India Pale Ale (IPA)

Where did this name come from?

Simply put, it’s lighter in appearance than other beers (especially the popular porters), and the British shipped a lot of it to India during the 1800s. The presence of lots of hops allowed the beer to survived the six-month trip trip to India relatively unscathed, unlike the heavier beers popular in London during the time.

Why I Looked It Up

I ordered an IPA after a pilsner, and noticed how much lighter it appeared. This explained the “pale” part of the name. But then I got to wondering about the “India” part.

At the same time I was reading The Covenant by James Michener about trade between Europe and the Far East, so I had spent a lot of time reading about the big “East Indiamen” ships rounding the Cape of Good Hope. I finally looked it up.

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