The history of the IPA dates back to the 18th century. Legend has it that these types of beer were made for British sailors on their long voyages to India.
IPA beers have become increasingly popular over the last couple of decades. So much so that in 2011, IPAs were given their own National IPA Day. You’ve no doubt sampled the delicious flavors of IPA beers, but have you ever wondered what is an IPA beer exactly?
In this short guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about IPA beer.
What Is an IPA?
First thing’s first, IPA stands for India Pale Ale. These types of beer are known for their characteristic hoppy flavor. You can expect a hops-forward taste with plenty of citrus and fruit notes.
IPAs have a higher ABV than most other types of beer. Your average IPA is around 7-10%, although session IPAs are closer to your everyday beer at around 4-5%.
The thing that sets IPAs apart from other craft beers is the taste. However, not every IPA is alike, and it’s worth knowing a little about the different styles of IPA.
Different Types of IPA
As the popularity of IPAs increased, so did the variety. Each different type of IPA has its distinct flavor profile. There is also a notable difference in the ABV of each different style of IPA.
The English IPA is how it all started. The aroma is a lot more subtle than its American counterparts, and they tend to have a more earthy flavor with lighter notes of citrus. The taste is closer to English pale ale, so you can expect the maltiness that is synonymous with English ales.
West Coast IPA
The first West Coast IPAs were crafted in California. Their flavor is closer to an English IPA because they use crystal malt. This makes them less dry than many other IPAs.
East Coast IPA
You could say that East Coast IPAs are where the fun is at. The brewers use varieties of mutated British yeasts in addition to other fresh ingredients. These produce the intense hoppy and fruity flavors that are commonly associated with American IPAs.
Once brewers got used to the hoppy flavor of the IPA, it was time to take it up a notch. Double IPA, also known as Imperial IPA, has more malts and more hops to balance out the sweetness. This makes for a higher alcohol content than West Coast IPAs.
You can always count on brewers to take things another step further. The Triple IPA is just that. Think of it as a Double IPA with even more hops. Triple IPAs are dryer and more bitter than other IPAs. They also reach levels of up to 18% ABV making them popular among seasoned beer drinkers.
At the opposite end of the spectrum to Triple IPAs are Sessions IPAs. These are designed for casual drinking sessions where total inebriation isn’t the goal. They’re less hoppy and contain a more sensible 4-5% ABV. They’re the most subtle-flavored of American IPAs and can be likened to English Pale Ales.
Finding the Best IPA for You
Now you know ‘what is an IPA’ it’s time to go out and find what type of IPA suits you best. If you’re in the Lauderhill area then why not check out our menu or just head straight over and try some of our delicious craft beers at Yeasty Brews.