8 Winter IPAs to drink in Michigan right now

This week, the holy grail of all hoppy beers is set to drop in Michigan. As they do every year, beer drinkers across the state will be lining up for a taste of Bell's Hopslam. But while its annual release was once a strictly local phenomenon, Hopslam mania has now gone global. Once it hits shelves in the Midwest, the race is on to get the beer to such far flung locales as Southern California and New York City, while still at its freshest, most optimal condition.

In addition to shifting our collective palates towards hop-forward beers, the release of Hopslam has also made the colder months a sort of unofficial IPA season in Michigan. The craft beer arms race to create the most bitter brew is on — here is our list of the best winter-release IPAs available in Michigan right now. (By Adam Woodhead, photos by Picture Box Media)

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Axle Ruby
Style: Red IPA  ABV: 7.1%  With a rich malt backbone and generous additions of Centennial, Ruby is the kind of beer non-IPA drinkers are talking about when they make that sad face and tell you it tastes like a pine cone. Massive resinous characteristics and a robust body make this a great cold weather brew.
Axle Ruby
Style: Red IPA
ABV: 7.1%
With a rich malt backbone and generous additions of Centennial, Ruby is the kind of beer non-IPA drinkers are talking about when they make that sad face and tell you it tastes like a pine cone. Massive resinous characteristics and a robust body make this a great cold weather brew.
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Sierra Nevada Celebration
Style: Wet Hop IPA
ABV: 6.8%
Like Hopslam, Celebration is a winter IPA beer lovers look forward to every year without fail. With a massive dose of the classic Pacific “C” hops (here, Cascade, Chinook, and Centennial) added fresh from harvest, it is a classic example of Sierra Nevada’s “West Coast” style of brewing.
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Style: Wet Hop IPA
ABV: 6.8%
Like Hopslam, Celebration is a winter IPA beer lovers look forward to every year without fail. With a massive dose of the classic Pacific “C” hops (here, Cascade, Chinook, and Centennial) added fresh from harvest, it is a classic example of Sierra Nevada’s “West Coast” style of brewing.
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Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree
Style: Triple/Imperial IPA
ABV: 12.0%
Dark Horse Crooked Tree is among a small handful of brews which have become staples in the Michigan IPA drinker’s cellar — and that itself is an elite distinction. So for the annual release of its much bigger brother, Dark Horse dialled it up to an enormous 12% monster of a beer.
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree
Style: Triple/Imperial IPA
ABV: 12.0%
Dark Horse Crooked Tree is among a small handful of brews which have become staples in the Michigan IPA drinker’s cellar — and that itself is an elite distinction. So for the annual release of its much bigger brother, Dark Horse dialled it up to an enormous 12% monster of a beer.
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New Belgium Citradelic
Style: Tangerine IPA
ABV: 6.0%
New Belgium’s home state of Colorado is one of the few that can hang with Michigan in terms of great beer. Their new release Citradelic features 10 different hop varietals, including the distinctly orangey new crop Mandarina Bavaria. Expect notes of (you guessed it) orange zest, including tropical notes from additions of Citra and Galaxy.
New Belgium Citradelic
Style: Tangerine IPA
ABV: 6.0%
New Belgium’s home state of Colorado is one of the few that can hang with Michigan in terms of great beer. Their new release Citradelic features 10 different hop varietals, including the distinctly orangey new crop Mandarina Bavaria. Expect notes of (you guessed it) orange zest, including tropical notes from additions of Citra and Galaxy.
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Founders Azacca
Style: Single-Hop IPA
ABV: 7.0%
IPA’s which feature a single hop variety are perhaps the best way to illustrate their incredibly diverse range of aromas and flavor profiles. Like their core offering Centennial, Founders’ new limited-release IPA is an excellent showcase for the juicy, tropical characteristics of the Azacca hop. Its pleasant dryness is perfectly balanced, creating the harmonious blend of components we would expect from Founders.
Founders Azacca
Style: Single-Hop IPA
ABV: 7.0%
IPA’s which feature a single hop variety are perhaps the best way to illustrate their incredibly diverse range of aromas and flavor profiles. Like their core offering Centennial, Founders’ new limited-release IPA is an excellent showcase for the juicy, tropical characteristics of the Azacca hop. Its pleasant dryness is perfectly balanced, creating the harmonious blend of components we would expect from Founders.
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Short's Juicy Tree
Style: Experimental IPA
ABV: 7.5%
With blue spruce tips and cranberry, this IPA actually tastes like a Christmas tree. The addition of Juniper berries gives it a distinct gin-like quality. Juicy Tree is a holiday seasonal but bottles are still floating around the Detroit area — grab some while you can.
Short's Juicy Tree
Style: Experimental IPA
ABV: 7.5%
With blue spruce tips and cranberry, this IPA actually tastes like a Christmas tree. The addition of Juniper berries gives it a distinct gin-like quality. Juicy Tree is a holiday seasonal but bottles are still floating around the Detroit area — grab some while you can.
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Victory Hop Ranch
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.0%
Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company are one of the most highly regarded in the country, and have a long, well documented relationship with the hop flower. By featuring only the latest and most exciting hop varietals on the market, their winter seasonal Hop Ranch has set the bar for IPAs just a little bit higher.
Victory Hop Ranch
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.0%
Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company are one of the most highly regarded in the country, and have a long, well documented relationship with the hop flower. By featuring only the latest and most exciting hop varietals on the market, their winter seasonal Hop Ranch has set the bar for IPAs just a little bit higher.
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Arcadia Hop Rocket
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.0%
Following the cue of their neighbors at Bell's Brewing, Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Ales have released their own double IPA for the coldest months. At a hefty 9% alcohol by volume, this one can stand up to the even the harshest of Michigan winters.
Arcadia Hop Rocket
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.0%
Following the cue of their neighbors at Bell's Brewing, Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Ales have released their own double IPA for the coldest months. At a hefty 9% alcohol by volume, this one can stand up to the even the harshest of Michigan winters.
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