Beginner's Guide to IPAs | Everything You Need to Know

Beginner's Guide to IPAs | Everything You Need to Know

If you're new to the world of craft beer, it's likely you've heard of IPAs. They're a staple in the craft beer world, and for good reason. IPAs (India Pale Ales) are known for their hoppy and bitter taste, which can be an acquired taste for some. However, once you fall in love with IPAs, it's hard to go back to any other beer style. In this beginner's guide to IPAs, we'll cover everything you need to know to understand and enjoy this beer style.

What are IPAs?
India Pale Ales, or IPAs, are a style of craft beer originating from England. The style gained popularity in the 18th century when British brewers began adding extra hops to their beer to preserve it during the long journey to India. Today, IPAs are known for their hop-forward and bitter taste, with hints of citrus and pine flavors.

Different Types of IPAs
Within the IPA category, there are a few different sub-styles. These include:
  • American IPA: This sub-style emphasizes citrus and fruity flavors, with a more intense hop aroma and flavor than other sub-styles.
  • New England IPA: Also known as a hazy IPA, this sub-style typically has a hazy appearance and emphasizes tropical and juicy flavors.
  • West Coast IPA: This sub-style is more bitter than the American IPA, with a more pronounced hop aroma and flavor.
  • English IPA: This sub-style is maltier than other IPAs, with less emphasis on the hop flavor and aroma.
How to Taste IPAs
To fully appreciate IPAs, it's important to know how to taste them properly. First, pour the beer into a glass and take a moment to look at the color and clarity. Then, take a deep sniff to get a sense of the aroma. Finally, take a sip and let the flavors develop on your palate. Pay attention to how the beer feels in your mouth, and note any specific flavors or aromas you detect.

What Food to Pair with IPAs
IPAs pair well with a variety of foods, but due to their hoppy and bitter taste, they tend to pair best with spicy or salty foods. Some popular food pairings for IPAs include:
  • Spicy chicken wings
  • Blue cheese or sharp cheddar
  • Spicy Thai or Indian food
  • Grilled burgers or steak
Now that you have an understanding of IPAs and how to appreciate them, it's time to shop for some IPA beers to try. Remember, IPAs have an acquired taste, and it might take some time to appreciate them fully. But when you do, you'll be hooked on this delicious craft beer style. So, the next time you're at the store, give an IPA a try and see what you think!
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