If you’ve heard of craft beer, you’ve heard of an India Pale Ale, or what is commonly referred to as an IPA. Americans have been making Pale Ales since the founding of this country, but IPAs can be traced back even further to their British roots. Today, IPAs are generally characterized by their aromatic “hoppiness,” as well as a refreshingly bitter flavor profile.
Recently, brewers have taken that wonderful base style of an IPA and transformed it into many different sub-styles. The most common that you might see in breweries today are session, double/imperial, and New England style IPAs. Some breweries push the style even further by introducing sub-styles such as Sour IPAs and Milkshake IPAs. These sub-styles can taste very different from the traditional “west coast” style but they each have their niche in the market and are enjoyed around the country.
The IPA seems to have its foothold securely in the American beer market and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Every major brewery has at least one, if not many and they’re often the best seller. IPAs are a great gateway to start learning about and enjoying craft beer being so readily available. If IPAs aren’t your thing, definitely don’t let it scare you because this style just barely scratches the surface of the beer world.