India Pale Ale (IPA) Where did this name come from? By Deane Barker • May 6, 2022 • 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.