IPA Craze! The Obsession of Beer Drinkers

These days, it seems like craft beer and IPA are synonymous. Check out this breakdown of the IPA beer that revolutionized the craft beer industry in the United States.

Embark on a journey into the exciting world of craft beer and explore the ever-growing IPA craze! Discover the history of India Pale Ales, characterized by their unique boiling and hopping methods that produce a distinct flavor profile. With a wide range of hop varieties and brewing techniques, IPAs have become the go-to brew for beer enthusiasts worldwide.

IPA 101: What is it?

ipa beer


IPA, which stands for India Pale Ale, is a popular type of beer known for its strong, hoppy flavor. This type of brew originated in England in the 18th century, and was specifically designed to survive the long sea voyages to the British colonies in India, hence the name. Its distinct taste profile comes from the generous use of hops, which also serves to increase its shelf-life. The bitterness of an IPA contrasts with the maltiness of the beer, providing a complex flavor that many beer enthusiasts love. Today, there are many variations of IPAs, from the traditional English style to the more recent American, Hazy and double IPAs, each offering a unique taste experience for beer lovers.

Some of the Top IPA Brewers

Hops in a glass

Crafting a well-balanced India Pale Ale (IPA) is an art, and several breweries have truly excelled at it. Here are some of the top IPA brewing brands known for their exceptional offerings as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021:

Dogfish Head Brewery: Based in Delaware, Dogfish Head is known for its adventurous, unique, and often heavily-hopped IPAs, including the iconic 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs.

Stone Brewing: This California-based brewery has gained a dedicated following for its bold, hop-forward IPAs. Their Stone IPA and Enjoy By IPA series are widely revered.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.: Known for their consistent quality, this brewery’s Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an American classic. They also offer a range of other IPAs, such as the Hazy Little Thing and Torpedo Extra IPA.

Some popular breweries to try are Anchor Brewery, Lagunitas and Ballast Point.

IPA History: Where Does It Come From?

ipa beer

Urban Milwaukee

How did a single type of beer rise to become the king of craft? Let’s dive into the history of India Pale Ale. In the 18th century, the British Empire was gaining traction in India, and with it, the British brought their love of beer. Demand was high, but the Indian climate made brewing a challenge. Enter George Hodgson, a shrewd London brewer who concocted a strong pale ale meant to survive the long journey abroad. The key was added hops and a higher ABV, resulting in a beer that could be transported without spoiling. Word of this liquid gold soon spread, and the beer became the English colonies’ preferred choice. Its popularity caused other breweries to create their own versions, and the India Pale Ale was born.

IPA in the USA

IPAs didn’t arrive in the United States until the craft beer movement surged in the late 20th century. In the late 1970s, microbreweries began to emerge nationwide, and with them came an interest in reviving forgotten beer styles, introducing them to American enthusiasts. (Tramadol) David Nilsen, a professional beer writer and educator, points out that it was then when IPAs gained prominence, becoming the face of American craft beer.

The American craft beer movement, starting from the mid-1980s until the mid-2000s, was a time of revolution. Both brewers and drinkers alike felt as though they were rebels, seeking to push boundaries and flavours. The IPA became the emblem of this new era of American craft beer. Its strong and assertive flavours fit perfectly with the scene’s self-image – bold and defiant.
However, American IPAs and English ales are distinct tastes. The unique taste of American hops gave IPAs a flavour all their own – one that was both recognisable and distinct. Classic American hops have strong citrus and pine flavours, setting themselves apart from their European counterparts.
As a result, the IPA became a symbol for what made American craft beer unique. It became an essential part of the craft beer revolution, inspiring breweries across America to put their spin on the classic ale. Today, IPA remains one of the most popular styles of craft beer worldwide, especially in the U.S. Nearly every notable brewery has one. Craft beer’s popularity continues to rise, and new styles and variations of IPAs are constantly emerging, continually shaking up the scene.


Understanding Different Types of IPAs

ipa beer

The universe of IPAs boasts a vast array of flavors, colors and aromas branching out in all directions. Allow us to delve into some of the most popular types that showcase this breadth.

English IPA

The English IPA – the granddaddy of brews and where it all began. This classic is renowned for balancing the sweetness of malt with the bitterness of hops. Typically made with English hops, such as Fuggles or East Kent Goldings, expect earthy, herbal and sometimes floral tones. English IPAs are less hop-forward than their American counterparts, and instead highlight their bready, caramel-like malt profile.

American IPA

American IPAs were born from the craft beer revolution in the United States. These brews evolved from their English predecessors, amping up the volume with a liberal use of hops. In particular, American IPAs derive their bitter punch from hop varieties such as Cascade, Citra, and Centennial. These hops are known for their bold, citrusy, and sometimes even piney flavors – all of which are highly emphasized in American IPAs. What’s more, these beers tend to exhibit higher alcohol content, alongside their trademark intensity.

Double IPA (DIPA) / Imperial IPA

Double IPA, also referred to as Imperial IPA, is the bold and boisterous relative that readily takes center stage. These beers pack a punch, exhibiting even more hops and higher alcohol content, typically registering at 7.5% ABV or above. They’re known for their intense aromas and hop flavors that range from fruity and citrusy to piney and resinous, and all the while, their solid malt backbone maintains the bitterness.

Session IPA

The Session IPA is a mild-mannered, easy-drinking cousin in the IPA family, boasting hop-forward notes of a standard IPA but with reduced alcohol content (usually under 5% ABV). This refreshing brew is designed to be savoured over a longer period without overwhelming the drinker with boozy intensity.

Hazy IPA

The Hazy IPA, a rising star on the family tree (also known as New England IPA or NEIPA), is changing the game. These beers boast a telltale haze or cloudiness thanks to selected yeast strains, adjuncts like oats and wheat, and a unique dry-hopping approach.

Renowned for juicy tropical flavor and aroma, the Hazy IPA offers a less bitter finish than other IPAs.

Each type of IPA brings something unique to the table, from the traditional, balanced notes of English IPAs to the hoppy highs of Double IPAs, the easy-drinking nature of Session IPAs, and the juicy bursts from Hazy IPAs. So, no matter what your taste preference is, there’s likely an IPA out there that’s just right for you.


Other Popular Beers To Try If You’re Into IPAs

ipa beer

The world of craft beer is vast and exhilarating. Sticking solely to IPAs, no matter how good, would be a disservice. The Brewer’s Association lists over 100+ styles of beer; after acclimating to the bitterness of an IPA, branching out to try a different style could pique your interest. Here are some fascinating beer styles to try if you’re caught in an IPA rut.

Sour Ale

Sour Ale is a drink with a uniquely tangy taste, and its name alone gives it away. Some can find the sourness and acidity a bit off-putting at first, but it remains a beer aficionado’s favorite — worth trying at least once. The introduction of a unique yeast during the fermenting process makes sour beer special, giving it that vinegary, acidic taste. It’s a trendy choice for beer lovers who are always on the lookout for the next best funky brew to add to their collection, much like IPAs.

Porters and Stouts

Enter the dark side of beer. Porters and stouts are dark, delicious beers that share similarities but have distinct tastes. Porters have originated in London, and are hoppy with malted barley. Meanwhile, stouts are made with roasted barley and malt and can range between 7 to 8% ABV. Both beers offer roasted coffee and chocolate-y notes, making them perfect for savouring heartily during winter by beer lovers.

Which IPA do you want to try first? Want to incorporate beer into your life even more? Check out Uses for Beer Other Than Drinking.

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