Girl Meets Hops: The East Coast vs. West Coast IPA Debate

Girl Meets Hops: The East Coast vs. West Coast IPA Debate

By Marguerite Washut, BBBC Marketing & Events Coordinator

East Coast vs. West Coast. It’s a long-lived rivalry stemming from the infamous Biggie vs. Tupac feud, to conflicting live sports broadcasting times, even down to the IPA. Which is better? Well, that’s a tough one.

Growing up, I was fortunate to not have to pick a side. I lived in the neutral zone – Texas. We slept soundly knowing if it ever got too bad, we could always just secede from the union. Kidding. Kind of.

It was a cush childhood living in central time. The grass was pretty damn green: the Astros had the Killer B’s, the Longhorns were the winning team, “Friends” came on at a reasonable 7pm hour on Thursdays, and God blessed Texas with Shiner Bock beer. 

Then, I moved west, and my world was turned upside down. I mistook hills for mountains, Uggs for snow boots, and tried my first-ever IPA. It was life changing. Before I knew it, I started to get acclimated to the laid-back west coast lifestyle and officially hitched my wagon to the “best” coast.

I didn’t realize I had lost my neutrality until I went home to Texas this past Fourth of July. I ran into a childhood friend who now lives on the east coast and both being fans of craft beer, we naturally started to get into the great debate: East Coast IPAs vs. West Coast IPAs.

Now hailing from Yakima, WA I immediately felt like I had the upper hand and arrogantly blurted out, “Well we are the number one hop producer in the world! Meaning, we have the freshest hops available, making the freshest IPAs possible. Y’all buy your hops from us.” It was a fact she couldn’t dispute, and one I was obviously proud of. “Sure,” she rebutted, “But we are responsible for the Hazy IPA – which is by far more balanced and generally easier to drink across the board.”

Touché. I do love me a good Hazy.

We kept going back and forth, as one does when trying to make a point, but ultimately reached the same verdict: there really isn’t a better one. It comes down to taste. And as they say (or as I may have modified), “taste is in the bud of the beholder.” West Coast IPAs are known for being crisp, clear, and aggressively hoppy with great hop aroma and solid bitterness. East Coast IPAs are certainly still hoppy but are known to be hazy, fruity, and juicy with a soft finish. Both are delicious and should be equally appreciated.

While we’ve built this brewery on the back of the West Coast IPA, *cough* Topcutter *cough*, I’m proud to share that we’ve officially nailed the Hazy here at Bale Breaker, see here and here. So next time you swing through Field 41, you’ll be lucky enough to try both styles, and it’ll be up to you to pick a team. ;)


Girl Meets Hops: A monthly column about an amateur's quest to find out what's behind the buzz.


Posted July 24, 2019

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