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IPA There are 26 products.

As classic beers go, India Pale Ale, often abbreviated to IPA, is a bit of an upstart. Born of necessity, India Pale Ale has become the go-to beer of United States’ hopheads, but its origins sail us back on merchant ships outward bound from merry old England in the late 1700′s to the middle of the nineteenth century.

English brewers exported ale for handsome profit since beginning in the fifteenth century, when shippers realized that ale that had been more highly hopped could survive a journey without spoiling. Their initial exports were bound, somewhat ironically, to Holland, where the practice of adding hops to beer perhaps began. As shippers realized that the brew transported well, they capitalized on the opportunity to use the heavy casks of beer as ballast for ships bound elsewhere.

Previously, many a ship had left port with dead weight ballast; casks of beer, however, could not only stabilize the ship, but also be sold for tidy profits at any port along the voyage. As the non-beer cargo was sold, the need for ballast diminished, so the sale of the beer that provided ballast did not endanger the ship. The solution to the problem was perfect. As a result, English merchant ships regularly carried beer.

By the time the English eliminated the French threat to colonialism in nineteenth century India, the British were shipping considerable quantities of ale to the English contingent stationed or residing throughout the subcontinent. As early as the mid 1600′s, brown ale and porter shipped to India, but as brewers recognized the ability for more highly hopped, higher alcohol beer to stay fresh longer, the export beer featured extra hops and more alcohol. Its recipients loved it.

Although it was not designated as such during its formative years, the paler, crisper style that evolved for export primarily to India is now known as India Pale Ale, or IPA. India Pale Ale is a strong beer, thanks to the alcohol levels, and bitter, thanks to the hops.

Current English versions of India Pale Ale are generally more subtle, more restrained than brews from the United States. The difference is so pronounced that beer aficionados and brewers more or less admit that the American IPA is a different beast than the more traditional British IPA. If British IPA is, roughly, a tweaked Pale Ale, American IPA is as British IPA fully tricked-out and juiced on steroids.

American IPA is an aggressive brew. If your palate cannot handle bitterness, beware: American IPA often pushes the envelope of International Bitterness Units. British IPA tends to run between 40 and 60 IBU; American IPA runs between 60 and 100 IBU. The American IPA is both more malty and has far more citrus character. Tasters commonly note orange and grapefruit. The flavors derive from hops species native to the US.