7. Proof Brewing Co. Warpath
City: Tallahassee, FL
The verdict: You want proof that a DIPA with some malt character can still compete in the world of the NE-IPA? Look no further than this entry from Florida’s Proof Brewing Co., which lands in a beautiful middle-ground between IPA generations. On the nose, it evokes modernity: “a big blast of tropical fruit, clean citrus, lemon and resin,” according to one score sheet. But then on the palate, you realize there’s more to this particular DIPA than just the hop presence—it’s also fairly malty, with notes of toasted bread, moderate caramel and enough booziness to make itself felt. It’s modern and nostalgic all at once, which made it resonate across generations of tasters as well. From another score sheet: “Rich, complex flavors. Just has a little bit of everything.” Ultimately, this type of tasting favors the extreme hop bombs on some level, but beers like Warpath still manage to find their way into the top 10 when executed with just the right degree of deftness.