Taken from Wikipedia
The first known use of the expression “India pale ale” comes from an advertisement in the Liverpool Mercury newspaper published January 30, 1835. Before January 1835, and for some time after this date, this style of beer was referred to as “pale ale as prepared for India”, “India Ale”, “pale India ale” or “pale export India ale”.
IPA descends from the earliest pale ales of the 17th century. The term “pale ale” originally denoted an ale which had been brewed from pale malt. The pale ales of the early 18th century were lightly hopped and quite different from later pale ales. By the mid-18th century, pale ale was mostly manufactured with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and hence produced a paler beer. One such variety of beer was October beer, a pale well-hopped brew popular among the landed classes, who brewed it domestically; once brewed it was intended to cellar two years.
Among the earliest known named brewers whose beers were exported to India was George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery, on the Middlesex-Essex border. Bow Brewery beers became popular among East India Company traders in the late 18th century because of the brewery’s location and Hodgson’s liberal credit line of 18 months. East Indiamen transported a number of Hodgson’s beers to India, among them his October beer, which benefited exceptionally from conditions of the voyage and was apparently highly regarded among consumers in India. Bow Brewery came into control of Hodgson’s sons in the early 19th century, but their business practices alienated their customers. During the same period, several Burton breweries lost their European export market in Russia because of new tariffs on beer, and were seeking a new export market for their beer. At the behest of the East India Company, Allsop brewery developed a strongly hopped pale ale in the style of Hodgson’s for export to India. Other Burton brewers, including Bass and Salt, were anxious to replace their lost Russian export market and quickly followed Allsop’s lead. Likely as a result of the advantages of Burton water in brewing, Burton India Pale Ale was preferred by merchants and their customers in India.
Demand for the export style of pale ale, which had become known as “India Pale Ale,” developed in England around 1840 and India Pale Ale became a popular product in England. Some brewers dropped the term “India” in the late 19th century, but records indicated that these “pale ales” retained the features of earlier IPA. American, Australian and Canadian brewers manufactured beer with the label IPA before 1900, and records suggest that these beers were similar to English IPA of the era.
Hodgson’s October beer style clearly influenced the Burton Brewers’s India Pale Ale. His beer was only slightly higher in alcohol than most beer brewed in his day and would not have been considered a strong ale; however, a greater proportion of the wort was well-fermented, leaving behind few residual sugars, and the beer was strongly hopped. The common story that early IPAs were much stronger than other beers of the time, however, is a myth. Moreover, porter shipped to India at the same time survived the voyage, and common claims that Hodgson formulated his beer to survive the trip and that other beers would not survive the trip are probably false. It is clear that by the 1860s, India Pale Ales were widely brewed in England and that they were much more attenuated and highly hopped than porters and many other ales.
The term “IPA” is common in the United Kingdom for ordinary session bitters, for example Greene King IPA and Charles Wells Eagle IPA. IPAs with an abv of 4% or lower have been brewed in Britain since at least the 1920s. Some British breweries brew an American style IPA. Examples are Meantime Brewery IPA, Dark Star IPA and Freeminer Trafalgar IPA.
In 2002, Caledonian Brewery Deuchars IPA. a 3.8% session bitter, took the title of CAMRA Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the GBBF in London. Also in this year, Hopdaemon Brewery Skrimshander IPA, a 4.5% bitter, became a Kent Beer Festival Winner. Skrimshander is brewed with Kentish Fuggles and Goldings Hops.
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