Profile - India Pale Ale - IPA
Pale Ale, Wheat
Cascade, Chinook, Colombus
Light citrus and sweet apricots
Refreshing citrus notes well balanced by a smooth honeyed malt backbone
Brew notes - India Pale Ale
The first known mention of India Pale Ale was in 1835. Before that it was known as beer for the India market, India Beer or even the 'champagne of malt'.
This was beer that was brewed for export to the colonies and had to be able to withstand months at sea in hot climates as ships travelled from the UK to India or any other parts of the British Empire. The beer tended to be relatively high in alcohol compared to today's beers (5 to 9% abv) and heavily hopped. Hops and alcohol have a natural preservative effect and so helped in preventing the beer becoming infected.
Naturally, it was the London brewers with their close proximity to the East India Company docks who first took advantage of these markets. However, with the opening of the railways and improved transport links the Burton brewers and Edinburgh brewers, whose water was hard and ideal for brewing pale ales, began to take more of the market share and became famous for their India Beers.
As colonials returned home they retained a taste for the Empire beers and brewers responded by brewing the style for the domestic as well as export markets.
During the First World War due to increased taxation (supposedly a temporary measure!) and raw material shortages brewers decreased the strength of beers and the hopping rates. IPA as a style almost died out but was kept alive by a small number of regional breweries albeit as a shadow of its former self.
More recently there has been a resurgence in the style and it is now one of the most recognised and popular ale styles crossing the boundaries between a lighter lager style and a more flavoursome ale.