The best-selling craft beer category, the India pale ale (IPA), is an evolving beer style. If you see these three letters together, assume that the beer will be hoppy. An imperial, or double, IPA is often stronger in flavor and alcohol. There are quite a few styles of IPA in the marketplace and learning more about them can help inform a taproom ordering situation.
Beyond styles, certain key terms are often thrown around when talking about IPAs and increasing your knowledge of them can help ensure a pleasurable beer experience. Here are five terms to know when it comes to the interesting and flavorful IPA.
Small strobiles that grow vertically on bines, or long stems, these perennials require a specific environment to grow cones. They thrive between the 50th and 40th parallels but can grow as low as the 30th parallel, in both hemispheres.
There are dozens of hop varieties and new ones are developed in each growing season. Hops add bitterness and different aromas and flavors to beer. Among the more popular hop varieties are Citra, known for notes of citrus, lime and fruit, and Mosaic, which is associated with peach, blueberry and tropical fruits. Simcoe (herbal, pine) and Nelson Sauvin (grape, passionfruit) hops are also popular in IPAs. Plus, the use of Cascade (pine, grapefruit, floral) hops goes back to the variety’s cultivation in the 1950s and remains prominent in IPA recipes.