Skip to comments.How IPAs conquered the beer world
Posted on 05/15/2014 12:59:39 PM PDT by ghost of stonewall jackson
INDIA pale ale (IPA) had a good claim to be the first global beer, before lager took a grip on the worlds tipplers. Now IPA, an amber, hop-laden brew, high in alcohol, is regaining its global footprint. Britains territories on the Indian subcontinent were generally too hot for brewing. So a couple of hundred years ago, to keep army officers and officials of the East India Company away from the fearsome local firewater, beer was exported from Britain to take its place. What is clear is that hops, which act as a preservative as well as a flavouring, combined with a hefty dose of alcohol for added robustness, ensured that the beer survived the long sea journey to India. Indeed, the months jiggling in a barrel onboard seemed only to improve the flavour.
IPAs popularity waned as the brewing industry changed. After the second world war, big brewers in Britain and America bought smaller competitors and flooded the market with bland, mass-market beers as old styles were abandoned in favour of a pint that would not offend anyone. In the 1980s brewing began to change again. The craft beer revolution, which started in America, was a reaction to the domination of the market by these dull and flavourless brews. Small beermakers, encouraged by tax breaks and an urge to drink a beer with some character, set up to produce small batches of more adventurous ales. The taste for these beers caught on. The result is that America is now home to some 2,500 breweries, compared with about 50 in the 1970s. Beer drinking is in overall decline as wealthy boozers switch to wine and spirits, but craft beer is growing fast, as consumers turn against the mass market to savour more expensive and exclusive brews.
(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...
IPAs are my favorite.
IPA are good, but any craft beer is.
Browns, reds, stouts and porters are all great tasting beers that don't give one indigestion.
Love the generally high alcohol content. If I’m home I can just drink one or two. I don’t drink them when I’m out for that reason. But the high hop content is an acquired taste.
Mine too. Have you tried Southern Tier IPA? I wonder if it is available in Indiana. If you haven’t, you really should try to get your hands on some. It’s a little bit of heaven.
Of course, it was on the internet :)
My first assignment to Germany changed my entire perspective on beer.
It's a whole different world today.
+1 for Southern Tier.
I’ve grown tired of IPAs. Not enough variation between the brands.
i’ll drink to that...sláinte
I agree. They are too heavy.
I used to go to the Pike Place Brewery and get their sampler deal. My least favorite was the IPA. IPA’s have never been my favorite, but they are still far better than a bud.
I listened to a radio interview in the early 80’s with the founder of Ballard Bitters (when it was the only beer they made). He pointed out that the thing most people looked for in a “cold beer” was “cold”. He also pointed out that you get more customers with a bland flavor than a strong flavor because a strong flavor will mean some people really don’t like it, while a bland flavor is not great, but at least it doesn’t offend anyone. And the goal of Bud, Miller, etc. was to sell lots of beer.
Now, no new brand is killing those behemoths, but they are dying from a thousand cuts. Roughly 2,500 cuts. Apparently.
call me old school .I’m a lager guy ..maybe amber ale ..just never really got into the IPAs ..(but I support the indy brewer industry in theory)
Not refreshing by any measure. Hard to pair with most foods.
A sales gimmick in the broad picture.
not sure where you live, but in the philadelphia area the Victory Prima Pils (pilsner) is quite good
I don’t think I’ve tried Southern Tier IPA. I try new ones anytime I get a chance though.
>> “But the high hop content is an acquired taste.” <<
Or a non-acquired taste, as the case may be.
Haven’t had a Bud or Miller in years. I’m more into imperial stouts and doubblebocks but I love a good IPA with spicy food. And I’m Creole so I eat a lot of that. Dogfish Head and Flying Dog make some great ones.
The first beer I thought was remarkable, as opposed to eh, it’s beer, was in the early 80s in a Chinese restaurant in NYC - it had a complicated floral flavor which doesn’t seem like it ought to go with beer but it worked really well.
What is it? I asked, expecting something Chinese and exotic. Budweiser, said the waiter. I’m still trying to figure out the floral. Couldn’t have been the detergent, didn’t taste soapy.
like many here, I do not like IPAs at all.
Dark ambers, porters, stouts... now that’s a different story!
IPAs are generally too alcoholic and overly hopped. IMHO, this is not for the same reason that IPAs were originally produced in the UK. These "craft" beers (didn't it used to be "micro-brews"?) are poorly made. The brewers hide the flaws in their technique by bumping up the alcohol and doubling or tripling the hop flavoring until these beers are so bitter that they leave a nasty aftertaste. They sometimes have a real "barnyard" note in their aroma that is downright sickening.
Try a real British ale like Fuller's or Marston's. These are truly pleasant to drink.
One last shot at the craft IPA brewers. They seem to spend more time coming up with idiotic names and labels for their beers than they spend actually making the beer. Some of the names and labels are truly pornographic or demonic. Yecch.
the DFH 90 minute is fantastic
Don’t care for IPA, much prefer Belgian Wheat Beer.
I’m sure I’d like it, Pilsners are types of lagers and I generally like them.
Ditto. Love the hoppy beers.
The IPAs have become the High School beer of choice due to the graphics of their labels.
If I have to force myself to consume a product in an attempt to somehow come to enjoy it-I’d just rather not.
Stella is good. Blue moon has a good seasonal, even anti-traditional marriage Sam Adams has a cherry wheat, but I stopped patronizing their beers.
Maybe the Czech Budweiser?
I heartily agree!
“Not refreshing by any measure. Hard to pair with most foods.A sales gimmick in the broad picture.”
Careful there, you’re getting close to implying that your minority opinion is fact.
Personally I find a good STRONG IPA with high IBUs to be one of the most refreshing beverages possible, especially on a hot summer day. As far as food, I’d say IPAs work excellently with most pub-grub; if it’s salty, particularly savory, fried, or has a cloyingly sweet or tangy sauce, then an IPA is going to be perfect.
As far as the sales gimmick accusation, any beverage that keeps a solid following two centuries isn’t a gimmick. Cult movement perhaps, but certainly not a sales gimmick.
IPAs are good with hot food, like Indian curry as you will. For just a drinking beer, I prefer a stout. Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, OR has an excellent oatmeal stout, Oatis and a good IPA Tricerahops.
The article completely disregards the effect of Prohibition on the US brewing industry. Only the very biggest brewers were able to weather the storm when alcohol was banned... the rest went under, quickly. This created what amounted to brewing cartels, and essentially short-circuited the capability of the market to respond to what consumers wanted.
Thanks for the post, Stonewall. Since the topic is IPA, I must chime in (OK, brag) about Cismontane’s Coulter IPA - brewed right here in my little town. Best part, the brewery is walking distance from my house. Give it a try, if you see it on your local shelf ! Thanks to all :)
One thing about the “bland” beers, when you haven’t had one in a LONG time, they taste just like they did when you were a kid and Pops let you have a sip on lawn mowing day :-)
I only want an IPA after a hot sweaty day in the garden. Most refreshing.
American beers are brewed much lighter than European
Climate is much hotter than Europe (especially in summer)
European beers used type of barley malt with high protein
content - resulted in very heavy brews
Great to stick to ribs - bad for hot climate as put you to sleep
American brewers switched to different type of malts and later used “adjuntantS” - rice or corn grits to lighten brews.
Which is why American brews taste watery compared to European
Yep, nice products. Especially that chocolate stout - it's like a bottle of decadent dessert.
The craft beer revolution was a reaction to the ubiquity of bland American pilsener.
The next beer revolution will be a reaction to ubiquity of overly hopped India Pale Ale.
The New Belgium Brewing Company's Imperial IPA is a monster, at almost 9% alcohol. Nice fruity character, but definitely packs a wallop.
“but any craft beer is.”
That really depends on your tastes.
As the article says, mass-market brewers have to produce a “pint that would not offend anyone.” Craft brewers, OTOH, are all about niche-markets. If you like one of their brews, you’ll really like it. However, you might be “offended” at some of the other brews. I might have just the opposite preferences.
I wonder if all these young guys guzzling these heavily-hopped IPSs realize that hops - over the long term - have a very negative effect on male sexual performance.
Lol ! That is so true !
I’m scheduled to brew a Bacon Red Ale this weekend.
Have not tried it before.