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Stop pretending to like IPAs

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This originally appeared in my Broke-Ass City column in the SF Examiner.

There’s something I need to say. It’s a tough thing to do and takes bravery, but this has been weighing on my moral compass for far too long. It’s about time someone comes out with it and speaks up, so here I go:

IPAs are a lie.

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There, I said it. In a few years, Americans will all look at each other and shrug:

“To be honest, I never liked IPAs.”

“You neither?”

“Nah, I just went along with it because I thought I was supposed to like them.”

“Me too!”

An India Pale Ale, IPA for short, is a strong, hoppy beer that basically gives your tongue a wedgie, noogie and purple-nurple all at the same time, while making your taste buds scream, “Uncle!” And when your little buds do scream, the IPA calls them a wuss. That’s right: IPAs are the bullies of beers, and Americans are falling all over themselves pretending they are delicious.

I know, I know. I just heard that, too. It was the sound of speechlessness. Of pint glasses slipping from hands in cinematic slow-motion before shattering on the floor. Of beer droplets standing on the precipice of beards, beading on the end, as they decide whether or not to jump. Yes, beer drinkers, I went there. I just besmirched the mighty IPA. And no, I will not take it back.

It wasn’t always this way. The IPAs that came out 15-plus years ago, like Racer 5 and Lagunitas, were more balanced and inviting. Sure, they were hoppier and more bitter than other beers, but they weren’t assholes about it. And beer lists weren’t catered just toward them.

Sometime in the past decade, brewers decided beer wasn’t hoppy enough. They began one-upping each other, trying to see who could make a beer so hoppy that the drinker’s face would pucker up like an angry anus. They wanted to see whose beer could make it feel like your tonsils had been stomped out by a street gang.

They wanted to craft beer so hoppy that it would steal you soul.

That last part might be a little hyperbolic, but you get the point.

Somehow, Americans have convinced themselves the more hellish a beer tastes, the better it must be. Do you really want to drink a quintuple IPA that uses eleventy kinds of hops and has been arrested for assault? Sure, it gets you drunk quicker, but so does Mad Dog 20/20, and I don’t see you drinking that.

I’m asking you to stand up and demand good tasting beer. Put down that mean-spirited IPA and pick up something that actually makes you smile. There are so many kinds of beer out there to choose from, why go with the one that bullies your taste buds? You can get drunk and enjoy it, too.

I’ve just opened the door for you, now all you’ve got to do is step through it.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, Geek.com and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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