For a time, if you wanted to be considered a craft beer aficionado, you absolutely had to profess a love for IPAs, and breweries competed to out-hop each other. The fervor has calmed down somewhat, but this hoppy, flavor-forward style is still a favorite among many brew lovers and is one of the most popular styles in the U.S. The second annual IPA Day takes place Thursday, August 2, with events at bars and breweries around the country.
What brought about this style of beer in the first place? As the British Empire expanded in the 17-1800s, more and more ale was exported to India. The long trip around the tip of South Africa was not kind of the brew, so more and more hops — the common preservative agent of the day — were added to the mix. These brews also had a higher alcohol content, and both helped the beer make it to its destination in potable form.
More than potable, in fact — it was so good that the style persist through this day. There are double IPAs on the market now (we just tried a Southern Tier version that was smooth yet bitter at the same time, and perfect for summer), and even triple IPAs. Black IPAs can be found, made with smoked or heavily roasted malts, or fruity, bright American IPAs. In 2011, beer evangelists Ashley Routson (@TheBeerWench) and Ryan Ross (@RyanARoss) decided the style needed a day of its own, and IPA Day was born.
How can you get involved in the nationwide celebration of the hoppy beer? Ask your local bars and breweries how they plan to mark the day and follow the #IPADay hashtag on Twitter. Which IPA is your favorite?
Hops photo by William Reed
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