|Source: Beer of Tomorrow|
White IPA is an invention (and a particularly clever one, given that the two most popular styles in the craft segment are IPAs and wits), so it's definitionally new, but to the average drinker a few of the recent trendy beers--gose and gratzer spring to mind--probably seemed pretty new, too. In a country with 2,600 breweries making something like forty thousand beers, no style is ever truly extinct (even helles!). But the promise of some of these new styles as the next big thing (inevitably called the "new IPA") was often a mirage. Some, like saisons, have managed to become a thing, if not a big thing. Others, like gose, had their moments and then faded to almost nothing. So it got me thinking--thing or nothing, that sounds like a fun game! Here's a sample.
Style ... Thing or NothingYou can play this game at home, of course. The list is by no means exhaustive, and your mileage may vary. (I expect black IPA/CDA partisans to offer rebuttals.)
Wild ale ... thing
Gose ... nothing
Gratzer ... nothing
Black IPA ... nothing
White IPA ... ???
White IPAs are an interesting case. It seems like they're a little hard to make--striking that balance between spice and hop isn't a cakewalk. When done well, as with Deschutes Chainbreaker (which is by no definition remotely an IPA), they're sublime. A near miss and you enter that uncanny valley of Frankenbeer. The difficulty of pulling off the trick may doom White IPAs, but with a few hits, who can say?
So let's play the game. White IPA, thing or nothing? You be the judge.