What does IPA stand for?
IPA is simply an acronym, which stands for India Pale Ale. Despite it’s namesake, India Pale Ales weren’t actually created in India. The short version of the story goes like this…
George Hodgson’s, owner of the Bow Brewery in England, used his established connections with the East India Trading company to ship his porters and ‘October Ales’ to the Indian market. Over time, Hodgson’s refined the recipes of his October Ales (the basis for what what would eventually be known as India Pale Ales) to better suite the harsh environment of the long sea voyage from England to India. Hodgson’s accomplished this by ramping up the alcohol content and by adding additional hops (dry-hopping) to the beer during the journey. Thanks to the higher than average alcohol content and the natural preservative qualities of hops, these early India Pale Ales were great candidates for surviving the long journey. While porters were also very popular amongst the English-men stationed in Colonial India at the time, India Pale Ales quickly became a popular alternative. The light malts it was brewed with was a refreshing alternative to their usual supply of Porters.
What does an IPA taste like?
IPA’s are all about the hops. Hops are able to impart a complex range of unique aroma’s, bitterness and flavor to the beer – ranging from a citrus or grapefruit type flavor to earthy, spicy or even fruity. With hops playing such a defining role in the style, Most IPA’s feature a strong malt backbone to help balance the beer against the hoppy and bitter flavor profile. Bitter, Aromatic and full of hops flavor. That’s the only way to describe an IPA. The truth is, despite the IPA’s capacity to be deeply complex, aromatic and damned delicious (If i do say so myself!) – seasoned IPA drinkers admit that it can definitely be an acquired taste. It’s one of those things that you either love or hate. It’s for this reason you may want to consider starting out with a session IPA. These share all the characteristics of an IPA and are often described as a lighter and more drinkable version of a more traditional IPA style beer. Which is great for someone just entering the world of these aggressively hopped beers.
IPA Beer Today
India Pale Ales now account for more than 25% of the craft beer sold in the United States.That’s a truly staggering number. In the U.S. alone, consumers spent 658.3 million dollars on IPA’s in 2014. And it’s not just consumers, the trend is even more pronounced amongst the homebrewing community. In last years Great American Beer Festival, The IPA style category dominated the competition with 279 entries, while it’s foundation style “Pale Ales” took second place with 145 entries. Love them or hate them – There is no denying that IPA’s and their band of loyal followers have had a huge impact on the state of craft beer in America.