August 4th is National IPA Day, which celebrates one of the most popular (and divisive) beer varieties - the bold, full-bodied and ever so hoppy India Pale Ale. IPAs have a long history, having been the brew of choice for British sailors in the late 18th century.

One of the reasons sailors brought them on their journey was that brewing beer in India was difficult due to the hot climate. Because hops are a natural preservative, the pale ales had a higher hop content, which helped them keep their flavor as they traveled from England to India.

I'm sure the above average alcohol content didn't hurt their popularity with sailors, either.

IPA is like the blue cheese of beer, you are either obsessed with it or hate it, and much like blue cheese it has a strong and signature flavor.  Personally, I love them, especially varieties brewed locally and regionally.

Lubbock has developed an amazing culture of craft brews, and there's many excellent options for celebrating the IPA today.

Breweries

The Brewery LBK (1204 Broadway #104). A beautiful brewery in Downtown Lubbock. Voted the best brewpub in all of America, The Brewery LBK currently has a West Coast Style IPA, the LBK IPA, clocking in at 7.4% alcohol content. I have a particular fondness for Hazy IPAs (which have a "cloudy" appearance and a higher protein content). The Brewery LBK's current hazy is Tune In Tokyo, which contains green tea.

Two Docs Brewery (502 Texas, Ave). Two Docs is where all the cool kids quench their thirst at First Friday Art Trail. Their IPA is the adorably named  Buddy Hoppy IPA, which has a very strong hoppy flavor. Their Hazy is the Hayes-E-Baby that has a perfect-for-Summertime juicy flavor.

Mano Negra (2610 Salem Ave) Tucked away in the cozy and lovely Cactus Alley shopping center is Mano Negra, Lubbock only "nano brewery". Their IPA offering is the Mal*Cri*Ao 5 day IPA, which is an juicy IPA that brews in, you guessed it, 5 days.

Bars

World of Beer (2912 W Loop 289, Ste 405). World of Beer, in the West End Shopping Center, literally has a dozen IPAs on tap, and many, many more available in cans and bottles. You can also create-your-own flight to maximize your "tour" of IPAs.

The Lantern Tavern (3502 Slide Road) The Lantern Tavern is an elegant and lovely Irish-style pub with a very comfortable patio. They have a thoughtfully curated array of craft beer on tap, just ask one of their very friendly bar tenders or waitstaff which IPA they think is best, they won't steer you wrong.

Flipper's Tavern (1406 Avenue Q) Play a few rounds of pinball while you sample their selection of on-tap and canned/ bottled IPAs. Their chef-curated menu of hot dogs and more is not to be missed.

Wherever you go to celebrate National IPA day, please do so responsibly- and don't forget to be generous with that tip. Good tips lead to good karma.

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