by Sofie Vanrafelghem Master Beer Sommelier at Sofie's World
The legend tells you that the beer style India Pale Ale originated because the British were looking for a beer that could survive the long journey overseas to India. Hops kill bacteria, so adding more hops was the solution. Actually, the truth is that all kinds of beers were shipped to the British colonies without any problems. Even more porters were exported.
The story of what was later called India Pale Ale began in the second half of the 18th century with brewer George Hodgson. He brewed a beer with the intention of maturing it for two years, which explained the addition of extra hops. The officers of the East India Company chose to work with George because of his location near the docks, his competitive prices, and in particular, the fact that the officers could buy beers on credit. George Hodgson's beer became very popular with the officers in no time. News also travelled around London, where beer had become more and more popular.
But today's IPA has little to do with its 18th century predecessor - in fact, it has more to do with the United States. A few decades ago, a new generation of brewers gave this style a new look and a new surge of popularity. From then on, IPA’s became known as beers with a distinctly hoppy character. When using American aroma hopping, these beers have very expressive fresh fruity aromas with hoppy tones of citrus, grapefruit and exotic fruit.