What Is an IPA?

In the world of beer, there are countless drinks on the market. From porters and pilsners to lagers and ales, there’s always something that will fit your preferences. 

In recent years, the development of the craft beer market introduced a massive amount of new styles of beer to the public consciousness. That means beer drinkers today have more options than ever before. 

One of the most popular kinds of beer today is the IPA. These are favored thanks to their bold taste and smooth feel. Of course, IPAs aren’t for everyone, but IPAs are like a breath of fresh air to those who genuinely like them. 

Despite the popularity of IPAs, there are still a lot of common questions as to what these drinks are. TapRm is here to answer those questions so that you can experience IPAs to their fullest potential. Here is what IPAs are, why they’re so incredible, and why that matters to you. 

What Is an IPA?

IPA stands for India Pale Ale. These beers have a higher ABV and more hops, which contribute to their intense flavor. IPAs have a bitter, fruity, and floral taste which is popular among many high-level craft breweries. 

IPAs were first created in the 1700s when people wanted a beer that would survive long voyages without turning. Increasing the amount of hops in a brew allows the drink to last longer before going bad or flat. 

While the style and taste of IPAs have shifted dramatically since then, the concept of creating a hop-rich beer has remained and led to the creation of the modern IPA. 

Hops are the buds and flowers of a plant called Humulus lupulus, which is primarily grown in the Pacific Northwest, and they’re one of the main ingredients in beer. There are dozens of varieties of hops worldwide, and each variation brings a unique contribution to the flavor of the end product. Since the hops are so vital to the taste of IPAs, brewers put a lot of effort into finding the perfect kind to match the flavor profile they’re going for.

What Do IPAs Taste Like?

The traditional flavor of an IPA tends to be bitter and fruity, thanks to the hops. 

Unlike lagers or stouts, IPAs don’t usually have a strong flavor or aroma of malt. Instead, they may feature complex notes of citrus like grapefruit, as well as pine and floral notes. This is most often due to the presence of hops like Citra, Chinook, and Cascade. 

However, as the craft beer scene has exploded worldwide, there have been innumerable new IPAs made. These run the gamut from light, crisp, and refreshing to dark, heavy, and full-bodied. 

IPAs go particularly well with food, too. They accentuate spicy food and pair well with greasy or heavy foods, so they’re perfect for classic bar grub like fries. Of course, they’re also great on their own! 

What Are the Different Kinds of IPAs?

IPAs are currently particularly trendy in craft breweries, so there’s a wide range when it comes to style. Here are a few popular, exciting beer styles to expand your palate with: 

West Coast IPAs

These are some of the most well-loved IPAs, and for good reason. They started the trend of creating fruity IPAs, but they still go heavy on the hops. West Coast IPAs have a strong hop aroma and are known for a specific kind of piney bitterness. 

West Coast IPAs aren’t quite as bitter as some other IPAs but are still bold and full of character. These modern American IPAs tend to lie around 6-&% ABV.

New England IPAs

A New England IPA is unfiltered and tends to have a low level of bitterness with fruity flavors. It’s also sometimes referred to as an East Coast IPA, a Hazy IPA, or a Juicy IPA.

New England IPAs are a great starting point for beer drinkers because the more off-putting characteristics of an IPA—the bitter, soapy hop flavor—isn’t quite as dramatic in this style. 

British IPA

British IPAS are the original IPA. They have a bitter, malty flavor, and they tend to be especially hoppy. 

The hops flavor contributes significantly to the robust, bold taste of British IPAs. They’re a completely different experience from most of the other IPAs that are popular today. 

Double IPA

This variety is also sometimes referred to as an Imperial IPA. The main characteristic of this style is that they have an even higher hop concentration than the standard IPA. This also means that they tend to have more malt and a higher alcohol content—usually around 8%.

The Triple IPA takes this even further, creating a hoppy beer with a high alcohol content that’s usually around 10% ABV. 

Session IPA

On the opposite end of the IPA categories lie Session IPAs, named such because you can sit down and have several in a beer-drinking “session” with your friends. They’re generally below 4-5% ABV. 

Why Are IPAs So Popular Today?

IPAs are so well-loved due to their vibrant, bold flavors. They’re bright, crisp, and refreshing. Lagers are great, but people were looking for something new. 

Plus, IPAs give you options. They’re fantastic for sipping on the porch on a hot summer day, but they’re equally at home in the depth of winter. The IPA’s versatility, as well as the wide variety of styles that it appears in, means that there’s something for everyone. If you are looking for something that will excite your senses and go beyond traditional beer, IPAs are for you. 

Our Favorite IPAs

If you’re interested in sampling an IPA but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few of our favorites. These are all made by the highest quality craft beer breweries in the world and are sure to expose you to incredible new flavors that you’ve never tasted before. 

How TapRm Can Help

If you’re looking to venture into the wide world of IPAs, the best place to start is TapRm. We carry tons of craft beers that can be shipped directly to your house via our system. If you are bored of the same old standard fare, look to TapRm to introduce something exciting into your life! 

 

Sources: 

11 Questions About IPA You're Too Embarrassed to Ask, Answered | Vine Pair

What Is an IPA Beer? A Complete Guide to the India Pale Ale | Bon Appétit

How to Talk About Beer Like a Pro | TIME

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