If you want to have a beer and celebrate, National IPA Day is Aug. 4; the perfect time for an impromptu celebration.
The hop forward style is the runaway favorite among craft beer drinkers and has certainly warranted a holiday. The IPA has a rich history stemming from the UK and is the growing favorite among many international craft beer lovers.
Here is a brief rundown of the IPA, or India Pale Ale: it was originally brewed by the British in the 18th century, but they were not nearly as heavily hopped as today’s beers. The style was originally known as a pale ale and, as breweries began exporting, some would be marked as pale ales prepared for India. Around 1829, they bean being called India Pale Ales.
In time, the style fell out of favor and, was barely known about in the United States. It was not widely brewed until Anchor Brewing created Liberty Ale in 1975. The beer is now considered the first modern interpretation of the IPA style and gave rise to the widely popular American IPA.
The style did not take off. It did not catch on until the 2000s. In that time, many breweries began making interpretations of the style that have grown more and more aggressive with hop flavoring and bitterness and eventually gave rise to the American Double IPA.
Location has also helped with popularizing the American IPA. For many years there were two schools of thought on the IPA: the more aggressively hopped West Coast style and the more balanced, somewhat malt forward East Coast style.
The latest craze in the IPA world has turned both coasts’ brewing styles on their heads. The New England hazy IPA is now the dominant and most sought after IPA. Devotees can line up for hours at breweries and distributors just to get their hands on the delicious beer.
The biggest difference with the hazy styled IPA is clarity and a juicy quality that replaces the bitter dry finish in others. The hazy IPA is, well, hazy with an appearance that is almost like orange juice. The dry, biting quality in other IPAs is replaced with a strong fruit quality from the hops that has a very juicy taste and mouthfeel.
Brewers continue to push the boundaries on style.
Celebrate with any of these great IPAs.
• Singlecut Beersmiths’ Softly Spoken Magic Spells
• Lagunitas Brewing’s Hop Stoopid
• Dogfish Head Brewery’s 60 Minute IPA
• Stone Brewing Company’s Ruination IPA
• Treehouse Brewing’s Julius
• Sole Artisan Ales’ Juicebox IPA
• Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA
• Trillium Brewing’s Congress Street IPA
• Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA
• Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA
• Alpine Beer Co.’s Pure Hoppiness
• Carton Brewing’s Boat Beer
• 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA
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.