This script is from the second season of Beer Notes, which you can listen to at beernotes.org.

According to the Brewer’s Association, American India Pale Ale is the top driver of growth in the craft beer field. Today on Beer Notes, we will explore the romantic history of America’s favorite beer style.

In the 1700s, Britain’s empire had expanded and with it, the number of beer drinkers around the world. One big market for beer exports was India which required a 5 – 6 month sea journey. Brewers in Britain were making and exporting beer to India, but one in particular, Hodgson, started to dominate the export market in the late 1700s. He started with an October ale, but changed the recipe to appeal to local tastes and to ensure that the beer withstood the 5 – 6 month sea journey. This ale was slightly more alcoholic and definitely more “hoppy.” Both of these qualities act as preservatives and made the shipment of beer from Britain to India more successful.

When Hodgson’s hold on the India market loosened, a brewery in Burton-Upon-Trent produced a lighter, crisper ale that received even more accolades in India’s warm climate.

Hodgson’s bitter ale was well known and loved and most beer lovers probably didn’t need any designations to identify this beer. However, when other brewers of paler, less bitter ales started getting into the market, a designation was needed to identify which ales were hoppy and bitter and which were not. The “India” pale ales appear to have become that designation.

Today, in the US, most IPAs are brewed with distinctive American hops.  East Coast IPAs have a stronger malt presence and West Coast IPAs tend to be hoppier.

New England or Hazy IPAs are a newer style and have all the hoppy aroma and flavor of traditional American IPAs without some of the hop bitterness and may be a great beer to attract more women to the style.

For Beer Notes, this is Anne Neely.

Kristin Helf
Author: Kristin Helf

Kristin is a writer and picture-taker in Ocean City, Maryland. She likes puppies, pumpkin ales and watching movies for the Ocean City Film Festival in her spare time.

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