India Pale Ale, or IPA, is king of the craft beer movement, but it is a continuously evolving style. The once-popular West Coast-style IPA, known for its bitter and resinous hop character, has been replaced by the New England style: an unfiltered, juicy brew with more floral and citrus character. Other styles, including lower-alcohol session IPAs and flavored IPAs, which infuse fruit and spices into the beer, have had their moments as well. No matter which version is trending, a big bunch of hops remains the essential ingredient.
Louisiana breweries are doing much with IPAs, introducing new ones and updating established ones. Here are three of the most heralded Louisiana-made IPAs.
• Gnarly Barley Brewing Company's Jucifer. One of the latest beers from the Hammond brewery, Jucifer lands firmly within the New England style. This hazy juice bomb became popular quickly. Gnarly Barley released a statement saying the brewers "have decided to suspend packaging of Jucifer cans to allow us to focus on meeting the demand for draft." The brewery plans to resume canning once it acquires additional brewing capacity and staff.
• Great Raft Brewing's Grace and Grit. This well-balanced double IPA from the Shreveport brewery has been a favorite in local bottle shops since its introduction in 2014. The latest version adds Amarillo hops — with hints of melon and stone fruit — to the usual recipe, complementing its traditional Citra hops to create a more complex flavor.
• Parish Brewing Company's Ghost in the Machine. There has been an increase in production of this beer-geek favorite. Its big, tropical, juicy flavor is balanced by a mild bitterness that dries out quickly, making the 8 percent alcohol-by-volume double IPA more palatable than a typical strong brew.