Saturday, 16 February 2013

IPA: The Origins and Beyond !!!!

Hey Everyone, it's Saturday and the long awaited weekend has arrived. Today I thought I would do something a little different and give a little bit of history behind my favourite beer style and then give a comparison between two beers in that style, one exceptional one and one that I didn't enjoy as much.

So the beer style that I have decided to look at today is:


IPA (India Pale Ale)

There are a huge variety of IPA's out there on the beer market, which is great for someone who loves IPA as much as me, this also means that there is a lot of competition amongst breweries and brewing companies to try and make the best IPA that they can. Today's post will only be looking at standard IPA's rather than Black IPA's which I will cover at a later date.

A Brief History:
http://frothnhops.com/images/IPA/hodgson.jpg
Pale Ale was a beer that was being made in England, United Kingdom for a long time, an early example of this was in the late 18th century by a brewer by the name of George Hodgson from the Bow Brewery. The term pale ale originates from the use of the pale malt that was used in the brewing process to make these beers, however this then changed over time and the term pale ale was more attributed to the pale colour of the beer that you would get from the malting process by the way that this was used.
    The pale ale that was being made was becoming such a hit that it was being shipped over to India where it was also well received and a high demand for the beer was achieved  This is where the term India Pale Ale comes from. Some companies over the years have got rid of the India aspect of the name and have just stuck to the Pale Ale name, however the process that they would use would be the same as what was used in the IPA's. IPA's took off everywhere and different countries started to make their own variations of the classic.


http://blog.newsok.com/thirstybeagle/files/2011/08/Hops.jpg
America, Australia and Canada are to name a few that have taken the IPA to a whole new level with innovation and experimentation to make some exceptional beers over the years. American IPA's tend to focus on a specific hop or mixture of hops that originate from America, for example Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo, whereas an English IPA would focus more on their hop varieties, for example Fuggles and Golding.

For me some of my favourite and best IPA's come from America. I  feel that America has really perfected their IPA's and produce some amazing and innovative beers. The main thing for me is the strong hops flavour that you get in a American IPA, this is a fundamental quality in a great IPA for me.

Here are two IPA's that I have reviewed in the past, both from America, but both so different from each other. One of these IPA's is a really exceptional beer and one that I would drink all day long, the other is a nice beer but has a very unique flavour to it that didn't appeal to me as much, however it is still a great example of an American IPA.

Comparison:

Raging Bitch IPA: Flying Dog Brewery
 
This is a really exceptional IPA, with a slight citrus note to it. This IPA is deep, rich, full of flavour, with a fantastic refreshing quality to it. This beer is strong in hops flavour and has a brilliantly balanced feel. This beer comes in at 8.3% ABV, however it is so well balanced that it doesn't taste overpowering in alcohol at all.



Yellow Snow IPA: Rogue , Oregon Brewing Company
This is a really interesting IPA, again with a slight citrus note to it. This beer has a slight sweetness to it, which is then rounded off with a bitter after taste. Again this beer has a strong hops flavour to it, however this beer has a kind of metallic aftertaste that I didn't enjoy. This beer is also refreshing and smooth with an overall nice flavour to it. The ABV of this beer is 5.8%, which again is not something you pick up on from drinking the beer.


(For the full beer reviews, just click on the names above)

My Thoughts:
The reason that I enjoy IPA's so much is down to their strong hops flavour and bitterness that gives the beer a moreish quality, making you want to just go back for more and more. I really do recommend trying an IPA to anyone that may not have, they really are fantastic and you will never go back to lager after drinking one of these.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and whether you like IPA's or maybe a different style of beer. Equally I would love to hear your suggestions for other IPA's that I should give a go. Leave you comments in the comments box below.

Hope you all enjoy the post, and most of all get out there and enjoy and IPA :) !!!


Shane