India Pale Ale Beer


In craft brewing these days, India pale ale has become the most prized beer. Like many other products, it was invented out of necessity. Bitter and fruity, malty and hoppy, India pale ale is not the same as it was when it was first brewed in the 1700s. It is more heavily hopped, its alcohol content is higher because when it was first used it needed these preservation factors to transport the ales with sailors on merchant ships on the spice route that stretched from England to India.




India pale ale was very well-liked in India among English merchants by the mid-to-late 1700s. However, because no one used the name of India Pale Ale to refer to it until 1829, its history is hard to trace. But, in1829, there was an advertisement in Australia that noted “Rum, brandy, and Geneva in bond; Taylor’s and East India pale ale.”

By 1600, Queen Elizabeth had issued a Royal Charter to the East India Company. This Charter effectively opened up trade with India for salt, silk, cotton and many other products. For the East India Company traders, there wasn’t much for them to do in India when they weren’t buying and selling products. At the time, European drinks such as wine and ale were hard to get, expensive and difficult to move around. So, brewers began to try different methods of brewing, knowing that they would get higher levels of alcohol if they used larger quantities of fermentable. They also knew this would help preserve the beer, along with the larger amounts of hops they were using, which were also a preservation agent.

George Hodgson, working at Bow Brewery, was one of the early supporters of this ale. He was also one of the first to export this ale with its higher levels of alcohol and its heavily hopped consistency. Gradually, pale ales began to become more popular than the darker ales, such as porters, which had been the most sought after ale until the middle of the 1600s. There were also other breweries, such as Bass Brewery, who began to make these more heavily hopped ales to be exported. This brewery is still in business today, now operated by Anheuser-Busch.


In England, the IPAs are usually of lower gravity and lower ABV. Their profile tends to have a much stronger malt and their hops are a little less fruity than American IPAs. For example, Samuel Smith’s India Ale is an English IPA that is specifically brewed to be 5% ABV.

Up until near the end of the 19th century, even though English IPAs were enjoying increased popularity, the temperance movement started to hurt the exports of British beer. As the movement increased pressure, the supremacy of IPA in the colonies of Britain was replaced by local drinks, such as gin, whisky and tea.

Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops are commonly used in English IPAs. This gives these beers a spicy, earthy and warm quality. Usually they include a generous amount of hops during fermentation. This is a process is called dry-hopping and it gives the ale that amazing aroma of hops.

United States

Since the 1970s, craft beer has reemerged among brewers in America and on university campuses. In the United States, they have developed several unique varieties of hops that give their brews a more resinous and fruitier character than the English IPAs. In the U.S., certain types of hops such as Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade and others that are grown there are used for fermentation, and are known for producing citrus and pine notes in the brew. In addition, these IPAs usually have a higher alcohol level at about 7% ABV.

Some examples of American IPAs are Lagunitas Indian Pale Ale (CA), Racer 5s India Pale Ale(CA), Dogfish Head 60, 90 and 120 minute India Pale Ale’s (DE), Russian River Blind Pig India Pale Ale(CA) and Founders Centennial India Pale Ale (MI).

Recently, craft brewers in Europe have been influenced by those in America. In addition, brew masters in Belgium and Italy have been collaborating with breweries in America to create craft beer styles that are unique.