The Truth About IPA – Indian Pale Ale

IPA beers are crap.  There, I’ve said it.  If you need to know why, read on.

IPA beers, standing for India Pale Ale, find their roots in the 1700s, when English shipping companies were trying to find a way to ship beer to the troops and civilians in India.  The standard English beers, dark ales and porters, did not keep on the long, hot voyage to India.  To create a beer that could stand up to the challenge, an English brewmeister greatly increased the hops in one of his recipes in order to raise the alcohol content.  The result was a very bitter, high alcohol, sparkling ale that could survive the voyage.  The recipients drank it with zeal, willing to overlook the nasty taste because they at least had beer (and the quicker buzz from the higher alcohol was a bonus).

Since historically the IPA style was always considered a compromise — giving up taste in order to get the beer to market — I have never understood why it holds a place among modern beers.  It appears to be a case of the Emperor’s new clothes, with the beer so bad that many feel compelled to comment on how good it is, lest they be accused of not appreciating its nuances.  It is an inside joke among breweries, competing to make there’s the worst tasting beer, so that it will receive even more praise, with some creating “Double IPAs” and raising the bitterness of the beer to over 100 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) and the alcohol level to 20 percent.  On the other end to the spectrum, some breweries are dropping the hop content and alcohol level to make the beer more palatable, so drinkers can actually enjoy the stuff while feeling cool for being able to stomach an IPA.  What is that expression about putting lipstick on a pig?  

I am not afraid to speak the truth about this nasty stuff, but you should understand my point of reference.  If you have been caught up in the hype and think that the more bitter the beer the better, then my ratings will not match your experience.  All you hopheads are welcome.

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