My HBS just raised the prices of various liquid yeasts. Are there dry yeasts that are as good for IPA's? Recommendations please & should they be pitched dry or as a starter? Thanks.
Danstar BRY-97 is a great option for American-style IPAs. It starts out kind of rough, but if you give it enough time to condition, it makes an amazing beer.
Fermentis Safale US-05 and Danstar Nottingham also a popular choices for American-style IPAs. You should ferment them at the low end of their temperature ranges.
For English-style IPAs, you can use Safale S-04, or Danstar Windsor Ale (I haven't used it). You can also try to ferment at the high end of the range with US-05 (will give you some apricot-type notes).
It is hard to say whether any dry strain "rivals" a liquid strain because they have different characteristics in order to be able to be dried even if they originally come from the same source. But they do come from same sources as liquid yeast (e.g., WLP001, Wyeast 1056, US-05, and Bry-97 all come from the "Chico" strain, aka Sierra Nevada).
In terms of a starter, it is not advisable to make a starter with dry yeast. One pack should be OK to pitch into a moderate-gravity beer. If you need a higher cell count, pitch two packs of dry yeast -- dry yeast is cheap.