Craft beers are rapidly gaining popularity. One of the most trendy drinks in the bar scene is IPA beer.
So, what is an IPA beer? It is a beer style that spotlights the hop’s flavors, giving it a bolder, richer taste. This article will introduce you to this exciting drink that’ll surely tickle your taste buds.
What is IPA beer?
An IPA or India Pale Beer is a type of beer that highlights the boldness of hops. It has a broad spectrum of flavor profiles, satisfying many palates. Some IPAs can be rich and bitter, while others can be fruit-forward. Variations can also differ in their hop content.
Commercial beer drinkers can immediately discern the distinction between these craft beers. It tastes and looks different than the traditional beers in the market.
IPA has fruity and hoppy flavors accentuated by chocolate, caramel, and coffee. Its variants come in gold, copper, black, and dark brown hues.
What is the origin of IPA beer?
Sailors during the British colonial times are constantly at sea. Long periods of traveling required them to preserve their food and drinks. Beers spoil quickly in hot environments, like in India. These travelers thought of ways to keep their beers stay fresh-tasting for months.
The sailors made a breakthrough during their voyage from Great Britain to India. They decided to add hops to preserve the precious beverage. Their “experiment” revealed that beers with added hops tend to last longer. Even if the name suggests that the IPA beer is of Indian origin, the British crafted it.
Check out this video for the history and evolution of the IPA.
What is the IPA beer’s flavor profile?
The most distinct characteristic of IPA beer is its distinctive hop taste. Being a hop-forward beverage, it combines bitter, floral, and citrusy flavors. There is also a hint o earthy and spicy notes. The beer’s aroma expresses the combination of these flavors, too.
What are hops?
Hops, the primary IPA beer ingredient, are the Humulus lupulus plant’s buds. The prolific vine has wide varieties with buds that exude various flavors. Most commonly used hop varieties, such as the Centennial, Granny Smith, and Citra, have different flavor profiles and aromas.
How much alcohol does IPA beer have?
Indian Pale Ale usually contains 5.5%-7.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). However, the most popular brands’ ABV levels typically lie between 6 to 7%.
What’s good about IPA?
The IPA beer’s greatness lies in the symphony of bitter, bold, fruity, and refreshing flavors. It registers an exciting mix of senses in your mouth. It also pairs well with many dishes, even spicy ones.
What are the different IPA brewing processes?
The IPA beer’s diverse flavors, colors, and aromas come from different brewing processes. The amount of hop added to the brew significantly affects its flavors. The following methods reveal the secrets behind this exciting drink.
This process entails using only one hop variety. While other IPAs utilize different types of hops to produce diverse flavors, this method highlights a specific hop characteristic. It makes the taste bolder and more concentrated.
The intense flavors of the single-hop IPA may be too strong for unseasoned drinkers. However, its appeal lies in how a specific variety significantly impacts the overall quality of the beer. It allows novice and seasoned drinkers to appreciate the character of a particular hop type.
Creating dry-hopped IPA entails adding more hops than usual to the wort. Instead of adding the hops when the liquid boils, brewers add them towards the end of the fermentation process. This method makes the beer sweet-swelling and eliminates the bitter taste.
Dry hopping takes several weeks to finish. The hops need to soak for many days to achieve the desired flavor. The result is a highly aromatic beer without the usual IPA bitterness.
Some IPA beer labels have the letters “DDH” on them, meaning the beer was double-dry hopped. Brewers created this innovation to stand out from the usual hopping methods. This style entails adding the same hops during the cold and hot brewing.
Double dry-hopping can mean two things. One method that brewers use is adding twice the usual amount of hops simultaneously. Another technique would be to add two doses of hops at different periods during the fermentation process.
Brewers can only perform this process once every year, making it a special brew. The hops needed for this process are harvested in September, the peak season. Brewers need to craft the beer within a day after harvest.
This detailed process results in an IPA with the freshest hop flavors. It exudes an intense sensation that a drinker can only get from fresh hopping.
What are Various IPA Styles?
Brewers from around the world have created various kinds of IPA beers. It’s in line with their quest to offer beverages for diverse palates. The following guide to IPA styles can help you order the best one on your next night out.
The first ever IPA beer is the English or British IPA, an original creation from where all others got their inspiration.
This golden-hued beverage comes from British hops, namely Fuggles and holdings variety. The resulting flavor is earthy, grassy, and citrusy. However, its storage method made it highly bitter.
West Coast IPA
This IPA from California is similar to the IPA in bitterness. However, unlike its English counterpart, it is sweeter. It’s also the first IPA that exudes a fruit-forward aroma. It may rank high on the bitterness scale, but the fruity notes perfectly balance the flavors.
East Coast IPA
The West Coast IPA inspired this relatively new concoction. They may share some similarities, but the difference lies in the yeast used. East Coast brewers use British yeast instead of the flavorless California yeast.
New England IPA (NEIPA)
This trendy IPA is a new player in the market. It’s an excellent option for drinkers who are not fans of bitter beer. Its dominant fruity flavors are due to adding hops later in the process. It’s a sweeter version compared to the older variants.
This IPA got its name from the Belgian yeast used in fermentation. This additive creates a stone fruit flavor and adds some spiciness. On the other hand, some breweries utilize Brettanomyces, a type of fungi that gives it a citrusy and zesty flavor.
Juicy (Hazy) IPA
This IPA is a cloudy, silky liquid similar to orange juice. It shares the exact origin of the East Coast IPA. However, it stands out because of its distinct creaminess, tang, and sweetness. The added wheat and malt give some emphasis to the bitter flavor.
Here’s a quick summary of the various IPA styles.
Med high-very high
Med high-very high
What are the Best IPAs in the World?
Whether you’re a first-time beer drinker or a brew enthusiast, it’s best to enjoy the best IPAs in the world. The following are some excellent brands based on the 2020 World Beer Awards.
20/20 Vision IPA
This hazy type of IPA went through double dry hopping. Brewers used Simcoe, El Dorado, Cascade, and Chinook hops to brew this award-winning beverage. It has a citrusy and candy-like flavor profile. However, you can taste a distinct bitter undertone.
Ace of Haze
A pleasing aroma will greet you when you open a can of Ace of Haze. Its smooth body matches perfectly with the fruity and hoppy flavors. It’s also not as bitter as the other IPA styles.
This beer stays true to the original characteristics of the American IPA style. It’s a hazy yellow liquid with a thin, white top. You can also taste caramel, malt, citrus, and herbs in every sip. Bitterness may be dominant, but the caramel and herbal flavors balance it off.
This award-winning IPA is a tropical paradise in your mouth with its sweet and sour candy with berry undertones. Your palate can also recognize orange, pineapple, and juicy tasting notes.
A true beer lover was the brewery’s inspiration for this beverage. It boasts a full body and discernible hoppiness. In addition, it has a distinct bitterness that complements the high alcohol content.
This highly-rated West-Coast Style IPA bursts with great hoppiness. It registers pine, grapefruit, and tropical notes on the palate. You can taste a bitter finish matched with a robust malt backbone.
Here’s an overview of some of the best IPAs in the market today.
Ace of Haze
So, what is IPA beer? It’s a beer style that honors the distinct features of hops. Its distinct bitterness perfectly combines with fruity, malty, and sweet-tasting notes. Every sip is like an adventure in your mouth. Order an IPA on your next bar visit to expand your beer-drinking horizon.