West Coast IPA Vs East Coast IPA

This week saw the launch of Forge which we describe as a New England IPA or East Coast IPA. Blue Jumper is our take on a West Coast IPA but what exactly is the difference between these two very popular beer styles? There are some very easy ways to tell them apart.

First off, if you have the two styles in front of you, one thing is immediately obvious. West Coast IPAs have a clear, almost transparent appearance. East Coast IPAs are known for their hazy appearance. They have a cloudy or almost murky look, resembling freshly squeezed orange juice. The haziness is a result of the suspended hop particles and yeast in the beer.

West Coast IPAs are all about hop bitterness and prominent hop flavour. They showcase a variety of hop flavours, such as pine, resin, and citrus. The hops used in West Coast IPAs tend to be more assertive and often result in a drier finish. East Coast IPAs emphasise the fruity characteristics of hops and often exhibit tropical and juicy hop flavours, with notes of citrus, stone fruit, and tropical fruits or “fruit bombs” as they are more commonly known.

While hops are usually the defining characteristics of IPAs, malts are also a differentiating factor. West Coast IPAs have a balanced malt backbone, which supports the hop bitterness and flavour. The malt character is usually clean, with a light to medium body. East Coast IPAs often have a fuller and more pronounced malt backbone that contribute more residual sweetness.

When it comes to yeast, West Coast IPAs typically use clean-fermenting yeast strains, which produce a clean and crisp flavour profile, allowing the hops to shine. East Coast IPAs often use yeast strains that produce fruity esters, contributing to the beer’s fruity and juicy aroma.

West Coast IPAs tend to have a lighter and crisper mouthfeel. They can be moderately carbonated, offering a refreshing experience whereas their East Coast equivalent tend to have a softer and smoother mouthfeel.

If you want to taste the difference for yourself, grab a few cans of Blue Jumper and Forge and get tasting.