Chances are, if you’ve been to a craft brewery you’ve heard of IPAs. India Pale Ales (IPA) have taken the craft brewing industry by storm. IPAs are the top selling style at breweries, liquor stores, and supermarkets across the United States, and they are the most entered category at the Great American Beer Festival for more than a decade.
What makes the IPA so magical? It probably starts with its epic history. IPAs date back to the 1700’s and originate in England. The English loved their beer, and they loved their boys that were sent out to colonize India. They sent barrels of beer on the ships with their soldiers. However, they knew the journey would be long (almost 5 months), and there was no way to keep the beer fresh for the journey. Some English visionary realized the preservative power of hops and overloaded the barrels of Pale Ale with hops. When the sailors cracked into the barrels they discovered this super-hoppy beer, and they LOVED it. When they returned home to England, the demand for the hoppy beer stuck around, and a new style was born.
People have continued to crave the hoppy style for centuries and it has become the driving force of the craft beer market. There are now several sub-segments of style as well. According to BJCP guidelines, there are 7 recognized sub-categories of IPA: American IPA, Red IPA, Brown IPA, Black IPA, Belgian IPA, Rye IPA, and White IPA. You’ve also probably heard people refer to IPAs as West Coast style or New England Style. West Coast IPAs are generally known to be very hop forward in taste and smell. New England Style IPAs are generally hazy and very juicy – almost pulp like – character.
When we first started looking into opening a brewery, it became very apparent that in order to be successful we’d have to have not just one, but several IPA’s available. When we interviewed brewery owners, the overwhelming majority stated that their IPA will outsell all of their other beers combined.
Trek plans to have a few different IPA options for you all to enjoy. Our flagship IPA is an easy drinking citrusy IPA. It was John’s very first recipe from scratch, and it’s become a favorite in our home. We have a Black IPA which has great piney, hoppy character while also having a slight roastiness. It’s delicious, it’s different, you’ll love it. We’re in the testing stages for a New England style IPA, and once we’ve got one we love, we’ll put it on tap for you to try!
IPAs have become a standard among craft beer drinkers – almost to the point of becoming the “gateway craft beer”. For a style that is so bold and “in your face” it seems incredibly strange to make that statement, and yet in the craft beer culture, it’s the beer every brewer has on tap.
So, how about you guys? Are you IPA fans? We’re excited to share our favorites with you. And, who knows, maybe that Midwest style IPA is something we’ll develop together.