What Is IPA Beer?
Golden in appearance with a frothy head, bubbles rising to the top of the glass – who doesn’t love a nice cold pint of beer? It’s estimated that 8.5 billion pints are drunk in the UK every year. Whether you drink yours down the pub or in your living room after work, it’s clear us Brits can’t get enough of this tipple.
The History Of IPA
Back in the late 1700s, England held a large colonial presence in India. Those who travelled between the two countries had a huge appetite for beer. The trouble was, the voyage from England to India was fraught with difficulty when it came to maintaining the quality of the beer. Especially given it was long before the days of refrigeration!
At first, the beer would remain chilled as the ships sailed through the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean. But as they got towards Africa, the temperature of the sea rose considerably essentially cooking the beer to a frothy mess. Once it eventually reached India, the beer tasted terrible because it had spoiled.
IPA was developed as a solution to the problem. It involved brewing a pale ale with higher levels of hops and alcohol to help preserve the flavour of the beer. More sugar was also added to achieve a higher alcohol content, which meant the beer wouldn’t spoil.
You’re probably wondering how a beer style from hundreds of years ago suddenly became popular again. It was actually down to the discovery of craft beer in the late 20th century in America that saw brewers seek out old styles of beer.
It was at this point that people rediscovered IPA before the rest of the world then caught on. IPA remains in demand with no signs of slowing down.
The characteristic of IPA that sets it apart from regular beer is the intense hoppy flavour.
As well as being typically low in alcohol, IPAs also have a bitter aroma. Though depending on where the variety was produced, it can also have a vast array of tasting notes. These vary from tropical fruits, oranges and limes, right through to coconut and pepper.
Overall, IPA is a very diverse beer style which again is one of the reasons why it’s so popular, especially on the craft beer circuit.