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What is an IPA?

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Hey there.

What is an IPA🍺

Some sort of loan you were mis-sold by your bank? Or a type of beer…

Why do some people seem to love them while others seem to loathe them? 

These are the questions we’re going to answer in this boozy article dedicated to the IPA. 👇

Brief History

An IPA - which stands for Indian Pale Ale - is probably the most popular beer in the craft beer world. Go visit any brewery and you’ll find them making at least one IPA. What type of IPA would they be making? It depends because there are so many (more on this later). 

The rise of the IPA is actually quite extraordinary. The beer started life back in Blighty in the 18th century, when it was noted as being a “pale, well-hopped autumn-brewed stock bitter beer, popular with the eighteenth-century landed classes, who brewed it themselves on their country estates and kept it as ‘stock’ beer was meant to be kept, for a year to two years to mature.” 

This beer was shipped to India by sailors, hence its name. The journey took six months, and by the time the beer was poured, the sailors realised it tasted so much better than it did on British shores six months earlier. As a result, the IPA as we know it was born. 

Not long afterwards, Burton, England became its new home. From here, it got stronger and hoppier until it emerged out of the Victorian Age and into World War 1, where its popularity declined. 

However, it was resurrected in the 1970s and given a stronger taste. And as breweries have experimented with it, new styles have been born. 

Colours - IPAs are typically light and golden. 

Taste - It’s impossible to give one answer to this, as there are many different styles and tastes! 

But IPAs tend to be very flavoursome, even if they’re often bitter and hoppy. Now and then you’ll find a sweeter-tasting IPA, as well as a fruitier IPA. 

ABV - IPAs typically range in strength from 5% to 6%. But there are also higher strength IPAs that have a 17% ABV. 

Styles - There are many different IPA styles. Here are the ones to look out for: 

British IPA - The British IPA was the first ever IPA. Whilst it’s no longer the most popular style in 2020, the British variant is malty and bitter. 

West Coast IPA - If you love your fruity beers, you’ll love a glass of West Coast IPA. They’re still bitter but a crisp body and some very flavoursome fruit notes give the beer more vibrancy than is typical for an IPA. 

Oat IPA - There’s something truly comforting about an Oat IPA. The oats give the beer a softer feel and allow you to drift away into your bank of happy memories while supping a pint at your favourite cosy pub. Lovely, fruity stuff. 

Belgian IPA - Belgian beers are incredibly popular. Their IPAs are tinged with Belgian yeast, and it’s this yeast that gives the beer warmer, sweeter notes. You’ll notice a bread-like texture and taste, too. Perfect for getting warm in front of the fire on a cold winter’s evening. 

What Next? - Now that you’ve levelled up your IPA knowledge, the next step is to visit our beer shop and pick out a few bottles of the style that sounds right for you. Or, you could do what I do and try all the styles.

Just me? OK. 

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