Happy National IPA Day 2018 everybody!
Yes, today is the one day a year that you have an excuse, or better yet, an obligation, to enjoy a delicious India Pale Ale. Heck, enjoy a few of them. We certainly won’t judge you, especially on such a holy day such as National IPA Day! In fact, as soon as we hit “publish” on this post tonight, we’ll probably be joining in the celebration ourselves. Cheers!
About the IPA
IPAs are one of the most popular styles of beer in the world, known for their big, bold and bitter hop flavor. And while IPAs are certainly still quite trendy, they are a classic style. Legend has it that the IPA was invented in the late 1700s when London brewer George Hodgson started adding more hops to his brews as a preservative so that his beers could survive the long boat voyage from England to India. Over the years these export ales became popular in England, and eventually the world.
Everybody Loves IPAs… but what if you don’t?
So you avoid the IPA section on the beer menu because it’s just not your thing. Well, maybe you just haven’t found the right variation yet. Trying one IPA and dismissing the entire category is like taking a sip of Boone’s Farm and saying you don’t like wine. (Not that anybody would have ever said that, because Boone’s Farm was delicious, and I will not hear anyone say it’s not.) The point is, don’t be so judgy, there’s a lot of great IPAs you may be missing. And there is no better day than National IPA Day to give the style another try. Below are some tips to help you find an IPA you’ll enjoy for National IPA Day and beyond.
Sample Different IPA Styles
You may be familiar with the classic English IPA, the flavorful East Coast IPA or the bold West Coast IPA. But have you tried the hazy, unfiltered, and often less bitter New England IPA? What about all the hybrid IPA varieties, like the Belgian IPA, Black IPA, Rye IPA, Coffee IPA, Sour IPA, Fruited IPA, Session IPA, Fresh Hop IPA, and many more. The latest IPA trend is the Milkshake IPA, brewed with lactose for a full body and often featuring vanilla or fruit flavors. Who knows, maybe the Milkshake IPA will be your next favorite beverage, that is, if you don’t let the IPA classification scare you.
Find Your Favorite Hops
Another thing to consider if you say you hate IPAs is the type of hop being used in the brew. Hops add the flavor, aroma, and bitterness to the beer you drink. However, there are about 80 different hop varieties, and each one brings their own unique characteristics to a brew. Not only that, how and when they are used in the brewing process affects how they’ll taste in your glass. Personally, I don’t always love the in-your-face bitterness that Jeff likes in his IPAs. I’ve found I enjoy Mosaic hops, which adds a tropical, fruity flavor to brews, so I always look for styles featuring Mosaic hops when I’m scanning a beer menu. Right now I’m also loving Ska Brewing’s Modus Mandarina, which uses Mandarina Bavaria hops and has a big orangey, tangerine-like flavor.
In short, sample around and find the hop flavor that you love. If you’re at brewery tasting room or a good craft beer bar, talk to the bartender to get recommendations. Once you find your favorite hops, you’ll have a much easier time finding an IPA you enjoy.
Get Tips From Your Local Beertender (or Beer Geek)
If you’re not sure where to start your new love affair with IPAs, let someone who already loves the style help. Next time you’re at a craft brewery or taproom, talk to the beertender. Tell them what flavors you love, and let them guide you to an IPA (or another beer style) that you may enjoy. Once you find a style or hop flavor you enjoy, they can better help guide you to that flavor in other beers. Before you know it, you’ll find an IPA to love.
Or maybe you won’t. Hey, that’s okay too. After all, there are lots of other beer styles to choose from. At least you tried.
Want More IPA Suggestions or Tips?
If you still have IPA questions or want us to help you find a style you may enjoy, throw a comment down below this post or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter. We may not be the biggest beer experts, but you won’t find a duo that loves and appreciates great beer more than we do, and we’re always happy to help. Tell us what flavors you love, and we’ll do our best to point you towards an IPA you’ll enjoy, just in time to celebrate National IPA Day.
Our Favorite IPAs
Julie Andrews may have a thing for raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and who can blame her, kittens are adorable. But for us, these are a few of our favorite things… Don’t concern yourself so much with what they are, as we find new favorites all the time. Instead, go find your own favorite IPA.
Want To Improve Your Appreciate of IPAs?
What’s better than drinking an IPA? Reading about IPAs! Okay, maybe not. But if you already enjoy IPAs and want to take your knowledge and appreciate of the style to the next level, there are several great books you may want to check out. The books below offer detailed information about drinking and brewing IPAs, and better knowing the hops that flavor this (and all the other) styles of beer:
If you want to learn more about IPAs: Complete IPA: The Guide to Your Favorite Craft Beer
If you want to learn more about hops: For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops (Brewing Elements)
If you want to brew your own IPAs: IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale
Okay, that’s enough talking and reading about IPAs… it’s time to go enjoy one. Cheers, and Happy IPA Day!
Disclosure: The links above are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy one of the products above using our link, it won’t cost you any extra and you’ll be supporting our blog. Please know that any compensation we receive does not affect our opinions on the products. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.