Behind the IPA Hype

Written by on August 5th, 2014 // Filed under Beer, Event

So 7th August has been dedicated the title of international India Pale Ale Day, or IPA Day.  Prominent craft beer folk in the US wanted to dedicate a day to arguably the most influential style of craft beer which has helped shape the craft beer revolution in the last 25 years, and so bingo! IPA Day was born.

But why the hype around the IPA, and why dedicate a day to this one style of beer?

The IPA represents all that is good with craft beer and the craft beer movement. In simple terms, an IPA is about as polar opposite from a bland lager as you can possibly get.  It is a beer style that has a lot of depth. A complex malt backbone is complemented by equally complex hop profiles, providing a beer that delights in both flavour and aroma. The high hopping rates provide a beer that is normally more bitter than standard pale ales, and the intense aromas you can experience are typically fruity to earthy, depending on the variation of the beer. It is a beer style with complexity and punch that is difficult to match.

If you are new to the craft beer scene, your initial forays into the world of IPAs may be a little daunting, as the maltiness, bitterness and intense aromas can be somewhat overwhelming. However, sooner rather than later, the appreciation towards this style grows, and before you know it your love of hops comes to the fore and another IPA-loving-hophead is born!

But why is it called an India Pale Ale? Where did it come from? Is this Indian beer?

We are often asked these questions in the brewery. There has been a lot written on the origin of the IPA in recent times, and it appears to be a subject that most beer historians can never agree on! The IPA is a style that evolved in England in the 19th century, when beers were brewed for export to colonial India. The beers were generally very highly hopped and had a higher alcohol content, which helped the beer survive the voyage by ship to India (as hops and alcohol are natural preservatives). The beer had to endure a 3 month journey in wooden cask barrels, so a lot could go wrong! It is also understood that ‘paler’ beers were preferred in the hot Indian climate, as opposed to porters and stouts which were the popular styles of beer in England during that period.

So that, in a nutshell, illuminates the hype around one of our favourite beer styles, the India Pale Ale.  And what better way to celebrate the craft beer revolution than to crack open a nice bitter IPA on IPA Day!

Jozi’s second IPA Day celebration is happening at SMACK! headquarters at Arts on Main this Thursday 7th August.  We look forward to seeing you hopheads there!

 *Get your tickets here