History of India Pale Ales

In the early 1700s Britain had a problem. Troops and British citizens living in India as part of the colonial rule did not have access to good British ale; any attempts to ship the malt British ales to them resulted in spoilage. India Pale Ale, or IPA, was the solution. The generous amount of hops in this brew protected it from the heat and motion of the British sailing ships of the day. IPAs could have faded into history when the British occupation of India ended. But a fateful shipwreck firmly established IPA as its own style rather than a sub-style specialty brew. In 1827 a ship leaving London wrecked and damaged some of the casks of IPA on board. The casks were sold there in England and the unusually hoppy ale was a big hit. Soon the new brew was in demand and a new style was born.  In the past 20 or so years American breweries continually have found a way to up the ante with indigenous hop varietals and treatments to keep the seekers of this bitter beer happy and endlessly intrigued.

For we could not now take time for further search (to land our ship) our victuals being much spent, especially our Beere.

Ship’s log of the Mayflower


Sources: about.com, kegworks.com