IPAs must be consumed as close to the bottling date as possible. If you see an IPA on the shelf and the date is more than a few months old, I would definitely pass. I realize this is a generalization, because some last more than a few months, but I wouldn’t chance it. To be honest, even a few weeks makes a difference for some hoppy beers.
When Steve and I were in San Diego in June, we had the opportunity to drink beer that hadn’t been shipped across the country. There was an astonishing difference in the IPAs. They were crisper, cleaner, and had a bold hop flavor, whether it was piney, citrusy, or earthy. Just be careful when purchasing IPAs. Check the bottling date if it is available, keep it in the fridge, and drink it shortly after purchase for optimal flavor and experience.
The following video (thanks for sharing it, Bobby Likes Beer) is one of my favorites (for many reasons, including the fantastic use of the word snarky). It makes fun of keeping IPAs for a long time, but it is absolutely correct. Drink immediately.
Fort George Vortex IPA
A special thanks again to Bobby Likes Beer for the beer.
After reading the description on the can and a few reviews on Beer Advocate, we may have waited a bit too long to sample this beer. The huge hop bitterness and foamy head that everyone talks about really weren’t present. However, even if this beer is a bit past its optimum freshness, it is still pretty darn good. The hop bite is there, although a maltiness covers it up some as the flavor lingers. The citrus still comes through, both in smell and initial taste. I would really love to try one at its freshest. I bet it is amazing.
*The label is sideways because of how it appears on the can.