What The Hell Is A Milkshake IPA

Ben Faure- Digital Czar & a man who drinks beer through a straw

We recently took on what many consider to be the nation’s current reigning beer style in What the Hell is a New England IPA.

And given the Brewers Association’s recent stylistic endorsement, this style has gone mainstream…

But there’s another subset of this whole (hazy, cloudy, NEIPAs) thing that’s also interesting …something that’s called a Milkshake IPA.

The Milkshake IPA Basics

The term ‘Milkshake’, which started as kind if a brewing putdown, was redeemed and eventually championed by Stockholm’s Omnipollo  and Pennsylvania’s Tired Hands Brewing when they introduced their Milkshake Series of IPAs…IPAs that over time attracted an almost cultish following.

Using Pectin, rich fruits, oats, and lactose to enrich the beer, Omnipollo and Tired Hands brewers were able to recreate the thick heavy and slightly creamy mouthfeel similar to a milkshake.

And while most brewers were running away from the idea of thickening their beers with adjuncts, these two breweries embraced the process and in doing so they created a beer subset that’s as much a smoothie as it is an IPA.

Thick, creamy and more times than not fruity, it’s not like the Milkshake IPA has no hop profile. It’s just that it’s deeper in the mix and announces itself in subtle ways.

Milkshake IPAs You Might Want To Chase Down

Wichita, Kansas-based Central Standard Brewing does a beer they call Honolulu Handshake with sweet aromatic pineapple notes that are tempered and silkened by vanilla bean.

We’re also pretty excited about what Toolbox Brewing is doing with their Milkshake Series in San Diego. Their Pink Fuzz Peaches and Cream Milkshake IPA is a huge blast of peach and vanilla cream that still allows for a refreshingly hoppy finish.

Sun Day 1.0 from Deciduous, a small brewing operation in out of Newmarket, New Hampshire, blew us away. Hopped on Citra, fermented with mangoes and enriched with milk sugar, this is a great example of why we are into this style right now.

In Sun Day you get the combined fruit tones, tartness and acidity of the mango melded to a citrusy and sympathetic hop menu that’s delivered to the palate via a creamy milk sugar enriched vessel. Totally unconventional, super tasty, this is a drink that sure to please both milkshake lovers and serious beer fans.

Our Take

We go back and forth as to where this hybrid IPA style is going. It’s extremely weird and crazy to begin with, but that’s what we love about beer right?

And just as with the Rye IPAs we get that the Milkshake IPA might be inherently polarizing…with some people LOVING them and others who will never accept them as BEER.

But those who are willing to let down their guard may find the Milkshake IPA more approachable (not to mention more pleasurable) than they might have never dreamed.  And although we don’t expect the Milkshake IPA to ever mainstream to the same degree that New England IPA has, we do foresee more brewers exploring this direction, and with that its fan base to grow

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