IPAs Throughout History

IPA (India Pale Ale): a hoppy beer style which was widely brewed in England in the early 1800s.

British brewers double hopped the beer so that it would remain fresh and drinkable for their comrades, soldiers fighting in the English colonies around the world.  Hops acted as a preservative then, but nowadays hops are used in a variety of ways to flavor IPAs with fruit and pine notes.  

When Kevin opened his beer distributor – several short years ago! – the IPA craze was taking off.  For years prior, American consumers were happily drinking malty lagers and ales which had some hops but not much hop taste.  Once people tried these hopped-up IPAs from some of the larger craft breweries, they didn’t go back to their regular stand-bys.  Bell’s Two Hearted, Stone IPA, and Dogfish Head 60 Minute were among the upstarts – the newest and greatest hop taste sensations. Kevin couldn’t keep them in stock! (Hazy wasn’t an option then…West Coast was the king!)  Eventually, the local Pittsburgh beer scene ramped up and broke the (beer) glass ceiling.  Today there are more than 80 individual breweries in the Pittsburgh area, all creating new IPA flavors EVERY week. 

The Future of Flavors Has Arrived 

This blog, though, is meant to be an ode to those big craft breweries who first made the IPA a ‘thing’ and are still coming out with new takes on their old IPA standards.  Some of the newest releases stocked at Beer Towne include Bell’s Hazy Hearted IPA, Sierra Nevada Juicy Little Thing, Southern Tier 2X Juice Jolt, and New Belgium Fruit Force (the latest in their Voodoo Ranger IPA series). These beers are tasty with a capital T and won’t break your wallet in these trying times… cost-effective IPAs compared 

to those more expensive ones in the cooler doors at Beer Towne. On Friday nights this spring, we’ll be tasting some of these National Craft IPAs