Diving into the IPA Spectrum
The vibrant world of beers is incomplete without mentioning the famed India Pale Ales, or simply, IPAs. They are celebrated for their distinct bitterness and array of flavors, making them a go-to choice for beer aficionados. This guide provides a detailed look into the various types of IPAs and what makes each one unique.
A Glimpse into the Origins of IPAs
The roots of IPAs can be traced back to 18th-century England. These beers were specially brewed for long voyages to India, fortified with additional hops and elevated alcohol content for preservation. However, modern-day IPAs have evolved considerably, branching out into numerous types each boasting its unique style and flavor.
Exploring the Different Types of IPAs
1. English IPA
The pioneering IPA, English IPAs, strike a balance between malt and hops. They’re less bitter than their American counterparts, boasting a robust hoppy flavor. The color varies from golden to amber with an alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 4.5% to 7%.
2. American IPA
American IPAs are recognized for their intense hop bitterness and floral, citrusy aroma. They pack a higher alcohol content, usually hovering between 5.5% and 7.5% ABV. These beers typically exhibit an amber color and a strong malt backbone.
3. Double or Imperial IPA
Double or Imperial IPAs are stronger, hoppier versions of American IPAs. They feature high hop bitterness and an ABV that falls between 7% to 14%. The flavor profile is intricate, often with hints of pine, citrus, or floral notes.
4. Session IPA
Session IPAs are toned-down versions of American IPAs with a lower ABV — usually under 5%. They are crafted for easy drinking without sacrificing the signature hoppy character.
5. New England IPA (NEIPA)
NEIPAs are notable for their hazy appearance and juicy, tropical fruit flavors. They are less bitter than traditional IPAs and offer a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
Delving into Specialty IPAs
Beyond the primary types, there exists a variety of specialty IPAs that experiment with diverse ingredients and brewing methods.
1. Milkshake IPA
Milkshake IPAs are a sub-genre of NEIPA brewed with lactose sugar, lending them a creamy texture and a sweet flavor profile.
2. Brut IPA
Brut IPAs derive their name from brut champagne due to their dry, fizzy character. They exhibit a clear appearance with high carbonation and a crisp finish.
3. Sour IPA
Sour IPAs are a fusion of sour ale and IPA styles. They blend the tanginess of sour beers with the hop-centric character of IPAs.
Deciphering the Flavor Profile of IPAs
Unraveling the flavor profile of different types of IPAs can enrich your beer tasting experience. English IPAs often showcase notes of earthy hops and bready malt, while American IPAs lean towards a more citrusy, piney flavor courtesy of American hop varieties. NEIPAs, on the other hand, deliver an explosion of tropical fruit flavors like mango, pineapple, and peach.
Complementing IPAs with Food
IPAs find harmony with a range of foods. The potent hoppy character of American IPAs pairs splendidly with spicy dishes. English IPAs, with their balanced flavor profile, complement grilled meats and fish. NEIPAs, with their juicy, fruity undertones, work well with lighter fare like salads or seafood.
The world of India Pale Ales is vast, spanning from traditional English IPA to experimental Milkshake IPA. Whether you’re an experienced beer enthusiast or a newcomer stepping into the realm of craft beers, understanding the different types of IPAs can enhance your beer-drinking journey.