Get ready hopheads: Thursday, August 6th marks IPA Day, a day for beer lovers to celebrate one of the greatest styles of beer: the India Pale Ale. Whether your celebrations take you to your local brewery, favorite bar, or just to your couch with some Netflix; we’ve put together a handful of fun IPA facts to help you dazzle your friends while you’re hopefully enjoying a cold one (or three) at the bar on Thursday.
Originally thought to have been first sighted in London, the first known mention of IPA was in an advertisement in an Australian newspaper in 1829. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser ran an ad that mentions “East India pale ale.” The ad didn’t mention what brewery the beer was coming from.
Hops are a Preservative
That London rumor comes because of the beer export business that was going on in England in the early 1800s. Hops were reportedly added to the beer so that it was able to make the journey to India and still be worth drinking when it arrived. Modern research by historians such as Martyn Cornell, however, has shown that beers in this style were being brewed in England before they were ever specifically sent to India. Regardless, higher hop rates did help exported beer hold up longer thanks to the natural preservative effect of hops.
Take a Bow
We’re not quite sure who the first person was to brew an IPA, but one of the first known breweries to export beer to India was Bow Brewery. The English brewery was located just two miles from the East India docks, making it easily accessible for traders.
What’s a Double IPA?
Double IPAs, or Imperial IPAs, refer to an IPA that is typically higher in hop and alcohol content than a standard IPA. Vinnie Cilurzo, the current owner of Russian River Brewery, is credited with coining the term.
Like people, hop plants have both male and female forms. The cones from the female plant are what are used in the brewing process, while the male hop cones are used to breed the plant. When you see a field of hops growing, all those plants are typically female.
If you’ve ever taken a close look at a hop cone, you’ve likely noticed its resemblance to another plant: cannabis. Hops and cannabis belong to the same taxonomic family. While they’re technically related, just like your obnoxious little brother, the similarities between the two are only skin deep.
What’s the Best IPA in the World?
We’re glad you asked. We recently did a huge blind taste testing of 116 American IPAs. Check out our findings here, and be sure to give a shout out to your own favorite IPA in the comments.