A New England IPA is a style of American IPA that features an intense, tropical fruit centric, hop aroma and flavor. It is heavily dry hopped to the point of being hazy and has a fuller body, smoother flavor, and less perceived bitterness than typical IPAs.
This is the first in our series of listing out the top hazy IPA craft breweries around popular cities in the US. Today we cover my home city – the city of Pittsburgh, PA.
Pennsylvania has consistently been at the top or near the top of the list of states that produce the most commercial beer in the United States.
The revered breweries from New England and San Diego usually get most of the hazy beer hype, but Western Pennsylvania has recently been creating some of the best beer around.
10. Butler Brew Works (Butler, PA)
Butler Brew Works is located in Butler, PA, which is a northern suburb of Pittsburgh about 50 minutes away. If you are able to make the trip, you will be treated with some wonderfully delicious hazies – of which almost always have more than one on tap. Since they opened in 2016, they have been churning out new versions of their numbered “Adventurer’s Series“, which occasionally are New England style beers. You can never go wrong with their 5.5% Soft Top as well since it has the haze we’ve all come to love as well as an ABV that won’t knock you down.
9. Inner Groove Brewing (Verona, PA)
When Inner Groove opened up in 2019, their first weekend was packed. I know because I was there and it would have been a big mistake other than the fact that they make some truly awesome beer. The First Born Unicorn NE Pale Ale is their top offering right now, but I would be happy to have any of their stuff.
8. Yellow Bridge (Delmont, PA)
Yellow Bridge‘s “Dude” series are simple and fantastic. Their pale ales are soft, hazy and a real juice bomb. I had their “Little Dude” last year and it easily became one of my favorite beers. Located in Delmont – about an hour east of the city – it is quite a hike to get to, so be on the lookout for their cans at select locations around town. They go fast, so grab ’em if you see ’em.
7. Stick City (Mars, PA)
Stick City in Mars is well known in the area for their hazy, straw-colored IPAs. They have a good rotation on their “Dry Fly” series of hazy pale ales, so you’ll likely always come across one of those if you stop by. A good bit of their beers are named for the foilage and surrounding areas around Western PA, so these guys are 100% local. They don’t can a lot and most certainly don’t distribute, so if you are looking to taste some Stick City goodness, you need to take a trip out to Mars (just north of Cranberry Township).
6. ShuBrew (Zelienople, PA)
ShuBrew is located just north of Cranberry Township in a quaint town called Zelienople. Zach has created a really, really unique taste for their “Pixelated” and “Egg” series of New England IPAs. I still cannot pin down what that flavor is, but I know I want more of it. They are slightly more bitter than the typical smoother low-IBU NEIPA, but it works. Every time I am there I end up walking out with as many 4-packs as I can handle.
5. Grist House (Millvale, PA)
Grist House is one of the harder beers to get if you don’t get to their brewhouse. They have been making some of the best beer in town for years now, and their can releases used to be legendary. Occasionally I will find a 4 pack of theirs at Giant Eagle or a local craft sixpack shop, but most of the time if you want some Grist House beer, you have to go to the source. If you are looking to try their penultimate brew, find their Hazedelic Juice Grenade – you won’t be disappointed.
4. Cinderlands (Pittsburgh, PA)
Located in the old Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District, Cinderlands Brewery is enormous, and their beer is fantastic. Their “Test Piece” series of hazy IPAs are great and distinguished by different hops that make for a thick yet surprisingly fresh beer. This series has become one of my favorites and to no ones surprise, their Citra variety is maybe the best of them all.
3. Brew Gentlemen (Braddock, PA)
Brew Gentleman were one of the first craft breweries in the Pittsburgh area that started cranking out the hazy IPAs that we all know and love. They were a little behind the times when it came to canning their beer, but they stepped up shortly after COVID hit and now you can get their (locally) famous General Braddock’s NEIPA in 12 ounce cans.
2. Hitchhiker (Sharpsburg, PA)
These next two breweries are walking distance from each other, and it was really hard to choose one over the other. Hitchhiker has two locations but their Sharpsburg location is where I’ve always gone. Unfortunately their parking situation really sucks, but it is totally worth it to taste what they have to offer. Hitchhiker’s bready, straw-colored IPAs really scratch the hazy itch when you get it.
You can usually find cans of their popular Bane of Existence, The Barbarian or Myrcene hazy IPAs in local Giant Eagles.
1. Dancing Gnome (Sharpsburg, PA)
I don’t know how they do it. Just mentioning the name Dancing Gnome to any diehard IPA drinker elicits an emotion best described as lust. Their Jam, Lustra and Double Lustra styles of hazy pale ales are the standards in Pittsburgh. You simply cannot say you’ve experienced the best Pittsburgh has to offer until you’ve come here. When you stop by, make sure you get as many cans as possible as you can’t find them anywhere else. The fact that their taproom is gorgeous and inviting only helps ensure they stay at the top of this list.