India Pale Ale (IPA)
Commonly referred to as an IPA, the India Pale Ale is actually an English brewed beer which was exported to British troops in India during the 1700’s. Initially it was a tweaked version of a Pale Ale invented to withstand the extreme temperatures and undulations of the ship during the voyage from England to India. Later on the IPA was modified to create the popular English Pale Ale (APA). The English IPA’s nowadays have a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4.0 - 6.5% due to increasing taxes over time. However, some brewers have attempted to recreate the strength of the original IPA that had an ABV of 8 - 9%.
Early IPA’s were malty, less fruity and had a robust hoppy finish compared to those brewed today. Today IPA’s have a highly aromatic nose full of fruit, floral and earthy features with the possibility of added caramel or toasty malt aromas. American versions of the brew tend to have a stronger hop but lower malt presence. English India Pale Ales have full flavor but with less hop bitterness than the original from the 1700’s. The palate should mimic the nose with floral and fruity elements and should possess an average malt flavor that balances nicely with the hops.
These beers typically show some English malt characters such as biscuit, toasty, toffee or caramel and has a fairly dry lingering finish without being harsh. The mouthfeel is smooth and almost velvety with a medium body and medium to high carbonation. The blend of carbonation and sweeter malt components have a tendency of leaving your mouth feeling dry. IPA’s range from light copper to golden amber in color and commonly have an orange hue to them. Although they are usually unfiltered, the beer is relatively clear and has a typical to long-lasting head.
India Pale Ales are one of the most frequently requested styles by our monthly beer club members. For that reason we have had a number of IPA’s in our Craft Beer Club including a few breweries that have won awards for their brews. Central City Brewers & Distillers’ “Red Betty Northwest IPA” was awarded a Gold Medal from the BC Beer Awards and will continue to create award-winning craft beverages including specialty beers, ciders, and spirits.
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