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The Differences Between the Vast Variety of IPA Beers

  • Written by The Bulletin

In the ever-evolving realm of the craft beer universe, India Pale Ales (IPAs) have garnered a devoted following. Commended for their audacious flavours and aromatic symphony, IPAs have transformed the beer landscape. However, under the broad umbrella of IPAs, lies a kaleidoscope of subcategories, each unique, each carrying the signature of an ingenious brewer's creativity and innovation.

Discovering the Soul of IPA

At its crux, an IPA is defined by its dominant hop character, with an assertive bitterness and a more upscale aroma compared to its beer kin. Originating in England, IPAs were tailored to brave the lengthy sea expeditions to India, hence their distinctly hoppy persona. The progression of time has seen this style metamorphosize into various sub-genres, each carrying its unique attributes.

Venture into the Diverse Palate of IPA Styles

  • The American IPA Odyssey

Distinguished for their robust hop flavours and fragrances, American IPAs often encompass citrus, pine, and floral notes. They flaunt a stronger bitterness than their English brethren. The hallmark of American hop types such as Cascade, Centennial, and Simcoe gives these beers their unique temperament. With an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of 5.5% to 7.5%, American IPAs ensure a balanced yet assertive flavour journey.

  • The Double IPA (DIPA) Revolution

Also known as Imperial IPA, DIPAs elevate the hop intensity orchestrating in an American IPA. With an elevated ABV between 7.5% and 10%, DIPAs bring forth a more prominent hop bitterness and aroma. The malt foundation is also enhanced to harmonise with the amplified hop ingredients, resulting in a rich and intricate flavour profile.

  • The New England IPA (NEIPA) Phenomenon

NEIPAs have seen a remarkable surge in popularity, owing to their cloudy aesthetic and luscious, fruit-centric flavours. They prioritise the hop aroma over bitterness, making them more palatable for those who want to avoid the bitterness or enjoy a juicy IPA. The application of dry hopping and proprietary yeast types contribute towards their haze and a vivid palette of tropical, stone fruit, and citrus notes.

  • The English IPA Legacy

The progenitor of modern variations, English IPAs strike a balanced chord with a milder hop intensity. They often flaunt earthy, herbal, and floral hop nuances, coupled with a malty sweetness. With an ABV generally between 5% to 7%, they offer a more understated yet flavourful experience.

  • The Session IPA Comfort

Tailored for those who enjoy the hop character but desire a lower alcohol content, Session IPAs fit the bill. With an ABV usually less than 5%, these beers are engineered for prolonged drinking sessions without overwhelming the palate or leading to excessive inebriation.

  • The Black IPA Intrigue

Black IPAs, also known as Cascadian Dark Ales, intertwine the hop-centric traits of an IPA with the dark malt flavours of a stout or porter. They offer roasted malt flavours like chocolate and coffee, balanced by the bitterness and aroma of hops. The outcome is a complex and captivating experience that challenges the conventional IPA impressions.

The world of IPA beers is intriguingly vast and diverse, promising a unique experience for each palate. By understanding the nuanced variations between IPA styles, beer connoisseurs can enhance their admiration for the expertise and artistry involved in brewing. Delving into lesser-known varieties can lead to fresh favourites and a more fulfilling overall drinking adventure.

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