So I think everyone can agree, there’s nothing more annoying than a “Crossfitter” who can’t stop talking about working out his ‘Core’ or a “Paleo” dieter who can’t refrain from showing you pics of the food he makes…….other than an average “Joe” who thinks he’s a Beer sommelier. You know that guy, claims he’s that aficionado of beer, talks incessantly about the hops and barley, how it’s brewed, the amber glow and the…….blah blah blah. Listen, I love beer, that’s all you need to know. If it’s cold, in a clean glass and doesn’t have fruit hanging off the side then it’s for me.
As my pallet has readjusted over the years, I find myself gravitating to the bolder and stronger IPA category of beers. I know I am not the only one because the popularity of IPA‘s has exploded. Every Pub & Restaurant has at least 2 IPA’s on their beer menus and grocery stores are now stocking them on their shelves. On any given day, The Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale, NY will have 2 or 3 IPA’s on tap amongst their 26 different tap handles. Considering how much I enjoyed a cold pint of this popular brew, I felt like I had to educate myself on what an IPA is.
Most people already know IPA stands for ‘India Pale Ale’…..but why? It all began with the British Empire in the east, and how they solved the problem of providing beer to India. India as a country is HOT, too Hot to brew beer. So they needed a beer that could survive the grueling 6 month journey from Britain to India without spoiling. In the 1780’s, there was a brewer called Hodgson who cleverly created a strong, heavily hopped beer called October Ale that was normally aged over time, very similar to the way wine is created. This became the prototype for the IPA. Because of the beers high hop content, it would not only survive the trip but would improve in taste during the long journey. Hodgson’s beer was then imitated by bigger breweries and over time became weaker and paler to satisfy the pallets of India’s beer drinkers. With the invention of refrigeration, the IPA began to die out.
It wasn’t until sometime in the mid 1970’s that American craft brewers set out to recreate this forgotten British Style Beer. Being American, these brewers jumped in with both feet. These new IPA style beers were packed with Hops and alcohol. This rejuvenated style of beer then returned home. Britain heard about this hopped up brew and demanded its taste.
So the beer that was invented in Britain for the Indian market was recreated in America only to be copied by brewers back in Britain. It’s a fine testament to American brewers looking for that unique taste to tempt beer drinkers around the world. I’m just glad I don’t have to wait 6 months for a beer that sat in the belly of a 110 degree boat on its way to India.
One of my favorite IPA style beers is the Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale, ABV 8%. The Nutty Irishman is now pouring this iced cold, refined, hoppy, amber-ale with a malty pallet cleansing effect.
OK, so I’m becoming more and more like that annoying beer sommelier type of guy than I’d like to admit, however, I will never bore you with my current ‘Core’ workout schedule or share Paleo Pics on my iPhone…….Enjoy!!
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy” – Benjamin Franklin