Thursday, May 26, 2005

San Francisco Chronicle Gives Overview of India Pale Ales

This style can be very bitter, but, as I can attest, your pallate can adjust over time. Once that happens, hops can impart a lot of other wonderful flavors. This plant also has a calming influence.
To slake the thirst of British troops and colonists in India, in the 1790s George Hodgson created a beer so strong that it survived the three- to five-month ocean journey from London to Bombay and Calcutta.

Unlike the typical sweetish, malty British ales of the time, Hodgson's brew was protected from spoilage by its high-alcohol content and resins from the abundance of hops used in the brewing process.

Today this style of beer, called India Pale Ale (IPA), is winning fans for its fruity, hoppy and pleasantly bitter taste. The significant alcohol levels are balanced by the bitterness and a malt character that is more subdued than many non-India pale ales.

Contemporary American IPAs are crisp and refreshing, yet more complex than most ales and lagers -- ideal for late-spring drinking, when temperatures head upward yet haven't reached searing. One of the finest examples of American IPA is Bear Republic Brewing Co.'s Racer 5, made in Healdsburg by the Norgrove family.

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