The India Pale Ale, or IPA, clearly deserves its own holiday. This is one of the most popular beer styles in the U.S. The India Pale Ale is over 180 years old and despite its name, the style originated in England.
A Brief History of the IPA
In the 1500s, the first hopped beers appeared in England, originating from Flanders. Hops contained preservative properties, and since water quality was often deemed unsafe, beer became the preferred beverage for every meal. Beer also became a necessity for survival on long sea voyages. In the 1700’s, exportation of beer rose as global exploration expanded. The route to the Indian colonies from England was a particularly difficult trip. During this time, many brewers attempted to ship beer on this 6-month voyage and failed.
In the mid-1700’s, brewers tested overly-hopped beer with high alcohol content and found it could survive the journey and still meet all quality standards. George Hodgson of Bow Brewery crafted a Pale Ale recipe that successfully made the trip, although it is unclear if he actually invented the India Pale Ale. Regardless of who actually made the discovery, the term “India Pale Ale” was not officially used in print until 1835. Burton Ales recorded one of the first accounts of this beer style. According to the 1843 statement, “the Indian Pale Ale is free from sweet characteristics and was dry with double the usual quantity of hops.”
Today’s Craft Beer
The American Craft Beer industry has taken quite a hold on the IPA style, giving way to the three big categories: American IPA, Double/Imperial, and American Pale Ale. The craft beer industry has brought even more variations to the table over the years: Black, White, Belgian, Double, Triple, Session, and pretty much whatever you could think up next. Variations of ingredients in these create the right fit for anyone with a love for hops. Hops alone can give you anything from floral aroma and flavors to citrusy grapefruit or a piney and resiny dank finish. This beer style has earned its place in the history books and surely a full day of celebration. CHEERS to this hoppy world we live in!
– Beer Librarian
Routson, Ashley. IPA Day Returns August 6, 2015. Craftbeer.com. Retrieved Aug. 3, 2015 http://www.craftbeer.com/news/ipa-day-returns-thursday-august-6
Steele, Mitch. IPA Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale. Brewer’s Publications, 2012.
IPA 101. IPABEER.com. Retrieved Aug 3, 2015. http://www.ipabeer.com/ipa101