What began as a kick has developed into something much, much more. To get to the point, IPA’s have blown up in the craft beer industry.
The India Style Pale Ale started as a “hipster” beer but soon evolved to something that only a select few would have fathomed. This style of beer has successfully become the most preferred and sought out by craft beer enthusiasts.
Why? I don’t know. When I first got into craft beer, I strongly disliked them. With a passion. I couldn’t imagine purchasing a six-pack or even a single bottle. This all changed when I caught myself enjoying a Firestone Walker IPA and quickly found out which liquor stores in my area sold it. There was something about that hoppy goodness that forced me to accept it into my top life of craft beer. Was it because I wanted to feel what everybody else was feeling? Was it because I didn’t want to accept their “hipster” label? No, I believe that IPA’s are an acquired taste and is common among hop lovers.
Don’t believe me, let Kate Bernot of DRAFT magazine back me up. In her article she states, “IPAs continue to increase in both sales numbers and the number of brands offered. Last year alone saw the introduction of 117 new IPA brands to grocery store shelves. (That’s not even counting bottle shops and smaller retailers.) In 2014, consumers could choose from 741 IPA brands at the grocery store, compared to 215 in 2009…IPAs and pale ales account for 30% of all craft beer sales in restaurants and bars; far outpacing lagers, seasonals, wheats, etc.”
It has been made clear that The Notorious IPA has made its mark and is here to stay. Although its widespread popularity was slow to start, it can be argued that it was among the first beers in the Americas. The India Style Pale Ale was first introduced in the 1700’s and was created in order to ship beer from England to India without being spoiled. Although other beers were still being shipped, it was the higher alcohol content and preservation the hops provided in IPAs that made them a safer to ship.
Now we have dry, double and triple hopped IPAs along with being considered English, American or an Imperial style IPA. There are also styles such as: Red, White, Black, Belgian, Wild, and Rye. New styles and classifications of IPAs pop up every day which drives away loyalty.
This is good and bad for breweries. For the breweries with established names, it is bad. Established breweries rely on people consistently buying their brands to match their large production levels. For smaller, less established breweries who are trying to break through the wall, it is good. These breweries are looking for their golden ticket into the main stream and experimental drinkers help unlike any other.
Regardless of different opinions, stereotypes and other factors relating to IPAs, it can be easily inferred that they are here to stay.