What you’re drinking: The Northwest IPA is a dry-hopped, citrusy beer with an International Bitterness Units rating of 53, which is lower on the IBU scale than a lot of IPAs you’re used to.

The story behind it: “In the last 15 years it’s been almost an arms race when it comes to IPAs,” says Al Pils of KettleHouse Brewing Co. Brewers have been upping the ante when it comes to IBU, he says, making IPAs ever more bitter. “Bitter is a loaded term, like ‘gamey’ or ‘fishy.’ And I like bitter, but this kind of new-school IPA brings it back around to a nice-smelling, more flavor-based use of the hops.” Head brewer Tim Mason created the recipe with former lead brewer Corey Regini.

Kettlehouse Northwest IPA cans

Why you’re drinking it now: Northwest IPA arrived on tap a little more than a year ago, but on Sunday, April 29, the company held a party to celebrate the release of the beer in cans for wide distribution. The crowd had to be moved in out of the rain, but everyone was in good spirits as several bands played to a full house of Northwest IPA-sipping patrons. People are often divided on IPAs, but Northwest IPA tastes more like a community beer. Even people who don’t love IPAs (ahem, me) were seen enjoying this milder, more accessible version.

Where to get it: KettleHouse taprooms and anywhere else you can find the brewery’s cans.

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Missoula native Erika Fredrickson started writing music reviews for the Indy in 2005 and became the arts editor in 2008. She covers the Missoula arts scene, food policy and local characters. @efredmt on Twitter.

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