Hop Notes: What to drink to celebrate IPA Day in Michiana

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By: Eric Strader
ericstradedr69@gmail.com

Eric Strader

What will you be drinking on National IPA Day, August 6, this year? If you took a look in my beer fridge, you might think that every day is IPA day.

IPAs or India Pale Ales, are one of my favorite styles, so yes, I am a hop head. This beer was first brewed in the late eighteenth century by English brewers for export to India, and I only learned recently that I’ve been telling part of this historic tale incorrectly.

The story, as I’ve heard it many times, claims that this beer was intentionally developed and highly hopped in order to survive the long trip from Europe to India. Hops act as a preservative to keep beer from spoiling which was important on these long oceanic voyages.  

George Hodgson of Bow Brewery is credited with brewing October beer, which was stronger and used more hops than other styles. This style became one of the most popular export beers on the receiving end. Because of the extra hops and higher alcohol level, not only did it last better, but actually tasted better when it arrived in India than it did when it left its English port.

The part of this story that is often mistold is that the beer was intentionally created in order to survive the long export to India. Actually, it was only discovered after that fact that this style,  known as October beer, “stock ale” or “old ale,” held up better.

If you would like to learn more about IPAs, I encourage you to pick up a copy of “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale”by Mitch Steele, brewmaster at Stone Brewing Co.  

And since we are talking about IPA Day and books, this day was founded in 2011 by beer evangelists and social media personalities Ashley Routson and Ryan Ross.

If you don’t have Ashley Routson, known as the Beer Wench, in your bookmarks, you need to do it now. Her website is Drink with the Wench. She has been in the craft beer industry for many years, training others in beer tasting, craft beer marketing and sales support and promoting craft beer brands.

She has been featured on NPR, Draft Magazine, BeerAdvocate, and Time.com among others. She is a regular contributor to CraftBeer.com (run by the Brewer’s Association) and has been a featured speaker at the Craft Brewers Conference, The Great American Beer Festival and the Beer Bloggers Conference.  And she has a new book out that I just finished, “The Beer Wenche’s Guide to Beer:  An Unpretentious Guide to Craft Beer.” 

With refrigeration and better transportation of beer today, we no longer need to rely on hops to “preserve” beer. However, beer drinkers have discovered that we love hoppy beers, so brewers continue to brew IPAs and double IPAs with lots and lots of hops.

There are so many IPAs available locally. My first suggestion is to check out one of the many local breweries we have here in Michiana for the freshest tasting IPA possible.

It would be a very rare occasion to walk into any local brewery or pub and not find one if not several IPAs on tap. Some of my local favorites include Iechyd Da Brewing 13 American Black IPA (7.8 percent ABV), Goshen Brewing Company Don’t be so Melon-choly (American IPA, 6.6 percent ABV, IBUs 64), Bare Hands Brewing Thai.P.A. (American IPA brewed with citrus Thai spices, 7.1 percent ABV), Crooked Ewe Turtle Talmer (7.2 percent ABV, IBUs 60), and look for another batch of New Paradigm Brewing The Big Hopsbowski (IPA, 6.5 percent ABV, IBUs 80) coming out soon. This list is far from complete, but it’s a start.

Iechyd Da Brewing will be celebrating IPA day on Saturday, August 8, with several IPAs on tap including some of their rotating standards, a couple of doubles and a couple of casks. One of the casks will be Revolution IPA on lime and habanero peppers that went over really well at the 20th annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival a couple of weekends ago.

Some of the better bottle shops in the area have organized their bottles by style, which makes searching for IPAs easy.  Here is a huge list of what you can find around Michiana:

I’m sure that I’ve left some out, but that’s a pretty good list. If you can’t find anything there to please your palate, then I’m afraid you are not a hop head. Happy IPA day!

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