All craft breweries have an appreciation for a good IPA, and we’re no different here at Border Brewery. IPAs are everywhere now, and people who love this hoppy beer have craft breweries like us to thank for it! Many people associate IPAs with the craft brewing revolution of the 1990s and 200s, but these beers have a history that stretches back farther than that. Because National IPA Day just passed on August 3rd (it’s always the first Thursday of August if you want to celebrate next year), we’re going to take a closer look at these hoppy brews.
Here’s a closer look at the history of IPAs and the role craft breweries played in making them popular.
As you probably know, IPA stands for India Pale Ale, but why India? You might think that they come from India, but it’s actually the opposite. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the British Empire had a significant presence in India, and many English people lived there. Shipping companies like the East India Company shipped English beer to India, but not all brews could last through the long trip from England to India. Heavily hopped beers were able to last a long time, so they called this style of beer India Pale Ale after its most common destination. At home in England, people also liked the “export beer,” so IPA-style beer became a favorite both at home and abroad.
IPAs in the USA
At the same time they were shipped to India, IPAs also made it to the United States by way of California. They weren’t as popular as they were in England, but IPAs still maintained a steady presence in the US. The Ballantine brewing company in New Jersey made Ballantine IPA from 1890 until the 1990s. Ballantine was an inspiration for the craft brewers of the 1990s and 200s who were looking to experiment with older beer styles that had dropped in popularity. Craft brewers on the West Coast started brewing IPAs, and they soon took off and spread throughout the country.
New England has its own contribution to the place of IPAs in the craft brewing revolution. A brewer in Vermont was the first to make (or successfully sell) a hazy IPA, also known as New England IPA. NEIPAs are distinctive not only because of their hazy appearance but also their juicy flavor and lower bitterness.