narrow gauge brewing co.'s counterpole image courtesy of narrow gauge brewing co.

Cold IPAs join the growing roster of IPA styles

There’s a new IPA in town. A fairly recent development in the rapidly expanding world of India pale ales (IPAs), a cold IPA is a crisp marriage of multiple styles, including India pale lager (IPL), West Coast IPA and New England IPA.

Local brewery Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. has hopped on the trend, which emerged in Portland, Oregon, in late 2018. “It’s definitely a pretty new style,” said Jeff Hardesty, co-owner and head brewer at Narrow Gauge. “As far as I know, no one else in St. Louis has done one, and I always like to dive into new styles and give our own take on it.”

Hardesty primarily was drawn to the style because it has more of a crisp, dry profile than typical IPAs. “The crisp body is more refreshing,” he explained. “It still has a high hop aroma but is also very drinkable.”
Utilizing lager grain bills (i.e., the particular mix of grains that form the beer’s base liquid), Hardesty hops his cold IPAs in a kettle like a West Coast IPA, then dry hops them like a New England IPA. To finish, they are fermented with lager yeast at ale temperature, meaning that rather than fermenting at the colder temperatures usually used when producing a lager, he instead heats them to the relatively higher temperatures typically used for ales. 

mother’s brewing co. stone cold helper cold ipa // photo by izaiah johnson

Tasting notes depend on the hop combinations used in each particular cold IPA, but they are typically a bit more resinous than regular IPAs due to a higher hopping rate in the kettle. “They often have high citrus or tropical fruit notes,” Hardesty said. 

Narrow Gauge’s first cold IPA, Poles Apart, debuted in May 2021. Subsequently, the brewery released Frozen Flag and Counterpole. Currently, there are no cold IPAs on offer at Narrow Gauge, but Hardesty expects a new batch of Counterpole to become available in mid-March. 

Counterpole is brewed with a Pilsner malt base and features a rice adjunct of about 25% to 30%, plus smaller percentages of some specialty malts, Hardesty said. Bright tropical fruit notes shine through due to the use of Sabro, Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin hops.

Whether the trend will continue to gain traction remains to be seen. “I have a seen a little bit of it, but not a ton,” Hardesty said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be like brut IPAs that kind of came and went pretty quick, or if it’s here to stay.”

Try it:

Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. Counterpole, Four-pack: $16.50. Narrow Gauge Brewing Co., 1595 US-67, Florissant, 314.501.6108,

Mother’s Brewing Co. Stone Cold Helper Cold IPA, Six-pack: $10. Saint Louis Hop Shop, 2600 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.261.4011,