With the craft brewery boom, certain beer styles have emerged as favorites. One of the most (if not the most) popular styles is IPA beer. But what does it mean if a beer is an IPA? What do they taste like? Why do people love them so much? If you’re curious about this popular beer style, check out our short guide to IPA beer.
Here is a short guide to IPA beer.
What does IPA stand for?
IPA is an abbreviation for India Pale Ale.
According to legend (may be true, may not be. We don’t know, we weren’t there!), the term IPA was coined back in the colonial era. Since India was too hot and humid to brew beer, (and sailors didn’t want to go without) a beer was developed that could survive a trip from the British Isles to India. This new beer style featured copious amounts of hops to act as a preservative, keeping the beer tasty for months. This over-hopped style of beer slowly grew in popularity, and the beers gradually became paler for maximum refreshment in the Indian climate... The first recorded instance of a beer being described as an IPA was in an Australian newspaper advertisement in 1829..
What does it mean if a beer is an IPA?
Simply put, an IPA beer is a hop-heavy style of beer. While it is in the pale ale category, they are a bit more intense in taste. IPA beers typically have IBU (International Bittering Unit) levels between 40 - 60, with some styles reaching levels of 120, matched in bitterness only by American Barleywine..
Why do people like IPA beer so much?
The popularity of IPA beer mirrors the rise of craft beer in America. While most commercial breweries produce beer that is more mild in flavor to appeal to their mass-market audience, craft breweries lean towards more intense flavors.
IPA lovers enjoy the strong flavor of the style; double and triple IPAs have an even hoppier flavor. Different strains of hops have different flavors including citrus and pine; IPA beer brings those flavors out. Nearly every craft brewery has a staple IPA, so hop lovers appreciate the widespread availability of IPA beer. Many brewers also put fruit in their IPA beers, making them fruiter and more approachable to new craft beer drinkers.
How do I find an IPA beer I like?
With so many different beers falling under the IPA beer umbrella, there is an IPA for every craft beer lover. Summer is an excellent time to begin (or continue) your quest for your dream IPA beer; they are the perfect beer for a hot day, and with many craft breweries offering different styles and flavors based on the season, you will have the widest variety of options in the summer.
Looking for the perfect gift for an IPA beer lover? Shop the pictured beer soap (made with a Hazy IPA beer) by clicking here.