Setting the Record Straight

Posted on 01.06.11 8:16PM under IPA, Style Profile

I’ve been guilty in the past of parroting the whole 18th-century-British-soldiers-in-India creation myth for IPA. I even did a style profile article on it in the early days of this blog.

I thought it as good a time as any to direct anyone who wants to know a more truthful (if less concise) account of the origin of “IPA” to Ron Pattinson’s blog. He actually bothers to review actual brewing records of actual breweries making actual beer in actual past centuries. His discoveries are usually interesting and always detailed. Plus he’s a total wise-ass, which is always good fun for reading.

I can never keep track any more, but I have a vague sense that what was originally called IPA was lower gravity than what they called Mild at the time, and not even particularly hoppy.

This, of course, has little relevance to what is now called IPA, which we all know to be a bitter, hoppy, pale, dry, high alcohol beer. It’s OK that they used to call something else IPA, and it’s OK that the defining attributes of IPA have evolved over time. But let’s not assume it’s always been what it is. And let’s try to avoid repeating things for which we have no primary references.

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