As craft beer popularity continues to grow, our love for the India Pale Ale grows right along with it. Often referred to as “the flagship of the craft beer movement,” the IPA is a delightfully fun ride for your taste buds that makes for a damn good time. There’s a lot to the IPA, from it’s make up to it’s history, that makes this beer an interesting experience.
The Pale Ale was born in the early 1700’s when a new method of roasting barley and malt created a light color to the traditional beer as well as a flavor with a more pronounced taste than ever before.
History of the IPA
The name India Pale Ale was created much later when the British Empire reached India, in the 1820’s. British colonists who moved east to the new Indian territory were still enamored with the pale ales of their homeland, but found that having it shipped out on a six-month long trip resulted in opening bottles of spoiled beer. To solve this issue, brewers added a higher content of hops to their batches. Hops, not only intended for creating the bitter flavors in beer are also natural preservatives. The result, was the hoppy beer we love so very much. It’s bitter and crisp-and has the stunning ability to withstand a six-month long journey.
Okay, now that I’ve made you fall in love with this story, I have to add a disclaimer: this tale may only be myth. Why? Well, at the same time, stouts and porters were also being shipped to the Indies and neither styles had their measureable international bittering units messed with. So who knows the truth? Let me know if you find out.
Subtypes of IPA
Today’s India Pale Ale can be sectioned into many subtypes, and it seems like these categories are only going to continue expanding. So, I’ll not break them all down for you, since it might take the rest of the day to really get into the debate. I will, however, discuss Mendocino Brewing Company’s IPA options. We’ve got a wide enough selection that you should get the idea of what an IPA is all about.
This beer is seriously full-bodied with a hefty mouth feel. We use heaps of Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe, and Crystal hops and a combinations of malts, including a set of double row pale malts. Post initial fermentation, out Imperial IPA is dry hopped and then cold conditioned for a few weeks! The product? A crazily wonderful hop aroma and smooth feeling bitter brew. Like most IPAs, this beer is high in alcohol by volume, measuring about 8% ABV.
This tradition India Pale Ale is created from a blend of American West Coast Cascade Hops and a mountains worth of English Fuggle Hops. This specific combo creates an extremely aromatic character, and an authentic English that the seasoned palette will recognize immediately.
Respectfully hoppy, with intriguingly unwavering organic malts, we handcraft this IPA with Organic Nugget and Organic Cascade hops in the mash, followed by a dry hop with Organic Cascade and Hallertau hops. It gives this brew piney aroma, and floral, citrusy hop flavor that’s to die for. At 6.5% ABV this is the IPA enjoyed by all hop heads, but especially those looking for a socially and eco-friendly drinking option.
The idea behind Session IPAs is that they maintain the excellent hoppy aroma and taste of a Traditional IPA, yet they’ve got a low ABV so that you can have a few in a row without losing your wits. Our Rock Point IPA is 4.5% ABV meaning you can do just that and revel in the light drinkability of this hoppy aromatic IPA.
Okay, are you a true hop head? What makes an IPA a superior flagship craft brew?
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