Tap This: Your taste buds are in for a treat with a sip of the IPL, a blend of ale and lager
Craft beer drinkers know the IPA beer style. The India Pale Ale is, by far, the most popular style of beer within the craft beer world. It has garnered enough popularity that it has begun crossbreeding with other beer styles.
While the black IPA (or Cascadian dark ale for the purists) and white IPA (a hoppy wheat ale) are not far stretches away from the base IPA style, there is a fast growing hybrid that takes the IPA to new territory, the IPL.
The IPL is a cross between the IPA and lager beer. The result of this is a super smooth and creamy hoppy lager. Why does this combination work so well? Here’s a few reasons:
The smooth, crisp malt profile of the lager makes for easy drinking beers. The additions of the hops are the perfect accompaniment and due to the lagering process, are not as sharp as in many IPAs.
For those not familiar with the difference between ales and lagers, the main difference is the yeast. Ale yeast is what is referred to as top fermenting. This is the style of yeast typically used in IPAs.
Lager yeast is bottom fermenting and is best suited for colder temperatures. This means that to brew a lager it typically takes months of fermentation time. This is what gives lagers a smooth mouthfeel and easy drinking quality along with a malt forward taste with a low hop profile.
While the process for lagers is typically longer, many brewers of IPLs found shortcuts in the lagering process that enables beers to have lager qualities but with fresh hop taste and aroma. While many German beer purists may scoff, the results are wonderful.
Hops are the darling ingredient in the craft beer world with new varieties hitting the market every week. These new varieties bring with them a crossbreeding of flavors and aromas that make many of these hop reliant beers fresh and exciting.
While some craft beer drinkers have become jaded by the onslaught of hop forward IPAs the introduction of the IPL is seemingly breathing new life into many hop lovers palates. The smooth mouthfeel and malt presence helps prevent the palate fatigue typically associated with drinking very hoppy IPAs.
So whether you are a fan of IPA’s or not trying some of the wonderful IPL’s that have hit the market in recent months will surely awaken your palate to new possibilities.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.