rated each beer on a hundred-point scale. We took put top 10 into a public tasting at N.W.I.P.A. on February 5, where the public rated them. The top five switched order, but the same number one emerged.

Therefore, we can say pretty definitely that Fat Head's Semper FiPA is the best IPA made in the city. Here's the full list, from one to 73.

What does it mean that all of the city's best new IPAs are new? Our analysis is here.

1. Semper FiPA (Fat Head's)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 7.3 percent

Fat Head's (Hilary Sander) Fat Head’s (Hilary Sander)

Semper FiPA was born of a hop shortage. In 2015, Fat Head's hop merchant didn't have enough Simcoe and Citra hops for Fat Head's to make its flagship Head Hunter IPA. So brewmaster Mike Hunsaker got creative, developing a recipe using a totally different hop bill to help the brewery limp through to the next harvest.

"We obviously have to keep IPAs on tap," Hunsaker says. "We needed an IPA that didn't use the same hops we normally used."

That beer is now the best IPA in the city, and a convenient metaphor for the shift from hop-heavy to juicy and drinkable IPAs. Hunsaker uses a simple malt bill to create a light-bodied, citrusy berry brew, which gets its zesty flavors from Chinook, Equinox and Citra hops. The resulting beer is not as unfamiliar to Portlanders as the New England-style recipes Great Notion is making, but it's definitely pushing toward a fresher, brighter flavor.

Semper FiPA won both our blind tasting by experts and the public vote at N.W.I.P.A.—not bad considering Fat Head's is the first outpost of an Ohio-based brewery that set up shop in the Pearl just 16 months ago. Fat Head's has a stack of Great American Beer Festival medals, but that doesn't necessarily get you street cred in proudly provincial Beervana.

The company did nothing to adjust its branding or massive food menu to local tastes, let alone the Pearl's tony vibe—it's like Cleveland Browns superfan Big Dawg was dropped into an art gallery. Given the quality of the beer, it hasn't had to adjust.

"If you're going to prove yourself, if you want to go to a new market and make your mark, you might as well go to the No. 1 beer city in America," Hunsaker says. "It was gutsy. People were highly skeptical, like, 'What are you doing out here? You don't belong here.'"

But he was welcomed—especially by fellow Midwesterners like Upright's Alex Ganum and Breakside's Ben Edmunds.

"There's a huge amount of Midwestern brewers out here," Hunsaker says. "So it was kind of welcoming that way."

Hunsaker started brewing in 2000, as a chemistry major who liked craft beer but couldn't afford it. In 2009, the same year that Fat Head's opened its brewery in Cleveland, he moved from his native Chicago to Virginia Beach for his first professional brewing job. He later "begged" Fat Head's head brewer Matt Cole for a job and started working on the bottling line to get his foot in the door. He'd been brewing in Cleveland for just over a year when the brewery announced plans to expand in the West.

All of the Fat Head's beers on tap in the Pearl are made on premises, but some use recipes first developed by Cole in Cleveland. Not Semper FiPA, which is Hunsaker's recipe and a tribute to his father, an ex-Marine who was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and now has Parkinson's disease. For every pint of Semper FiPA sold at the pub, $1 goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

"It's a super-important beer for me," Hunsaker says. "It's dedicated to all the servicemen, because growing up in that service family, you get tied to it. It's a name I always had in my head when I was home brewing." SOPHIA JUNE.

Comments from beer panelists: "Fresh-hop aroma and a great mouthfeel." "Smells like they just juiced a hop into the glass." "Tropical fruit greatness." "Excellent."

2. IBUsive (Fat Head's)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 7.3 percent

Fat Head's best-selling IPA, and Portland's second-best IPA, is born of a true Portland-Ohio collaboration. IBUsive ranked fifth in our expert tasting, but second in our tasting at N.W.I.P.A. Our public tasting allocated 20 points to each taster's first-place vote, 10 to their second-place vote and five points for third place. IBUsive trailed its brother, Semper FiPA, by only 35 points, while the two brews each received 800 more points than the third-place IPA.

The recipe comes from the Cleveland Fat Head's, but Hunsaker was given full creative freedom to make the recipe more Northwest-style. It turns out, this no longer means just adding hops.

Hunsaker took out a couple malts and changed the mass temperature to create a light-bodied, dried-out, ultra-drinkable IPA. It earns its name with 79 IBU, but they come from a juicy blend of 80 percent Simcoe, with a sprinkle of Mosaic, Citra and Nugget hops. Hunsaker prefers early-harvest Simcoe, which is more tropical and less piney, giving his beer strong tropical and grapefruit notes.

"We've tweaked it to mimic certain things I saw in this beer that I think needed to be more stylistic for this region," he says. "It's still Ohio's recipe." SOPHIA JUNE.

Comments: "Tastes like hop, honey and lemon." "A bigger style. I love the malt bill." "Very fresh. Dank all the way." "Juice 'n' hops."

3. Juice Jr. (Great Notion)

Neighborhood: Alberta

ABV: 6 percent

Great Notion (Rachael Renee Levasseur) Great Notion (Rachael Renee Levasseur)

Great Notion's Andy Miller and James Dugan had been neighbors for years, but it took a home improvement project to turn these two homebrewers into business partners.

"He didn't like brewing with anybody," Miller says of Dugan. "[My family and I] were doing a remodel on our house, and we had to move out for a while, so I moved my brewing system into his garage. We started brewing together, and that's when we starting getting things dialed in."

They dialed well. The homebrew recipes the two perfected in Dugan's Overlook garage have become the first offerings from the most exciting new brewpub Portland has seen in years. Both of Great Notion's IPAs made the top five in our blind tasting—not bad considering the batch of Juice Jr. our tasters loved was the very first commercial beer they made.

Great Notion took over the former Mash Tun space on Northeast Alberta Street last summer, but it took 140 days to surface from the backlog of federal license applications. Miller and Dugan spent that time playing with the levers in the brewhouse, learning how to move water around. When the license finally came through, the ultra-crushable Juice Jr. was the first thing they made. It blew away our tasters, and looks poised to become the official IPA of New Portland.

Luck? Maybe a little. But Juice Jr. and it's cousin Ripe, which landed at No. 5, are also two of the most distinctive IPAs Portland has yet seen.

Junior has a hazy gold glow, smells like fresh-squeezed juice and has a soft, super-citrusy flavor. It was made with yeast from Hill Farmstead—the Vermont brewery that makes six of the world's 50 top-ranked beers on Beer Advocate, compared to the state of Oregon's one—which they first propagated as homebrewers.

Junior gets just enough hoppy bitterness to balance out the sweetness. Dugan uses the absolute minimum of bittering hops in the boil, then adds a massive dose of dry hops after the beer is chilled. That process leaves it with a permanent haze, which puts off some Old Portland types, like the man who came strutting in, ordered a beer, drank it on the patio and demanded to speak with a brewer.

"He comes up and says, 'Man, I just wanted to talk to you because this isn't going to work in Portland,'" Miller recalls. "'Look at all this yeast in this beer! You've gotta drop this yeast out.' I got James because I had kegs to wash and I didn't want to get into it with him."

"It was interesting because he was basically telling us that this appearance wouldn't work in Portland," Dugan says. "I love hazy IPAs. The reason our IPAs are so hazy is from the massive amount of dry-hopping we're doing. You get this interaction between the hops and the yeast that creates a permanent haze. That's part of our signature."

So Dugan bought the customer a beer—or tried to.

"I heard James say to him, 'Here's your $5, go sit on the back patio, close your eyes and drink the beer as it was meant to be enjoyed," Miller says. "He wouldn't take his $5, but he came back later to apologize."

There are plenty of other people who want the beer—so far, Great Notion's biggest problem has been meeting demand with its seven-barrel system. It's run out of IPAs at the pub and had customers turn around and leave for another bar. The shortage could get worse now that it has a crowler system that allows it to fill and seal 32-ounce to-go cans behind the bar, and with the introduction of Juice Box double IPA.

That's right, Junior has a big brother. Because of Great Notion's tight brewing schedule, the city has yet to make his acquaintance.

"Juice Box is 8.2 percent [ABV], but it drinks like it's 6 percent," Dugan says. "It's a big beer, but it's so juicy and easy to drink a pint of it. I loved it so much I could not stop making it." MARTIN CIZMAR.

Comments: "Tastes like the best alcoholic fruit juice you could buy." "Sweet fruit aroma, pleasant and balanced." "Peach jam."


4. Phaedrus (Culmination)

Neighborhood: Kerns

ABV: 6.5 percent

After putting in a decade as head brewer at Old Market, Culmination brewmaster Tomas Sluiter knew exactly what he didn't want to do.

"There was a set number of styles the owner wanted to brew," Sluiter says of the 20-year-old brewery. But there was just the one 15-barrel system. Not only was the brewery tied up while making each batch, but the large batches might be stuck sitting for too long. "A lot of those kegs were outside their optimal drinking window before even being tapped," Sluiter says.

Sluiter's plan? Go small. Culmination's brew system is tiny—just five barrels. But instead of the usual two brew vessels, Culmination has five. This lets the brewers make many beers at the same time—up to seven a day.

They also brew much more often, which keeps the beer fresh. Since their first beer in May, they've already kicked out 20 batches of their Phaedrus IPA. The beer's first incarnation was solid, but nothing like the H-bomb of aroma and flavor it's since become. Sluiter and his team of brewers working in tight collaboration—Conrad Andrus, Devin Benware, Shaun Kalis and Tony Lenoci—have more than doubled Phaedrus' dry-hop load of Citra and Mosaic hops since they made the original recipe, with that powerful stew of tropicalia bolstered by Simcoe in the whirlpool.

They've also begun using carbon dioxide bursts—a leaf blower that disperses hops throughout the beer to pull out even more flavor—and allowed the temperature to rise through part of the brewing process. They use light malts like Munich to avoid the oxidized flavor of old caramel familiar from those old-school IPAs left in the keg.

And each time you tap it, the result is a dry, balanced IPA that's a prime example of the new-school citric take on IPAs—clean, bright and terrifically fruity. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Comments: "Tropical fruit, Mosaic nonsense—good stuff." "Grapefruit aroma, dry with some candied-orange undertones."

5. Ripe (Great Notion)

Neighborhood: Alberta

ABV: 7 percent

Why does the beer scene evolve so quickly these days? To hear Great Notion's James Dugan tell it, message boards get the credit.

Dugan, who was raised outside Philadelphia, spent a decade trading beer via before opening a brewpub with his North Portland neighbors, Alabama-bred Andy Miller and their financier, Paul Reiter.

In that time, Dugan's "wants" list changed a lot, mirroring the scene nationally, which went from worshiping at the altar of Pliny to chasing the freshest cans of Vermont's Heady Topper.

Great Notion's Ripe uses yeast propagated from Heady Topper along with a light malt bill and Citra and Mosaic hops. It's a pint-sized version of how the brewers' tastes have evolved over a decade of geekery.

"A lot of Portland IPAs are old-school and really influenced by Pliny the Elder, which is kind of the standard for the West Coast IPA," Dugan says. "And it's a fantastic beer."

"It was mind-blowing 10 years ago when I had it for the first time," Miller says. "Mind-blowing."

"It was hugely inspiring," Dugan says.

"But a lot has changed," Miller says.

"A lot has changed," Dugan says. "I'm of the opinion that a lot of the people who say they prefer the West Coast style just haven't had the opportunity to try the Northeast-style IPAs, because they really offer up a flavor profile that's juicy and have a mouthfeel that's soft and pillowy, and it doesn't have that biting bitterness."

"I've had a lot of people come in and say they don't like IPAs, and they say, 'This is the first IPA I've ever liked,'" Miller says. "My wife, in fact, is one of those people." MARTIN CIZMAR.

Comments: "Excellent. Cloudy." "Perfect." "Straight juice. A mild bitterness, but overall a winner." "Strong hop aroma, good malt backbone—a kickass IPA."

6. Eliot (Ex Novo)

Neighborhood: Boise-Eliot

ABV: 6.6 percent

At the end of 2014, Ex Novo went, well, ex novo, rebooting from scratch after a shaky start. The NoPo nonprofit hired brewer Jason Barbee away from the Deschutes Portland pub, and the beers have gotten better and better ever since. One of the very first beers Barbee made at Ex Novo was Eliot IPA, named after the brewery's neighborhood.

"I tend not to be a big IPA drinker, " Barbee says. "I find a lot of them too boozy, too heavy and too bitter."

And so Eliot is none of those things. It is a light, 6.6 percent alcohol IPA focused heavily on well-rounded hop flavor and aroma. "I think of hops as having high, middle and low notes," Barbee says.

And he believes a good IPA will showcase all three. In the current version of Eliot—which has evolved considerably over the past year—the high note comes from "super-tropical" Galaxy hops, and the middle note from citric Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic. The bass note is Columbus, which Barbee favors for a "soft bitterness" that doesn't linger. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Comments: "Well-rounded and well-made." "Lacks juiciness but delivers on quality."

7. Flam Tap (Montavilla Brew Works)

Neighborhood: Montavilla

ABV: 6.3 percent

In only six months, Montavilla has brewed 22 beers. The little brewery down the street from Roscoe's, Beer Bunker and the Academy Theater has been moving through beers very quickly—it was technically out of IPA when we showed up, but we managed to buy a growler of Flam Tap before it officially went on sale.

Named for the 22nd rudiment that drummers learn—a nod to brewer Michael Kora's 32 years as a drummer—Flam Tap fits this malthead brewmaster's house style by employing five different malts, including Pilsner, pale and Vienna. The hop bill is heavy on Centennial, but also uses a hop blend called Falconer's Flight to give it both a woody finish and citrus notes.

Previously, Kora says, piney Cascade hops were in the spotlight, but now IPAs are lighter and more drinkable. With Flam Tap's orange color and tasty aroma, Kora aims to honor the malty Midwest of his youth in southeast Michigan and his current home on the hop-heavy West Coast. SOPHIA JUNE.

Comments: "Nice bitter aspect. More new-school." "Woody finish, great flavors of papaya and strawberry. Satisfying!"

8. Workhorse (Laurelwood)

Neighborhood: Rose City Park

ABV: 7.5 percent

Workhorse is a workhorse. It's a high-production IPA that Laurelwood brewmaster Shane Watterson says the brewery pumps out in just 10 days per batch, twice as fast as some of the smaller brewers on this list.

About 100 batches go out each year on Laurelwood's 15-barrel system, up to one-quarter of the beer Laurelwood produces. The 22-ounce bottles you get at the grocery store are made in-house, but the six-packs have to be contract-brewed by Craft Brew Alliance.

It's a testament to Laurelwood that Workhorse still comes out as beautifully as it does at such volumes—a fact remarked on by multiple blind-tasters after the name of the beer was revealed. Tasters especially remarked on the IPA's utter lack of flaws.

For its blend of Citra, Galaxy and Simcoe, Laurelwood uses wort-hopping, an old German technique Watterson says offers a softer bitterness and helps retain the hop oils, then throws hops in the whirlpool. If Workhorse three years ago was at the forefront of aromatic, less-bitter local IPAs, it now tastes almost classic, a model for the direction IPAs have gone since they wandered out of the pine forest. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Comments: "Fruit, balanced hop." "The Dank! Fuck, yes!" "First real IPA of the


9. Pamplemousse (Lompoc)

Neighborhood: North Williams

ABV: 5.8 percent

No one makes more IPAs than Lompoc, which through a series of collaborations has produced about 100 different versions in the past three years.

When it came time for a new flagship IPA to lead the company's line instead of the old-school C-Note, Lompoc's head brewer, Bryan Keilty, looked to one of those collaborations.

The beer was called White Album and was made with help from Fred Bowman, who co-founded Portland Brewing with Cascade's Art Larrance and Jim Goodwin back in 1986.

With Bowman's advice, they concocted a wildly citrusy blend that disappeared within weeks, but which haunts us every time we walk through the door of the Lompoc pub, which happens to be around the corner from our office and offers $2.50 pints on Monday, our deadline day.

Pamplemousse is the successor to White Album. Because Lompoc didn't have enough of the hops in the original recipe under contract, they've had to tweak it. It gets just a little fresh grapefruit juice to accentuate the fruity hops. We've had enough pints to be totally unsurprised by its impressive finish.

And we've also got big hopes for the future: "We're working on new hop contracts, so I'm anticipating we'll be able to tweak it and get even closer to the original recipe," Keilty says. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Comments: "Pineapple. Great aroma, drinkable: Give me more." "Juicy fruit, dry and light with a clean finish." "Lacks nose." "Great aroma."

10. Replay (Widmer Brothers)

Neighborhood: Boise-Eliot

ABV: 4.5 percent

Widmer's Joe Casey has been brewing for 20 years. In that time, he has seen classic Northwest IPA brewing turn into an arms race to make the hoppiest and booziest.

Replay, first brewed in early 2015, takes itself out of the hop race, instead focusing on simplicity. It's made with caramel and wheat malts, and Alchemy, Chinook and Citra hops, plus a little X-431, a clean, new hop variety with citrus and floral notes, which Casey compares to Juicy Fruit gum. SOPHIA JUNE.

Comments: "Citrus, clean." "Melon, ripe, spicy nose." "Light and zesty."

11. Pearl (10 Barrel Portland)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 7.6 percent

Between Bend and Boise, Budweiser-owned craft label 10 Barrel has three pubs in two time zones. Portland is lucky we have Whitney Burnside working the kettles at the Pearl location. One of the most talented brewers in the city, Burnside has created a signature IPA that's head and shoulders better than the company's flagship Apocalypse. Pearl IPA was the first beer the offshoot pub released and remains one of the best. It's a full-bodied classic IPA with clean edges.

Comments: "Punchy." "Tangerine balance." "Very bitter." "Old school."


12. Ruse (Ruse)

Neighborhood: Kerns

ABV: 6.6 percent

Ruse's Shaun Kalis works at Culmination, where he helps brew the fourth-best IPA in our tasting, Phaedrus. With his own label, Ruse, he uses a lot of the same techniques. But it's a different beer from the super-tropical Phaedrus, a more classic IPA with a different set of hops—dry-hopping Citra and Centennial while throwing Mandarina Bavaria and Chinook into the boil and whirlpool.

Comments: "Rich and full." "Notes of candied fruit." "Orange peel." "Only negative is slightly tart.

13. Burnside (Burnside)

Neighborhood: Kerns

ABV: 6.5 percent

Brewer Jason McAdam calls Burnside's flagship IPA "aggressive," with Galena, Cascade, Amarillo and Meridian hops, and Pilsner, wheat and sweet Vienna malts. Multiple tasters wrote that the huge hop aroma up front belied what turned out to be a light-bodied, easy-drinking beer.

Comments: "Dank, light-bodied and tropical." "Dank, good body. A hint of cabbage but would repeat."

14. Hopworks (Hopworks)

Neighborhood: Creston-Kenilworth

ABV: 6.6 percent

Hopworks' best-selling flagship IPA was originally developed in 2007. It remains a classic IPA with Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops and light caramel malts along with Munich. Head brewer-founder Christian Ettinger says the beer has only improved with the increased availability of organic hops, which are the only kind Hopworks uses.

Comments: "Pine." "Pine and fruit." "Bitter."

15. BMX (BackPedal)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 4.5 percent

BackPedal is a brewery made by and for cyclists—so it makes sense its best IPA is a day-drinker's dream, a 4.5 percent ABV session IPA that just barely made the cut for the tasting, stacked up with late-addition Simcoe, Centennial and Cascade hops. Reviewers didn't know quite what to make of the slightly catty smell, but loved the finish.

Comments: "Weird, but solid. A decent medium IPA." "Strange aroma. Kinda great."

16. Upheaval (Widmer Brothers

Neighborhood: Boise-Eliot

ABV: 7 percent

Upheaval is Widmer's traditional Northwest IPA, filled with 2 pounds of hops per barrel, using Simcoe, Chinook, Willamette, Brewers Gold, Nelson Sauvin and its Alchemy blend along with wheat and caramel malts.

Comments: "OK, but unexceptional." "Dank, citrus, sweet." "Christmas tree."

17. Humble (Humble)

Neighborhood: University Park

ABV: 6.3 percent

Since 2011, nanobrewers Scott Davis and Chad Freitag have aimed to make simple, drinkable beers. They make very little beer at this operation, which is closer to a glorified homebrew setup than a typical commercial operation—in 2011, they proudly announced their status as Oregon's smallest licensed brewery. Our panel ended up (mostly) enjoying a quality rarely praised in Portland IPAs: sweetness.

Comments: "Peach jam." "Strawberry jam." "Sweet fruit aroma."

18. Abominable (Hopworks)

Neighborhood: Creston-Kenilworth

ABV: 7.3 percent

Hopworks' winter seasonal IPA has some caramel notes, a medium body, bold flavor and amber color, with a label built around a Yeti theme. It's "ready to pounce on an unsuspecting drinker," says brewer Christian Ettinger.

Comments: "Nice bitter, fruity taste. Lingering." "Pine and citrus." "Good balance and a complementary malt bill."


19. Orbiter (Ecliptic)

Neighborhood: Mississippi

ABV: 7.4 percent

John Harris brewed at McMenamins and developed some of Deschutes' most famous brews, including Mirror Pond and Black Butte Porter, then brewed at Full Sail for 20 years. Ecliptic is his solo venture, and Orbiter is a classic Northwest IPA, full of Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus hops, with a medium body and caramel malt.

Comments: "English-style, creamy." "Full and bitter, with a clean finish." Oniony, grainy, piney and resiny. "Not hoppy enough." "Malty goodness, a perfect balance. Old school but nice."

IPA tasting (WW Staff) IPA tasting (WW Staff)

20. Super Dog (Lucky Lab Hawthorne)

Neighborhood: Buckman

ABV: 6.5 percent

Between its two brewing operations, Lucky Lab had a total of six IPAs in our tasting, more than any other brewery. The best was the Super Dog from the Southeast Hawthorne brewery, and the worst was Halt, also from Hawthorne, which ranked 56th. With a pound of dry hops per barrel and a 90-plus IBU, this very aggressive IPA fared better than most of its generation.

Comments: "Resin." "Too malty, but a nice mango rind aroma." "Very big upfront."

21. Shocks of Sheba (Fire on the Mountain)

Neighborhood: Rose City Park

ABV: 6.3 percent

Shocks of Sheba has remained mostly unchanged since this beloved wing shop started making its own house beers back in 2012. The brewery uses a mix of Cascade and Crystal hops to bitter, then dry-hops with Cascade to make a classic pine bomb.

Comments: "A touch vegetal, but a true hop bomb." "Good aroma—flavor bitterness." "Very boozy."

22. All Seeing (McMenamins Hillsdale)

Neighborhood: Hillsdale

ABV: 6.6 percent

McMenamins operates four separate breweries within city limits, all of which make IPAs. Hillsdale, the company's original brewery, gets bragging rights this time. Hillsdale brewer Tyler Newton uses a stacked malt bill of pale, ESB, Munich and brown, then hops his beer with Chinook, Centennial and Simcoe. The result is a round, classic medium-bodied West Coast IPA.

Comments: "Great nose. Smells like a lawn mower." "Has promise, but not winning anything."


23. 20th Anniversary (Lucky Lab Hawthorne)

Neighborhood: Buckman

ABV: 5.7 percent

Lucky Lab celebrated its 20th anniversary with this hop-heavy IPA, which dry-hops the still-uncommon Glacier hops, first grown at Washington State University four years after Lucky Lab was founded. But the 20th anniversary brew still uses plenty of bittering, and comes in at a hefty 96 IBU. Some tasters loved the fruity notes on the beer; some declared it a possible flaw.

Comments: "Fruity aroma, some butter." "Apple, lingering bitterness." "Stone fruit."

24. Spacefruit (Coalition)

Neighborhood: Buckman

ABV: 7 percent

Not content merely to use citrusy hops, Coalition also added five different tropical-type fruits to Spacefruit. Some tasters picked up other notes as well.

Comments: "Like nectarines buried in dirt." "Catty, lightly fruity."

25. El Torero (Alameda)

Neighborhood: Cully

ABV: 7 percent

Alameda's flagship organic IPA turned in a solid finish—although it didn't inspire strong feelings. Multiple reviewers praised the fruit-hoppy, malty IPA as being catty in a way they found pleasant.

Comments: "Catty in a good way." "Funky, catty aroma with a nice stone fruit note."


26. Gear Up (Hopworks)

Neighborhood: Creston-Kenilworth

ABV: 6.6 percent

Gear Up is the newest IPA from this bikey Southeast brewery, and is designed to offer up a, fruity blast, with more of a citrus and pine flavors that come from Chinook and Azacca hops.

Comments: "Enjoy flavor, and good balance. Needs a good finish though, like sex."

27. El Dorado (Hopworks)

Neighborhood: Creston-Kenilworth

ABV: 6 percent

A single-malt, single-hop IPA, showcasing El Dorado hops, which have tropical and pear notes.

Comments: "Little aroma, very bitter." "Well made, but mild and Englishy."

28. Cloud Ripper (StormBreaker)

Neighborhood: Mississippi

ABV: 6.4 percent

StormBreaker, which took over the Amnesia space off Mississippi last year, uses a hefty seven hops in this one, with a solid 78 IBUs' worth of bittering upfront and a fruity dry-hop backload of Citra, Galaxy and Amarillo.

Comments: "Uncomplicated, subdued hops." "Great appreciation of drinkability." "Spicy hops. Balanced."

29. Tiledriver Mosaic IPA (13 Virtues)

Neighborhood: Sellwood-Moreland

ABV: 6 percent

Originally created as a collaboration beer with Massachusetts' Strange Brew, 13 Virtues' Tiledriver pairs Columbus bittering hops with Mosaic to put in a respectable finish—although some reviewers thought it was a bit young. We suspect if their brand-new, classically dank Winter Sunshine IPA had been brewed a couple weeks earlier, 13 Virtues might have climbed higher on this list.

Comments: "Vegetal, green, harsh, but not terrible." "Wet laundry aroma. Solid but unremarkable."

30. Jade Tiger (BTU)

Neighborhood: Rose City Park

ABV: 6.8 percent

The only Chinese restaurant-slash-brewpub in the country brought a resoundingly low-IBU brew with a hefty hop smell and peachy fruit notes. Multiple commenters noted they loved the aroma, but the beer didn't quite live up to the promise in the nose.

Comments: "Nice and balanced. Full on the tongue with a bitter finish." "Peach." "Floral, middle of road."

31. Luscious Lupulin (Migration)

Neighborhood: Kerns

ABV: 6.5 percent

The brewers at Migration like to put together complicated high-wire acts balancing multiple varieties of hop and malt. For their flagship Luscious Lupulin, they used four different hops: Centennial, Simcoe, Crystal and Cluster. Commenters praised the balance, but said the result was middle of the road.

Comments: "Tobacco florals. Don't mind." "Not bad, but unexceptional."

32. C-Note (Lompoc)

Neighborhood: North Williams

ABV: 6.9 percent

Remember the IBU arms race? Back at the turn of the millennium, this shit was the 100-IBU aircraft carrier, mixing up a list of hops starting with C that continues to expand as new varieties come into favor. The classic caramel-malt profile mated with piney, bitter hops puts it out of fashion; but like military bases in Germany, it happily lives on, still classed as an imperial, despite its now-tame 6.9 percent ABV. The batch we got was a bit oxidized, and some suspected it sat too long.

Comments: "Maybe a bit husky." "Oxidized." "Caramel."

33. Galaxy (Unicorn Brewing)

Neighborhood: Sellwood

ABV: 6.6 percent

Galaxy contains Galaxy, obviously. Unicorn brewer Jason Webb, at the Portland U-Brew, has so many tiny brew systems, he can afford to experiment—including a recent focus on single-hop IPAs. Galaxy seems like it needs a little backup, and some detected near-Belgian yeast notes that departed from what one might expect from the style.

Comments: "Bitter and yeasty." "It's not my style of IPA, but I'm not sure it's anyone's."


34. Super Dog (Lucky Lab NW)

Neighborhood: Slabtown

ABV: 6.4 percent

This was the only true head-to-head between two breweries making the same recipe. On this one particular day in January, Hawthorne's Lucky Lab bested Quimby's on the Super Dog by 14 places. One reviewer called the batch "as bitter as a stripper's asshole," which may have accidentally revealed as much about the commenter as the beer.

Comments: "Malt is buried by an invasion of hops. Hop booooomb!"

35. Seismic (Pints/Zoiglhaus)

Neighborhood: Lents

ABV: 6.2 percent

Best known for making German brews, Alan Taylor is looking a little right-coasty with his IPA lately: It's both unfiltered and dry-hopped. Seismic also had its hop bill updated to include Columbus, Amarillo, Cascade and Simcoe. Most of our panel found it to be middle of the pack.

Comments: "Perfumey hops—onion, allium, but a tad metallic in the finish."

36. Woodboy Dry Hop (Sasquatch)

Neighborhood: Hillsdale

ABV: 6.8 percent

This one proved divisive. Some thought the hops were getting in the way of the malt. Others thought the inverse, and there was too much malt. Yet another declared it the supreme balance of malt and hops.

Comments: "Hop overload." "Unique hop profile." "Malt-sugar aroma. Sweetness under the hops."

37. Got Hops? (Lucky Lab NW)

Neighborhood: Slabtown

ABV: 6.4 percent

Of the three Northwest Lucky Lab beers we tasted, Got Hops? landed in the middle. For this ever-changing IPA, brewers get to choose hops while following Lucky Lab's standard grain bill. This batch was greeted with a collective shrug, but no ill will. Perhaps uncoincidentally, it landed smack in the middle of Portland IPAs ranked, in 37th place out of 73.

Comments: "No aroma—bland." "There's not too much to comment on."

38. Pyramid (Pyramid)

Neighborhood: Northwest Industrial

ABV: 6.3 percent

Out of the three beers in the Pyramid/Portland Brewing collection, the Pyramid IPA ranked first, although a few tasters thought some of the fruit notes were a little off. Five hops make up this readily available, classic Northwest IPA: Magnum, Calypso, Cascade, El Dorado and Willamette, backed up by two-row and Vienna malts.

Comments: "Weird esters?" "Melony." "Smells like tomato." "Good, but flawed."

39. Bombay (Old Market)

Neighborhood: Ashcreek

ABV: 6.5 percent

Old Market's big, barnlike brewpub offers a burnt-orange, English-style IPA it claims comes from the original recipe British brewers shipped over to India.

Comments: "Weird flavors. Green tea?" "Lingering bitterness." "Drinkable."

40. Boss (Laurelwood)

Neighborhood: Rose City Park

ABV: 6.6 percent

Laurelwood's award-winning Workhorse was one of Willamette Week's top 10 beers of 2013, and the same beer eased its way into the top 10 here. But the old-school Boss—a discontinued OG IPA that makes occasional appearances back on the taps—didn't fare as well. A couple panelists loved it, but the most common tasting note was "bell pepper."

Comments: "Green bell pepper in aroma and flavor. Weird." "Middle of the road." "Fruity and spicy—impressed." "Peppery (bell)."

41. Invincible (Baerlic)

Neighborhood: Hosford-Abernethy

ABV: 6.7 percent

Ben Parsons and Richard Hall opened inner Southeast's Baerlic just over a year ago. Their nut brown and cream ales have developed a following, but their Invincible IPA didn't quite live up to its name.

Comments: "Soured? What's going on here?" "Fruity, with a malty finish." "Vegetal." "Lambic-like aroma."

42. Gigantic (Gigantic)

Neighborhood: Reed

ABV: 7.3 percent

Gigantic is big in Japan—it's tapped in at least one bar in Tokyo—and a maker of very big flavors, especially with its huge Most Premium Imperial Russian Stout. But though the IPA has a broad hop bill split among Cascade, Simcoe, Centennial and Crystal, some tasters found it a bit thin.

Comments: "Watery. Needs a better mouthfeel." "Stale something, but not bad." "Bready finish."

43. Shanghai'd (Old Town)

Neighborhood: King

ABV: 6.5 percent

Shanghai'd received the Gold Medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival for a balanced take on the milder, maltier English-style IPA. Either this batch wasn't as good, or our tasters strongly preferred the hop-forward American style.

Comments: "Maltier, weak aroma."

44. Bristlecone (McMenamins Kennedy School)

Neighborhood: Concordia

ABV: 6.7 percent

Chinook, Simcoe and Citra hops make up this classic IPA, which finished second of the four McMenamins brews.

Comments: "Floral. Watery. Why?" "Smooth. Not awesome."


45. Puddle Hopper (Rock Bottom)

Neighborhood: Downtown

ABV: 6.5 percent

An unimpressive IPA from a chain based in Tennessee. (The downtown brewpub has great happy-hour nachos, though.)

Comments: "Apple-sweet taste." "Spicy hops and a nice balance, but run-of-the-mill." "Tastes like a can."

46. Chopper (Lucky Lab NW)

Neighborhood: Slabtown

ABV: 6.4 percent

Lucky Lab's Chopper finished last in the slew of beers from the Northwest location, which could be due to its reduced gluten levels. If there's anything our tasters love, apparently, it's gluten—see No. 73.

Comments: "Something off in the smell, but it tastes fine." "Like New Zealand beer." "Watery."

47. IPA (Portland Brewing)

Neighborhood: Northwest Industrial

ABV: 6.5 percent

With five hops and five malts, including Sterling hops for a spicy finish and chocolate malts, this IPA from an old-school Portland brewery narrowly bested its cousin, Thunderhead.

Comments: "Smells like a warm-fermented Belgian." "Low hop profile." "Cidery."

48. Thunderhead (Pyramid)

Neighborhood: Northwest Industrial

ABV: 6.7 percent

Thunderhead finished in last place among the Pyramid/Portland Brewing collection.

Comments: "Banana." "Banana." "Belgian?"

49. Leafhound (McMenamins Crystal)

Neighborhood: Downtown

ABV: 6.7 percent

Leafhound was perplexing to the room. The lemon, lime and grapefruit flavors in the Centennial and Meridian hops, backed up by bready malts, apparently made for an odd mismatch between flavor and aroma.

Comments: "Doesn't taste like it smells." "Confusing."

50. British Imperial (Rock Bottom)

Neighborhood: Downtown

ABV: 5.4 percent

It is safe to say our panel didn't favor British IPAs.

Comments: "Floral." "Pear juice." "Is this even an IPA?"

51. Bottle Shake (Labrewatory)

Neighborhood: Eliot

ABV: 5.7 percent

In January, 40 homebrewers showed up to Labrewatory, a brewery devoted to experimentation, with bottles of beer to share and some of their leftover hops. Brewmaster Charlie Johnson hosted 23 of their hops to make a onetime IPA with the biggest hop bill in town. It was a noble experiment.

Comments: "Tastes like burnt tortilla chip." "A new beer style: butter sour." "Caramel and litter-grass."

52. Irish Pale Ale (Kells)

Neighborhood: Northwest

ABV: 6.2 percent

This Irish pub's best house beer is a traditional dry Irish stout.

Comments: "Muddled." "Tangy flavor."


53. Ultra Gnar Gnar (Base Camp)

Neighborhood: Buckman

ABV: 6.7 percent

Six different hop varieties plus speciality malted barley and oats make up this ultra-hoppy, ultra-bitter IPA.

Comments: "Funky." "Musty." "Tastes like the '90s."


54. Fresh Squeezed (Deschutes Portland)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 6.4 percent

The label of this well-stocked IPA shows drops of juice being squeezed from a hop. But if you squeeze a hop, juice will not come out, even if you use lots of Citra, Mosaic and Nugget hops.

Comments: "Lacks hop character. Tastes like apricot juice." "The hops don't drive the flavor; the malt did."


55. Hop Heaven (Columbia River)

Neighborhood: Hollywood

ABV: 7.5 percent

Despite five malts, five hop additions and two dry-hop blends, Hop Heaven is a bit shy on aromatics, packing most of its wallop in bitterness. Brewer Rick Burkhardt's main focus at Columbia River remains English-style stouts, inspired by a youthful trip to England.

Comments: "Butterscotch." "Too bitter, not floral." "All bitterness. Can't taste much."


56. Halt (Lucky Lab Hawthorne)

Neighborhood: Buckman

ABV: 6.4 percent

Halt was made to be a simple, malty, old-time Northwest IPA, a malt-balanced brew made with Cascade, Centennial and Northern Brewer hops. Our tasters caught off notes in the malt, however.

Comments: "Candy-sweet." "Green apple." "Too sweet." "Moldy basement flavor."

57. Everyday (Natian)

Neighborhood: Kerns

ABV: 5.5 percent

Natian's goal with Everyday was to create an IPA that didn't blow out your taste buds after one pint, which our panel may have appreciated if their taste buds weren't already blown out.

Comments: "Sweet garbage." "Biscuit."


58. Carrie's Way (BackPedal)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 6.6 percent

BackPedal opened in July, joining Hopworks as Portland's other loosely bike-themed brewery.

Comments: "Bready armpit." "Could taste worse."

59. Orange Goblin (McMenamins Fulton)

Neighborhood: Lair Hill

ABV: 6.9 percent

Great name, though.

Comments: "Malt hits with a brick." "SWEEEEEEEEET."


60. Jaws (Splash Bar)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 6 percent

Was this beer brewed in Portland? That depends on your definition. Splash Bar makes its wort in New Zealand and ships it across the Pacific in bags, where it's inoculated with yeast so it can ferment into beer in the tanks by the window. While D.J. Paul of the Brewpublic blog has praised Splash Bar's beers, our tasters found it underwhelming.

Comments: "Maybe a tad rotten." "Smells like feet."

61. Belma (Unicorn)

Neighborhood: Sellwood-Moreland

ABV: 6.6 percent

Last year, Cliff, Anne and Jason Webb founded a brewery inside Portland U-Brew called Unicorn Brewing Company. Don't worry, you can still make appointments Friday through Sunday to learn how to make your own beer. But the rest of the week, the Webbs brew as Unicorn.

Comments: "Soapy. Good for washing the dog." "Oxidized."

62. Savage Nimbus (StormBreaker)

Neighborhood: Boise-Eliot

ABV: 8 percent

Somehow, this one snuck in even though it was above our alcohol cutoff.

Comments: "This is an IPA?"

63. The Business (Gigantic)

Neighborhood: Reed

ABV: 6 percent

Gigantic's British American ale didn't impress, but then again, no traditional British IPA did. At least the label is cool.

Comments: "Too sweet. "Sea dirt." "Not bitter enough."

64. Galaxy Dry Hop Savage (StormBreaker)

Neighborhood: Boise-Eliot

ABV: 8 percent

Yes, but StormBreaker has a really nice patio.

Comments: "Tastes like leather and caramel."

65. "68" (Splash Bar)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 6.8 percent

Did we mention that Splash Bar's house beers are just $1 during happy hour?

Comments: "Peanuts." "Pork." "Nope."

66. Exit 7 Ramped (Gateway)

Neighborhood: Gateway

ABV: 5.7 percent

This upstart brewery housed in a Gateway garage has some work to do based on our results. But after meeting owner Joel Sheley, we're rooting for him.

Comments: "Butter." "Buttered popcorn." "Butter."

67. Stumptown Candy Peel (BridgePort)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 6.5 percent

This wasn't the right setting for this beer. The best way to present Candy Peel, in our experience, is via a gravity bong that is also a regular bong. It's called the Knockout bong, and you should watch our video on

Comments: "Nail polish." "Acetone." "Bready finish."

68. BridgePort (BridgePort)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 5.5 percent

"My, how the mighty have fallen," said one of our tasters when this beer was identified. When it was conceived, this beer stood alongside Black Butte Porter and Widmer Hefe as one of Oregon's defining brews. The history still matters, but so do our blind-tasters' reactions.

Comments: "Tastes like Parmesan, anger and disappointment." "Bland flavors." "Acetone."

69. Hoppy Jalopy (Tugboat)

Neighborhood: Downtown

ABV: 6.7 percent

Tugboat has been refusing to filter its IPA since way before refusing to filter your IPA was cool. But the IPA in the keg at Portland's crankiest and most literary of little breweries was not merely old-school: It also tasted a little old.

Comments: "Weird blueberry aroma—stale or oxidized." "Blueberry Yoplait with wood-pencil shavings." "Oxidized."

70. Exit 7 Session (Gateway)

Neighborhood: Gateway

ABV: 4.8 percent

The "unramped" version of Gateway's IPA seems to have missed its turnoff. Multiple tasters picked up the buttery taste of diacetyl, signaling issues with either yeast or bacteria.

Comments: "Where are the hops?" "Diacetyl!" "Theater popcorn."

71. Blue Dot (Hair of the Dog)

Neighborhood: Buckman

ABV: 7 percent

When Hair of the Dog's sweet, piney Blue Dot hit the streets in 2005, it was hailed as the city's thundering answer to Pliny the Elder. Times and tastes have changed. The consensus was that this batch must have been infected. (We picked up the beer from the brewery the night before the tasting, in a growler fresh from the brewery, and stored it in an editor's fridge overnight along with other beers that fared better in this tasting.)

Comments: "This beer tastes like it was left open outside." "Infected." "Cardboard mixed with vinegar." "Toffee sweet." "Cloudy, infected."


72. Pine Drops (Deschutes Portland)

Neighborhood: Pearl District

ABV: 6.5 percent

The state's largest and most admired craft brewery piled a mess of Chinook, Centennial and Equinox hops on top of Munich and Pilsner malts for Pine Drops, which joined Deschutes' roster last spring. While Deschutes' quality control is rightly admired, something went terribly wrong with the batch it delivered to our office.

Comments: "Blue cheese." "Smell is God-awful." "Baby diapers."

GroundbreakerIPA growler

73. IPA No. 5 (Ground Breaker)

Neighborhood: Hosford-Abernethy

ABV: 5.6 percent

Yes, Portland's gluten-free brewery placed dead last. Made with roasted chestnuts, lentils, Belgian-style candi sugar and Crystal and Santiam hops, IPA No. 5 sounds like a delicious meal, but can't match the magic of barley. But you know what's funny? This is one of the most acclaimed beers on this list, having taken a silver medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver. That means this beer is objectively excellent—for celiacs, anyway.

Comments: "Rubber hose." "I literally cannot drink this."


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