The number of craft beer styles is seemingly endless: Maibocks, Stouts and Porters — the list goes on. To help readers jump into this world of indie beer, we’ve compiled a style guide to help you wet your whistle.

For our first style guide, we’ve broken down an increasingly popular style in recent years: India Pale Ale (IPA), so named because of its popularity with British troops stationed in India.

While all IPA styles feature a high level of hops — their distinguishing feature — their nuances are still wide-ranging.

Here are some of the most popular variants to try in Madison.

American IPA

American hops are the distinguishing factor of American style India Pale Ales. Usually featuring an herbal or citrusy flavor with a relatively light malt body, they can come in colors ranging from light golden hues to red amber.

Recommended: Fantasy Factory (Karben4Brewing, Madison)

English IPA

English Style India Pale Ales, in contrast to their American counterparts, feature English hops, characterized by floral and earthy flavors.  They feature a more balanced taste between the hops and malt flavors, and the color is usually a hue of gold.

Recommended: East India IPA (Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY)

Imperial IPA

Imperial, or Double, India Pale Ales feature a bold hop flavor and bitterness that’s quite stronger than the previous varieties. Imperials also feature higher alcohol by volume, sometimes as high as 10.5 percent.

Recommended: Imperial IPA (KelSo Beer Co, Brooklyn, NY)

Black IPA

Black India Pale Ales, also known as American Black Ales, are known to be dark brown or pure black from the use of dark malts, which give the beer a roasted malt flavor. Black IPAs still feature a high level of hops, differentiating themselves from other IPA varieties with this unique combination. 

Recommended: Black Top (New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus)