The history of IPA is often gotten wrong, matter of fact, unless you are curious enough to deeply research the style, one can easily be confused by all the misinformation that has been written about it for the past thirty or forty years. India Pale Ale or as it was originally called “Pale Ale, as prepared for the India Market” was not invented to survive the long journey from England to ports of call like Madras, Bombay, or New Delhi. In fact, three times as much “porter” was shipped to India at the same time and arriving in “excellent shape”, that porter was lower in strength and not much of a hop profile to supposedly protect it from the four month journey at sea. Like many beer styles, IPA has changed and morphed its character over the years, mostly due to tariffs, levies, and sometimes great wars. Fast forward to 20th century and the second revolution in brewing which roughly started in the 1980’s.
Sometime around 2003, a small Vermont brewpub named the “Alchemist”, started producing a beer called Heady Topper, the goal of that beer was to provide as much hop flavor and aroma as possible, without the constraints of traditional methods, like clarity from filtering, or heavy bitterness often associated with traditional India Pale Ales. In addition, a favorite yeast strain was used that provided an almost juicy and fruity flavor profile. As the popularity of Heady Topper grew, it also inspired other brewers in the greater New England area to replicate some of these brewing techniques, the evolution of a new style was born. Officially in 2017, the Brewer’s Association in Boulder Colorado recognized this new style officially and a new category established. Today, brewers’ across the country, and even worldwide are producing New England style IPA’s to meet the demands of the public, who seemingly can’t get enough of this very flavorful and exciting new beer style.