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What is an IPA?

India Pale Ales (IPAs) are a hoppy style of beer within the Pale Ale category, which is a type of beer brewed with mostly pale malts. IPAs largely get their characteristics from hops and herbal, citrus or even fruity flavours. These hops put bitterness and character into a beer; without them beers would be overwhelmingly sweet. Although IPAs are known to be bitter and contain high alcohol levels, the final product depends on the variety of hops that are being used. One brewery’s Pale Ale may be stronger and more bitter than someone else’s IPA and vice versa.

IPA Vocabulary

- Session IPA – session essentially means less alcohol. This is in reference to the British way of drinking many lower-alcohol beers over an extended period of time.

- Double/Imperial – IPAs with higher concentration of hops, as more malts are used to balance the hop flavour.

- Dry-Hopped – a beer that has additional hops thrown into the brew several days before kegging/bottling (this is a way of increasing the hop flavour).

- Single-Hopped – brewed exclusively with one hop variety. For example, in a Citra single hop IPA, Citra hops are used in the boil, on the finish and also in dry-hopping.

- Fresh-hopped – these only come once a year, at the peak of hop harvesting season (August and September). To achieve a fresh-hopped IPA, the hops have to leave the vine, travel to the brewery and end up in the boil all in under 24 hours! The closer to the brew date that it is drunk, the more intense the fresh flavour of the hops will be.

IPA Styles

Different countries make different styles of pale ale. For example, the American ale ales available was developed in around 1980 and is cleaner and hoppier, whereas the British versions are more malty, aromatic and balanced. Below are some of the best known IPA styles:

- British IPA – this is the original style of IPA from which the other variations stem. British hops carry a grassy, earthy and light citrus character and are usually 6-7%. This style of beer is often described as maltier and more bitter.

- New England Style IPA – this is an American IPA that is heavily dry-hopped to achieve a hazy appearance and a full body.

- West Coast IPA – these IPAs appear to be somewhere in the middle of the British IPA and the New England Style IPA and they have more of a balance between the fruitiness and bitterness.

- East Coast IPA – while West Coast IPAs highlight more bitterness, East Coast IPAs strike more of a balance between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness.

If you would like to experiment with an IPA as your next choice of drink, or if you’re already a seasoned IPA drinker why not help yourselves to BAR@Stockley’s supply of Beavertown Neck Oil Session IPA?

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