IPA’s: Unleashing the Bold Flavours of India Pale Ales

Written by Carne Reed

26 September 2023

When it comes to bold and assertive flavours in the world of craft beer, India Pale Ales (IPAs) reign supreme. Smack Republic Brewing Co’s Braamfontein Brawler IPA is a testament to the timeless appeal of this style, offering assertive bitterness, full-flavoured hoppy goodness, and a delightful balance of citrus and pine notes.

Origin and Characteristics

The history of IPAs can be traced back to the 18th century when British brewers sought to create a beer that could withstand long sea voyages to India. Brewers found that the beers which handled the trip best were those that had higher levels of alcohol and greater amounts of hops. So, they intentionally created strong hoppy pale ales specifically for the purpose of export to India. The style quickly gained popularity during the height of British colonialism. After falling out of favour as pale lagers became ubiquitous, the style was rediscovered and revitalized by American craft brewers in the 1980s and evolved into the vibrant and diverse category we know today.

One of the defining characteristics of IPAs is elevated levels of bitterness, which is perfectly exemplified in Smack Republic’s IPA. With an ABV of 5.5% and a pronounced bitterness, our IPA showcases the boldness and full-flavoured experience that craft beer enthusiasts seek.

Flavour Profile and Aromas

Smack Republic’s IPA tantalizes the senses with its bold and complex flavour profile. The aroma bursts with bold notes of grapefruit, mango, lychee, and papaya, creating a tropical fruit medley. These vibrant hop aromas take centre stage, complemented by light grassy notes. The malt adds depth to the aroma, with hints of toast, caramel, and cookies, contributing to a well-rounded olfactory experience.

On the palate, this IPA delivers a symphony of flavours. Leading with assertive grapefruit and tropical fruit notes – showcasing the power of the hops – it is supported by caramel, toffee, and toasty malt flavours providing a robust backbone to balance the intense hop bitterness. While the bitterness is a defining characteristic of IPAs, Smack Republic’s IPA achieves a smooth and well-balanced profile, where the malt sweetness offsets the bitterness, resulting in a harmonious flavour experience. The finish is long, with hints of malt sweetness gradually giving way to a lingering yet smooth bitterness.

Perfect Pairings and Drinkability

Smack Republic’s IPA is not only a pleasure to drink on its own, but also complements a variety of flavourful dishes. Its hop-forward nature makes it an excellent accompaniment to mushroom and Parmesan risotto, grilled steak or lamb chops, Thai green curry, and nutty cheeses such as Gouda or Maasdam. The IPA’s robust flavours enhance the richness of these dishes, creating a harmonious union of taste.

While IPAs can be overwhelming for the uninitiated, they often attract beer enthusiasts who enjoy complexity and bitterness. When introducing someone to IPAs, it’s important to set expectations and highlight the sweet malt and fruity hop notes that play a crucial role in managing the bitterness. By showcasing the interplay between bitterness and balance, newcomers can appreciate the nuanced flavours and enjoy the journey of exploring IPAs.

It’s worth noting that IPAs often appeal to non-traditional beer drinkers, as their complexity and bold flavours overlap with those found in wine and cocktails. Drawing comparisons to these familiar beverages can help bridge the gap and introduce newcomers to the world of IPAs. Check out the detailed tasting notes and pairing for our west coast style IPA here:  Braamfontein Brawler Tasting Notes

Embrace the Boldness of IPA’s

India Pale Ales continue to captivate the taste buds of beer enthusiasts, and Smack Republic’s IPA exemplifies the best this style has to offer. Its intense bitterness, vibrant hop flavours, and well-rounded malt profile create a remarkable drinking experience that delights the senses.

As a Johannesburg craft brewery, we think this beer is a lot like our wonderful city – quite intense, but hugely rewarding. Experience bold South African craft beer and embark on a flavour adventure with IPA, where complexity and boldness meet in perfect harmony. Let Smack Republic’s IPA be your guide as you explore the world of intense hop flavours, balanced bitterness, and the joy of savouring each sip. Discover the allure of India Pale Ales and elevate your craft beer journey to new heights.


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