No beer style has risen to greater prominence over the past decade than the IPA. But, how much do you really know about it? Here are seven interesting facts to amp up your hoppy IQ:
1. Australians Were the First to Call it an ‘India Pale Ale’
The IPA got its start in the late 1700s, when English brewers adopted more heavily hopped versions of their popular Pale / Bitter Ales for export to India. But, the earliest known documentation of the beers being called “India Pale Ale” is from a newspaper advertisement in Sydney, Australia, dated August 29, 1829.
Today, Australia’s well known in the world of IPAs thanks to internationally sought-after hop varieties like Ella, Enigma, Galaxy, Vic Secret, and Topaz. Breweries like New Image give American craft fans the opportunity to taste them in IPAs like Ella DDH Coriolis Effect.
2. IPAs Make Up the Largest Percentage of Craft Beer
If you went to bars before the 2010s, you probably had to scour the tap handles hoping they had an IPA. It’s no secret that the style has exploded over the past decade, and now, IPAs make up the largest percentage of all craft beer being made of any style. That’s 31.5%, according to the 2019 Beverage Industry Beer Report. Because beer sales and the number of breweries have grown exponentially at the same time, many publications and beer enthusiasts credit IPAs with spurring the contemporary craft beer renaissance.
3. There Are Officially 7 Different IPA Styles
The official 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines recognize seven different styles of “India Pale Ale.” There’s the English-Style IPA, the American-Style IPA, the American-Style Imperial or Double IPA, the Session IPA, the Experimental IPA, and finally, the Juicy or Hazy IPA, and the Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double IPA (many New England-style renditions like Pipeworks Brewing’s Speed of Sound and Wise Man’s Soft and Sublime are in the last category).
Wondering where newer IPA creations like Evil Twin’s fruit-packed Ryste series or More Brewing’s vanilla and berries-swirled Marbles series fall? The Brewers Association doesn’t acknowledge the “Milkshake IPA” as an official style… yet. These currently fall under the Experimental IPA category, but it’s worth noting that the Association is always taking into account modern trends and innovation. Case in point: the “Juicy or Hazy IPA” was only added in 2018.
4. There Aren’t Any Defined Rules for a Double IPA vs. a Triple IPA
While we’re talking about the Brewers Association, their official definition of an Imperial or Double IPA (also written as “IIPA” or “DIPA”) makes it clear that its alcohol level should fall somewhere in the 7.6% ABV to 10.6% ABV range, compared to regular versions which typically fall between 6.3% and 7.5%. So, when it comes to the increasingly common Triple IPA, it stands to reason that it should clock in above 10.6% ABV, right?
Not so fast! There are plenty of hopbombs like Untitled Art’s 9.8% ABV Hazier Triple IPA that beg to differ. When it comes down to it, the brewer decides what exactly they want to call it. These days, many brewers base the style more off of the hop quantities rather than the booziness, choosing terms like “Double” and “Triple” when they use double or triple the standard amount of hops.
5. The West Coast-Style Launched the Modern IPA Obsession
West Coast IPAs may not be too common in today’s ocean of hazies and juicebombs, but they kicked off the modern hop obsession back in the 90s. With big notes of pine and fruit wrapped in delectable hop bitterness, the West Coast IPA made waves as a standout among the lighter and sweeter beers that dominated after Prohibition ended.
The West Coast style has recently started popping up again in new beers like Culmination Brewing’s West Coast Story and Trophy Brewing’s Gotta Go Back.
6. The Ideal IPA Serving Temperature is Between 45- and 50-Degrees F
Depending on where you look, some people say that drinking IPAs ice cold is best for capturing the style’s traditionally dry, bitter finish. However, IPAs vary so much depending on who brewed them and additions like fruit and lactose. For Milkshake IPAs, sipping on the colder end enhances that velvety “shake” mouthfeel. For renditions with a lot of hop complexity, letting them warm up just a bit can reveal deeper nuances of flavor. Generally speaking, the most recommended temperature is between 45- and 50- degrees F.
7. IPAs Have Their Own Special Day
IPAs are so beloved, they have their own holiday! The first Thursday in August is National IPA Day, celebrated since 2011. Be sure to mark next year’s calendar so you can get stocked up! Check out the Tavour app for weekly IPA releases that transcend all styles.