First brewed in the 18th century, the original pale ales were a lightly hopped beer with a pale appearance; hence the name - pale ale. During this time, pale ales has begun to gain popularity among traders in India. From this grew a demand for export-ready pale ales - beer which could weather and mature during the journey to eager customers oversees. Beers of this nature quickly became known as Indian Pale Ales; the ancestors of the IPAs we know and love today.
While British IPAs grew in popularity, it wasn't long before other countries cottoned onto this style of beer. America, for example, had also begun brewing a similarly high strength beer before 1900. Today, America is a key player in forging the future of brewing and craft ales, mainly thanks to the wide range of hops available which include varieties such as Chinook, Simcoe, Tomahawk and Centennial. Given the depth of taste and aroma achieved from these finely tuned hop varieties, some IPAs need only contain one hop strain, rather than a variety which is quite common in other kinds of IPA.
In the past seventy or so years, the experimentation of craft brewing has lead to the creation of Double and Triple Indian Pale Ales. Also known as Imperials IPAs, beers of this nature usually contain a higher alcohol content - usually above 7% ABV - and are considered very 'hoppy' brews. Even more recent, is the rise of Triple or Quadruple IPAs; with the former ranging from 8% - 12% ABV and the later running right up to 40% ABV. Modern brewing techniques - such as freezing beer a number of times after fermentation - has paved the way for huge advances in the scope of ABVs available to craft brewers. In fact, the record for the 'world's strongest beer' was once held by a quadruple IPA which weighed in at a staggering 41% ABV.
A historic and exciting craft beer, the IPA shows no sign of disappearing from behind the beer or from the shelf of beer lovers the world over.
Harvey McEwan writes to offer information amd advice on a variety of areas, from technology to holiday destinations. Read through Harvey's other articles here to find out more.
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