The history of IPA part 2: From India, to England, the US, and the world. 

So yesterday we discussed the origins of India Pale Ale and where it got its name. As part of our continuing IPA weekend, today we shift to IPAs rise to popularity. We left off with English Breweries sailing high-alcohol and highly hopped beers to India to prevent bacteria from developing over the long voyage. Now how exactly the English decided to hold onto some of the batch is controversial. Some say that one cargo ship wrecked just off shore from London, and the barrels were brought back and sold in the city, quickly becoming a huge hit. However, according to beer historian and fellow beer blogger Martyn Cornell, this ranks more on the myth spectrum, as no record of such a shipwreck exists. Another possibility is that the English brewers simply realized how damn good the beer was, and by the time the train system developed enough for land shipments, they just decided to start holding onto the stuff. 

Regardless of how it happened, the IPA style took off by the mid 1800’s in England, and though it took quite a while a healthy American IPA market emerged from the already highly hopped American Pale Ales. Sierra Nevada started the American Ale revolution in 1980, and soon after the craft brew scene broadened their realms to bolder beers like the IPA. Building off of the hoppy style of the pale ale, and given it a giant dose of steroids, many American IPAs are super-hopped and over 8-10% alcohol. Such ales are commonly known as imperial or double IPAs. Inspired by the innovative American take on a classic English oldie, a third variety, the Belgian IPA has also been adopted recently in Europe’s brewing scene. The majority of these brews maintain the triple belgian brewing style for full, strong flavor, giving the IPA more of that light, golden belgian color. Note that Belgian IPAs are also gloriously hopped and high in alcohol. 


Bombay Pale Ale

Brewery: Nørrebro Bryghus

Type: English India Pale Ale

Alcohol: 6.5%

Here is another Danish made IPA. This one is totally different from what I think of as a normal IPA. It does not have an intense hops smell or taste. It does have a bitterness that creeps up on you. You get a nice fruity aroma and taste when drinking it. Orange…I think I taste oranges…


Another multiple beers for the price of one post, but just like the first one this one must give up picture quality.

So for IPAday I presented myself to McCoy’s for some of their Newcombs IPA served on cask (pictured left)

The IPA was served an orangey copper color with two fingers of foamy white head, which leaves behind a huge amount of lacing.

Not a lot of aroma here, but there is a bit of hops.

The taste is mainly of floral hops with a crisp lemony aftertaste.

Alright beer which was shared with friends (because isn’t that what IPAday is all about?) but not the best way to spend a day in honor of IPAs. So I plan on sampling a certain double IPA from Founders seasonal lineup tonight, hoping it will make the experience.

After the IPA I had a glass of the Red Rye PA by, Founders.(pictured right)

This one had a bit darker of a copper color with a finger of white head. Not as impressive of head or lacing… but also not as fresh as the McCoys which was brewed mere feet away.

There were some floral hops in this one along with some grapefruit aromas.

The taste was taken over by the rye blended in with some nice sweet caramel flavors, which finished off with some of the sweet fruits from the smell.

This was the first time trying this Founders brew, but it certainly won’t be the last. There were a lot of great flavors going on there.