ENGLAND TO INDIA – THE ORIGIN OF THE IPA
Necessity, not taste, brought about the currently most popular style of beer. The “need” for beer to last from England to India in the early 1800’s required a recipe that wouldn’t spoil as quickly as the current beers of the day.
The East India Trading Company commissioned a beer that would last the 4 to 6 month sea voyage from England to India. “More cowbell” is the solution to a fever, but the solution to preserving beer was hops, as they act as a preservative. Along with a higher alcohol content relative to the other beers of the day, this new style of beer withstood the journey unspoiled.
This new “India Style” pale ale has evolved into the wide variety of IPA’s we have today. The bitterness that the hops add is sought after by a large segment of beer drinkers these days.
American Pale Ales (APA) are a slightly less bitter than the “standard” IPA.
India Pale Ales (IPA) are the reference point as far as bitterness goes.
Double IPA or Imperial IPA are India Pale Ales with even more hops added. These are the most bitter of the style and typically have the highest alcohol content.
India Pale Lager (IPL), Black IPA, Belgian IPA and Wheat IPA are created by adding more hops to the base beer style to give them more hop bitterness.