Listen to us regale you with the history of the IPA, where it came from, and where it’s going. Also, listen to us struggle through our first tasting, and learn about our introduction to the world of craft beer. Grab a Craft Beer Tasting Sheet
and a Stone Sanctimonious IPA (if you can find it), and taste along with us.
The (Real) History of the IPA
Half the reason I wanted to do this style first, besides it being my least favorite and wanting to get it out of the way, is because it has this rich, romantic history. At least that’s what I thought. Then I started reading. Apparently I’m late to the party on this, but IPAs were not the magical invention of what’s-his-face for the British troops in India. Or at least not exactly. He just happened to be REALLY good at marketing. Hell, that’s not even true. He simply did the most baseline possible marketing. He actually named and branded his beers. Thus was born the IPA. Essentially a hopped up pale ale. Even in its original form, it wasn’t consumed all that much by expats. They tended to drink porters and liquor more.
Pale ales originated somewhere in the 17th century. Cleaner coal meant cleaner malts which meant paler brews. Hoppy pale ales came around and rose in popularity, then in the late 1700s they hopped it up a level and started marketing it to expats in India (and the Caribbean).
1760’s IPA are already kind of a thing. High hopped pale ales.
1835: First truly marketed IPA, claiming that the hops and malt made it better for shipping so that it wouldn’t spoil was made by George Hodgson’s Bow Brewery, though he had been brewing it as a pale ale for nearly 40 years. This was not the first of its kind, just the first to market itself as such. And since the East India Company shipped it, and Hodgson had the monopoly on it with them, his name was forever associated with the style. It’s worth noting that despite his marketing, previous iterations of the brew were not known to go sour in droves, and had been shipping to India for nearly 100 years prior. But even so, the IPA really didn’t out serve the porters and liquors commonly consumed amongst troops in the colonies. And moreover, it was not just a military brew. These ales were consumed by everyone from gentry to working class.
At this time, the IPA declined in Britain, but remained alive in the states until prohibition nearly destroyed its tradition. The one brewery to continue the tradition was Ballentine in New Jersey until 1972
1970s: Craft brewing started to take off, and to distinguish themselves one from the other, the standard purveyors of pale lagers and ales on the market (Sierra Nevada, Anchor Brewing and others on the West Coast) started brewing with the new cascade hops. Creating crisp, clear, bitter, and citrusy beers with standout flavors.
1989: The Great American Beer Festival awarded first medals for IPAs to Rubicon Brewing Co for their Rubicon India Pale Ale, and sliver going to Anchor Brewing for their Liberty Ale
1990s: it took off, and hasn’t quit since. A fast evolving, cutting edge style, specifically associated with American brewers.
Resources Used for this Episode:Crafe Beer Tasting Sheet
You Only Think You Know the History of the IPA
Four IPA Myths That Need to be Stamped Out for #IPADAY
The First Ever Reference to IPA
The truth About the Origins of IPA
GABF Past Winners
India Pale Ale
A Brief History of IPA
The Five Most Influential American-Born IPAs of All Time
History of the American IPA thread on Beer Advocate
Music used (with permission): Rad Aghast – Yucatan Dream