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Freshness is Critical

I've struggled to write this post more than any other thus far so I'm going to keep it simple and try to remove emotion as much as possible. IPAs or any beer that is meant to be hop forward must be consumed fresh. Ideally within 6 weeks of packaging and if you're sharing these beers with people, especially in trades make sure you're not giving them up if they're more than a month old. No, the beers won't be bad as they approach 8-9 weeks of age but they're not going to be bursting with hop flavors that were intended by the brewer. If you don't like your IPAs "hot" and you don't mind drinking an IPA that has become malty and unbalanced then keep them to yourself. You're choosing to drink these beers outside of their prime and you shouldn't subject your fellow beer drinkers to your errors.

In a Thrillist article beer blogger Nora McGunnigle was quoted saying, "flavors do develop over a little time in IPA that are interesting and tasty." After reading this I almost tossed my phone across the room because I was so enraged (ok, I lied about removing emotion). Yes, flavors will change over time but instead of getting the citrus or tropical fruits you were hoping for you're going to get caramel and if you wanted that you would have opened a scotch ale.​ I've found waiting two to three weeks is where you'll find the best flavors from your beers.

One more time, drink your IPAs fresh. It puts a lot of pressure on you to drink your beers after a big brewery haul so don't bite off more than you can chew the next time you make a pitstop at a brewery. All three of the beers in these pictures were purchased within under a week of packaging and consumed within two to three weeks of that date. Don't be a dink, drink your beers fresh and don't trade or share beers with others that are beyond their peak dates of consumption.

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