“Oh Beer! Oh Hodgson, Guinness, Allsop, Bass. Names that should be on every infants tongue.”
– A verse from 18th century poets honoring beer around the time when Pale Ales came about.
Pale Ales and India Pale Ales date back to the late 1700’s. Refined brewing processes brought about a deep copper (pale) colored beer. Britains loved the new beer and it quickly became a favorite.
As British troops and civilians began settling in India, there became a high demand for beer to be shipped from the homeland. The problem was making the long journey around Africa, past the equator, to reach India. The high temperatures made it near impossible to make the 6 month journey.
George Hodgson, a brewer at Bow Brewery in East London set out to solve the beer shortage in East India. Hodgson had a good pale ale base to start with. He knew that hops were a natural preservative, so he used an abundance in the recipe. A higher alcohol content was achieved, which also acts as a natural preservative, as well as dry hopping (adding hops to the late fermentation process, or in this case, to the barrels for the trip around Africa).
The result, was a high original gravity (average of 7.5 to 8% alcohol), floral smelling, bitey ale. The beer made the trip to East India and soon became a favorite. The beer was given the name India Pale Ale.
Since then, the beer has been refined and various styles of IPA have become a popular flavor amongst quality beer lovers. The nickname “Hop Head” is given to those that loves a good hoppy beer, or IPA.
IPA’s are still very popular among English brewers, who use hop varieties like Goldings and Fuggles. The American version of an IPA most common hops used are Cascade, Northern Brewer or Chinook.
Below is a list of some great IPA’s. Once you’ve mastered the taste of a regular IPA – be sure to try a Double IPA or, if you can find, an Imperial IPA. Before you actually taste the beer, give it a good smell. The IPA is one of the most floral fragrant beers you’ll ever smell. If you like the taste as much as you do the smell, you’ll soon be seeking out the various styles of IPA’s, and can definitely take on the beer nick name “Hop Head!”
– Bells Two Hearted Ale (currently served on tap at 129 – downtown Monroe)
– Stone IPA
– 60 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head
– Founders Centennial IPA
– East India IPA by Brooklyn Brewery
– Samual Smith’s India Pale
– Arcadia IPA – Arcadia Brewing
– Sierra Nevada IPA
– McEwan’s IPA by Scottish Courage Ltd.