THE INDIAN PALE ALE
While India pale ales (IPA) are all about the big and bold hop flavours, floral notes, citrus, and light caramel also appear on the palate.
A LONG WAY IN A LEAKY BOAT
When Britain had troops stationed in India, one of the things they missed most about their homeland was a drop of ale. However, when it was brought by boat, it usually went bad before
it could reach them. The solution? Put more hops in it. Incidentally this not only preserved the beer, but it also created a completely new, extra-hoppy variety.
IPAs are all about the hops, which make it one of the most instantly recognizable types of beer. Once you get that first hoppy hit on the tongue, you know it’s an IPA. Their IBU number is often in the high double figures, and some even make the leap into triple figures.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HOPS
Today, India pale ales are still defined by the extra hops added. But modern brewers aren’t so concerned about making sure their beers last a transoceanic voyage. Instead, they’re more concerned with giving you big, hop-fuelled flavours.
If you’re drinking Indian pale ale, try accompanying it with some spicy Indian cuisine. Or, if you’re going the dessert route, try something with strong flavours: caramel apple tart or blue cheese.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Unsurprisingly, hops dominate the palate. They’re gold to amber in colour with bitterness you won’t find anywhere else. Floral, citrus, and light caramel notes are also common. If you’re not a fan of hop-overload, you can still enjoy IPAs – some beer makers have taken to including crystal malt as well as pale malt. This results in a darker colour, as well as toffee, caramel and sugar flavours, which help to deliver a smoother hop hit.