IPA- India Pale Ale. What are they, exactly?
According to Brewers Association, India Pale Ales (IPAs) remained the most favored craft beer style. According to retail scan data, IPA is up 47 percent by volume and 49 percent by dollar sales. Accounting for 21 percent volume share of craft and 23 percent dollar share of off-premise beer sales. Additionally, the style was the number one entered category at the Great American Beer Festival®.
The stars of the hop world. As with a number of brewing styles, IPA was born out of necessity. When the British were colonizing India, the beers they sent down to their troops kept spoiling during the long sea voyage.
Defining IPA is easy. All in all, a very hoppy pale ale. Brewed with the maximum amount of hops, which are localized per brew.
IPA’s have been around for over 175 years, not surprisingly and are still going strong. The popularity of hoppy beer is rising, due to this, we can count on the numbers staying up. It’s about the taste and flavor. Most importantly, drinkers need to be able to savor every drop.
Not only is the IPA most popular, they are extremely accessible. Most grocery stores carry at least one type, and liquor stores have several on hand at all times.
IPA’s make up three different subcategories – American, English, and Imperial/Double.
- American IPA- Medium high bitterness and alcohol content. Fruity, floral and citrus hops are generally main uses for flavor. (Immortal IPA– Elysian Brewing)
- English IPA- Medium high bitterness and alcohol content. Earthy and herbal hops mixed in for a different crisp flavor. (Blind Faith-Magic Hat Brewing Company)
- Imperial/Double IPA-Intense hop flavor, Medium to high alcohol content. Fruity esters and high malt make this IPA rich and full of hoppy flavor. (Voodoo Ranger-New Belgium)
Other IPAs are starting to make their way into popularity due to high demand. These beers include Wheat, Black, and Belgian Style IPA’s.
India Pale Ale has some competition. Sour beers are now more popular than ever, furthermore blowing up in the breweries. IPA’s top the list for many. IPABeer.com has a database of 109 IPA’s, so you are bound to find at least one you will love.
IPA’s are not for the timid, especially the non-beer drinkers. If you are a hop lover, these beers are for you.
Also, remember to drink responsibly because these bad boys pack a mean punch. Please don’t drink and drive!
Until next beer snobs!