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IPA Beer: Answering the Most Commonly Asked Questions

In the world of craft beer, few styles have captured the imagination and taste buds like IPA beer, short for India Pale Ale, has undoubtedly captured the hearts of beer enthusiasts worldwide. With its bold flavours, aromatic hops, and rich history, IPA has become a staple in the craft beer scene. However, despite its popularity, many people still have questions about this beloved beer style. In this blog, we'll dive into some of the most commonly asked questions about IPA beer, providing insight for both seasoned beer aficionados and newcomers alike.

1. What exactly is IPA beer?

IPA beer traces its roots back to 19th-century England when British brewers developed the style to withstand long journeys to India. To ensure the beer survived the voyage, brewers increased the alcohol content and added extra hops, which acted as natural preservatives. The result? A bold, hop-forward beer that's now known as India Pale Ale. Today, IPA beer encompasses a wide range of variations, from traditional English IPAs to more experimental American interpretations.

2. Why is IPA beer so popular in the craft beer scene?

IPA's popularity in the craft beer world can be attributed to its versatility and bold flavours. Craft brewers have embraced the style, experimenting with different hop varieties, malt profiles, and brewing techniques to create unique and innovative IPAs. Whether you're craving a piney, resinous West Coast IPA (Stone IPA), a hazy New England IPA, or a classic English-style IPA, there's something for every palate in the world of craft beer. 

Stone IPA

3. What are the main characteristics of IPA beer? 

IPA beer is characterised by its strong hop presence, which contributes to its distinctive aroma, flavour, and bitterness. Depending on the style, IPAs can exhibit a wide range of hop characteristics, from floral and piney to tropical and fruity. Additionally, IPAs often have a higher alcohol content compared to other beer styles, adding to their bold and robust nature. While bitterness is a hallmark of IPA beer, modern interpretations strive for balance, with brewers carefully adjusting the malt bill to complement the hops (Deya, Super Glue).

Deya, Super Glue

4. What's the difference between IPA, APA, and DIPA? 

While IPA, APA (American Pale Ale), and DIPA (Double IPA) may sound similar, they each have distinct characteristics that set them apart. IPA typically has a higher alcohol content and a more pronounced hop profile compared to APA. DIPA, on the other hand, is even bolder and more intense than IPA, with a higher alcohol content and an abundance of hop flavour and aroma. While all three styles fall under the broader category of hop-forward ales, they offer varying levels of bitterness, alcohol strength, and hop character. We highly recommend Beak, Triangles if you are wanting to try a big hitting DIPA.

5. What's the best way to enjoy IPA beer?

Like any beer style, the best way to enjoy IPA beer is subjective and ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some prefer their IPA fresh and hoppy, (Verdant, De Bleaker) while others enjoy aged IPAs that have mellowed out over time. When serving IPA beer, it's essential to consider factors such as temperature, glassware, and food pairings. Many beer enthusiasts recommend serving IPA slightly chilled (around 45-50°F) in a tulip or pint glass to enhance the aroma and flavour. As for food pairings, IPA's bold flavours and bitterness make it a versatile companion to a wide range of dishes, from spicy cuisine to hearty burgers and grilled meats.

Beer with food

6. Are all IPAs bitter?

While bitterness is a defining characteristic of IPA beer, not all IPAs are overwhelmingly bitter. Modern brewing techniques allow brewers to create IPAs with varying levels of bitterness, ranging from moderately bitter to intensely hoppy. Additionally, the use of hop varieties with tropical, fruity, or citrusy flavours can balance out the bitterness, resulting in a more approachable and flavourful beer (Lakes Brew, Beach). Whether you're a fan of bitter IPAs or prefer a smoother, more balanced brew, there's an IPA out there to suit your taste.

Lakes Brew, Beach

7. How long do IPAs last?

The shelf life of IPA beer depends on several factors, including the brewing process, packaging, and storage conditions. Generally, fresh IPA beer is best enjoyed within a few months of bottling or canning, as the hop flavours and aromas can diminish over time. However, some hop-forward IPAs can age gracefully, developing new flavours and complexities with time. To ensure your IPA stays fresh, store it in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat, and consume it within the brewery's recommended timeframe. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, IPA beer's enduring popularity in the craft beer world shows no signs of slowing down. From its humble origins as a beer fit for long sea voyages to its current status as a beloved beer style enjoyed by enthusiasts worldwide, IPA continues to captivate and inspire. Whether you're a seasoned beer aficionado or a curious newcomer, exploring the world of IPA beer is an adventure filled with bold flavours, aromatic hops, and endless possibilities.

So, the next time you crack open a cold IPA, take a moment to savour the aroma, admire the golden hue, and appreciate the craftsmanship that went into brewing this iconic beer style (Lakes Brew, Gazelle Up A Drainpipe). Cheers to IPA beer and the passionate brewers who continue to push the boundaries of flavour and innovation!

Lakes Brew, Gazelle Up A Drainpipe

Check out our full range of tasty IPA's here.

 

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