It's Off to India we Go!May 8, 2001 (Updated Oct 28, 2006) Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Refrigerators and FreezersThe Bottom Line India Pale Ale is often bitter with complex flavors. It's an acquired taste that many will not like.
India Pale Ale is an interesting style of beer thats characterized by its high concentration of hops. This type of beer was almost unheard of in the United States before the craft beer revolution of the 1980s. Even today, the majority of craft- brewers do not produce this style. Even the few that do decide to brew IPA only do so after they have already introduced several other styles first. Lets take a closer look at the IPA style of beer.
History of India Pale Ale:
Its no accident that IPA was given its name. This style of beer was named after India. The English created this type of beer because they needed a malt beverage that could survive the voyage to India. They quickly discovered that ordinary ale did not have the ability to remain fresh over such a long period of time. With the constantly changing temperatures aboard the ships and the constant rolling of the seas, a beer had to be capable of withstanding all of these harsh conditions. In order to preserve the beer, George Hodgson, an English brewer, decided to increase the amount of hops, and the India Pale Ale style was born! Extra hops meant that the beer would ferment more slowly. This ensured that, when the voyage to India was complete, everyone would have plenty of fresh beer to drink.
Characteristics of India Pale Ale:
As stated before, this style of beer is known for its higher than average hop content. The aroma is usually floral and/or fruity, and the color of IPA is usually copper or dark golden. The flavor of IPA is characterized by hops, and some are more assertive than others. There is usually minimal malt flavor. In some cases, brewers will try to increase the malt flavor to balance the intensity of the hops. But, more often than not, IPA has a strong hop bitterness, especially in the finish, and often a citrus- like flavor at the beginning. The taste is similar to pale ale, with additional hop flavor and dryness.
The alcohol level of IPA is often higher than other beers, ranging from 5 percent to 8 percent by volume. The original gravity is also higher, falling in the 1.050 to 1.080 range, and the ending gravity is usually in the range of 1.010 to 1.016. The IBU (International Bittering Units) ranges from moderate to extreme. I have had some IPA that were rated 40 IBU, and some as high as 80 IBU. In the United States, many craft brewers have experimented more with IPA (since its an acquired taste, anyway, I assume it's because they feel more free to experiment) and in some instances, they have created some very strong, very bitter beer with complex taste characteristics.
Good Examples of India Pale Ale:
Some good IPA that I have tried over the years would include Samuel Smith India Ale; Brooklyn East India Pale Ale; Goose Island IPA; Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale; Great Lakes Brewing Company Commodore Perry IPA; and Fullers IPA.
India Pale Ale is an interesting style of beer, but its not the type that would be acceptable to many members of the general public. Thats the main reason you dont see many IPA on the beer shelf in the supermarket. In fact, unless you go to a specialty beverage store, you may not be able to find any IPA at all. Even at a grocery store with a large selection of beer, you are lucky to find even one India Pale Ale. Retailers know that this type of beer isnt agreeable to the palates of most people, so they dont sell very much.
Personally, I like IPA from time to time. The bitterness is good, every now and then, when Im not in the mood for a sweet- tasting beer. But remember that the strong taste of hops wont appeal to many people. In other words, if youre planning to buy a keg of beer for a party, I dont recommend buying IPA. Unless your party guests are seasoned beer veterans, they are likely to take one taste, then spit the beer right back into their glasses.
We can thank the English for inventing this interesting style of beer. More specifically, we can thank English Imperialism. All those thirsty Englishmen in India demanded fresh beer to drink, and had it not been for this, the IPA style may never have been created.
Hats off to the English for their beer- making innovations!
Be Sure to Click the Links Below to Read Advice on Other Beer Types:
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