IPA is by far the world’s most popular style of craft beer. But while many of us drink it regularly, there are lots of assumptions and myths that we take as fact, but that often pure fiction. Here are 9 facts about IPA that you probably didn’t know.
The High Alcohol Level of IPA Has Nothing To Do With Needing To Survive The Journey From England To India
This is a myth that IPA fans like to tout as justification for many of the high-gravity IPAs on the market – they’re just honoring history. But in fact, in the 1700s the beers weren’t that high in alcohol at all, with the average being around 6% ABV, and they seemed to make the journey just fine.
IPA Wasn’t Originally Made For British Troops
While it’s true that IPAs were incredibly popular in India with the Brits, it was not a beer that was specifically invented for the market or to survive the journey as discussed above. In fact, pale ales have been in existence since at least the 17th century. And those who enjoyed these beers weren’t the troops in the British Army, but the upper classes from England and the rest of Europe who had chosen to settle in India. The British troops actually preferred porter.
Historically IPA Was Drunk Ice-Cold
If you told a current IPA fan that the beer was supposed to be “as cold as the rockies,” they’d probably throw their beer in your face, but it’s actually true that traditional English IPAs were meant to be drunk as cold as possible. It was more refreshing that way.
The First Time An IPA Was Actually Called An IPA Was In Australia
While Australia is not the first place to brew an IPA, they were the first place to call it one. The name East India Pale Ale appeared in an 1829 ad printed in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser but the ad didn’t mention the brewery that was making it.
The Best Selling New Craft Beer In 2014 Was Sam Adams Rebel IPA
Sam Adams was late to the IPA game, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped them from creating an incredibly popular beer. Those critical of the beer claim its popularity is due mostly to the distribution power Sam Adams holds, but that can’t be definitively proven.
There Are Many Different Styles Of IPA, American Is The Most Popular
This is a more hop-forward style of IPA that is a departure from the English style known for being more of a balance between malt and hops. With an American IPA, it’s all about the hops, aroma and bitterness. In fact, though many try and claim American IPAs are closer to the original than their British counterparts, this could not be further from the truth. American IPAs utilize hops that weren’t even known by brewers in the 17th and 18th century, so the claim that American IPAs are the true originals doesn’t hold water.
Good IPAs Are Hard To Make
While almost every brewery makes an IPA, it can be hard at times to find stellar ones. That’s because a good IPA is all about balance, and that balance can quickly be thrown out of whack with hops that are too aggressive, or a beer that is too alcoholic. Creating a great IPA takes skill.
The Term Double-IPA Was First Coined By Vinnie Cilurzo, Owner Of Russian River Brewing Company
When Vinnie Cilurzo was the brewmaster of The Blind Pig Brewing Co., his first batch of beer had to count. But since he was making beer on old second-hand equipment, he wasn’t sure he could be nuanced with his flavors, so he just decided to add as many hops to the brew as possible. The result was the first commercial Double IPA.
Session IPA Is The Fastest Growing Category Of IPA
While high-gravity IPAs used to be all the rage, it seems the industry and consumers are turning to lower-alcohol, sessionable beers in droves. These beers still have the hop flavors most IPA fans love, but they’re missing the boozy punch.