Known for their bitter and strong taste, India pale ales (IPAs) are a popular type of beer that emphasize hop flavors and aromas. They get their distinct characteristics from the hops used to brew them, which give them a citrusy undertone. On the scale of international bitter units (IBUs) – which can range from five (not bitter at all) to 120 (extremely bitter) – American IPAs tend to fall in the 55 to 70 range. Double IPAs can be as high as 100 IBUs. Finally, because of the variety of brewing methods, IPAs can contain higher levels of alcohol compared to other types of beer.
IPAs have grown in popularity and have become staples at most bars, and they usually tend to be an introduction to the world of craft beers. However, not all beer enthusiasts enjoy their distinct taste and flavor. For those who don’t prefer IPAs, there are alternative types of beer that can be tried instead. Columbia Distributing, a contributing member of the Pacific Northwest beer community, offers some suggestions.
Depending on the variety, wheat beers can be brewed with or without hops, making them an excellent alternative to the harsh flavors of IPAs. The term “wheat beer” refers to any beer where a large majority of the grain used for brewing is wheat. They are known to be difficult to brew because the proteins and grains tend to bind, making it difficult to extract the sugars. Common characteristics of wheat beers include:
- Hazy: Beers made with a substantial amount of wheat have a noticeable haze to their appearance. This is because the yeast and wheat proteins used in the brewing process aren’t filtered out in the finished product. This is what gives it its hazy appearance.
- Creamy texture: The mixture of wheat and barley gives this beverage its recognizable silky and creamy texture. Oats are another ingredient found in wheat beer that contributes to its rich texture.
- Hints of bready/citrusy flavors: Wheat is an ingredient that naturally imparts hints of bready, bright, and lemony flavors to some beers. Not all wheat beers use fruit-forward and aromatic yeast, but consumers will still notice their citrusy and bready notes.
Generally dark in appearance, stout beers come in a range of flavors depending on where they come from. Largely originating from Ireland and England, sweet stouts are known for their low bitterness. This makes them an excellent substitute for IPAs. While a darker appearance can give drinkers the impression that stout beers are tough to drink, that’s not always the case. Stouts can produce sweetness from unfermented sugars, which help them offset the bitterness.
Lager beers are made with bottom-fermenting yeast and contain a lower alcohol level. Lagers also tend to be a great starting point for new beer drinkers or those looking for a less harsh taste. Examples of American lagers include Miller High Life and Coors.
Sour and Fruity Beers
Sour beers are the oldest type of beer in history. Before sterilization and pasteurization were fully understood, all beer was somewhat sour by nature. But now, sour beers are seeing a rise in popularity as brewers purposely experiment with wild yeasts to give their brews a distinctive tart and acidic flavor. Brewers often add to this flavor with different fruits, such as cherry, peach, or raspberry, which gives this type of beer the perfect combination of sour and sweet.
Fruity beers are also a must-try for those who are indifferent to the powerful taste of IPAs. Soothing notes of grapefruit, blueberry, raspberry, and other fruits make for a well-balanced mouthfeel and an easy drinking option.
Find Great Alternatives to Bitter IPAs at Columbia Distributing
IPAs feature distinctive characteristics that consumers either seem to love or hate. Columbia Distributing carries a wide range of non-hoppy beers for Pacific Northwest businesses that want to provide their customers with a variety of beers to choose from. For more information about our selection of products and the brands we carry, contact us today.