How to Tell the Difference Between a New England and West Coast IPA

Published 11/21/22 | By Bree Sanders


Ever walked into a brewery that offered 5+ IPAs to choose from? Confused about where to start and what to try first? We’re here to tell you how to spot the difference between the two major IPA styles: West Coast IPAs and New England IPAs. Plus, we’ll take you through which flavor profiles to look for to best suit your taste.

The West Coast IPA

If you tend to gravitate more towards bitter, malty beer styles, the West Coast IPA might be for you. With an amber color and aromatics of pine, this style of beer is often bitter and slightly sweet. During the process of brewing a West Coast style IPA, the variation and addition of hops used produce a punch of delicious bitterness. This style of beer is very hop-forward with a complex flavor profile.

Being an American version of an Old English tradition, the IPA was re-discovered in America in the 1980’s. West Coast IPAs came to name shortly after and helped shape the NEIPA. Without our piney friends, our hazy, juicy beers might be non-existent. Many breweries have perfected their West Coast IPAs to become their current flagship beer. Terrapin Hopsecutioner and Stone IPA ring a bell? Both these West Coast IPAs are incredibly popular with a diverse group of people. If you’re into bold flavor, malty pine, and heavy hops, this is the India Pale Ale style for you. Give our On Belay West Coast IPA a try!

New England IPA

When looking at a NEIPA, also known as a New England IPA, the colors tend to be orange or even yellow with a visible hazy tone. Many NEIPAs are brewed with high protein grain bills that help give them that hazy look. Oftentimes people say they can taste grapefruit or tropical flavors in their NEIPA, and that comes from the variety of hops added. Smell the tropics? There’s your sign that you’re about to enjoy a beer full of juicy flavor. 

The New England IPA style has become wildly popular over the last seven years and is extremely well known across the brewing industry. More often than not, breweries will have more than one hazy IPA on tap because of how diverse they can taste with different hops added. The flavor profile of NEIPAs are more fruit forward compared to their more earthy counterpart, the West Coast IPA. The NEIPA also finishes with a pleasant pillowy mouthfeel, making it more easily drinkable for some. If you love citrus forward beer with strong tropical aromatics, New England IPAs might be right up your alley. Give our Snow Ghost New England IPA a try!

Whether you feel inspired to try something new or stick to your tried and true, the next time you see an IPA that piques your interest, ask for a sample! You might discover your new favorite style of beer!