IPA Beers Demystified

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India Pale Ale

India Pale Ales (IPAs) are a broad category of pale ales, making up a large chunk of craft beer varieties around the planet. First enjoyed in England and recognised as the grandfather of the genre, this style of stronger, more bitter and hop forward beers was first coined during the 19th century. The unique IPA characteristics were used to better preserve imported beer on their long sea bound journeys to the British colonies in places such as India where the stronger taste was enjoyed in hotter climates.
 

New England IPA (NEIPA)

 Beer: Hop Nation's Jedi Juice Source: @ antz_whisky_reviews  - Instagram.

Beer: Hop Nation's Jedi Juice Source: @antz_whisky_reviews - Instagram.

New England IPAs (NEIPAs) are a more modern style of IPA that’s soared to popularity in recent years and is the current style in vogue throughout Australian craft beer circles. Designed to be very hazy in appearance, being less filtered, these beers have an enjoyable and creamy mouthfeel. The other main component of a NEIPA beer is the focus on championing very fruity hops which release sweet esters, often reminiscent of sniffing a glass of breakfast tropical fruit juice.


Session IPA

 
 Beer: Modus Operandi Session IPA   Source: BeerCrawl.

Beer: Modus Operandi Session IPA   Source: BeerCrawl.

 

A ‘Session’ IPA is a beer that’s been crafted in the style of an IPA with a similar flavour profile but using less alcohol. The term ’session’ usually means how easy a beer is to sink but also relates to how many you could responsibly smash in one sitting. Session IPAs are typically below 5.5 per cent ABV, IPAs are between 5.6 – 7.9 per cent  and IIPAs anywhere from 8 – 10+ per cent.


American IPA

 
 Beer: Feral Brewing Co's War Hog American IPA Source:  I nstarix.

Beer: Feral Brewing Co's War Hog American IPA Source: Instarix.

 

The story of American IPAs (AIPAs), in many ways, parallels the saga of Hip Hop. It’s all about West Coast vs East Coast… Regardless of whether you’re a Tupac or Biggie fan, hops are always the star in an AIPA.

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West Coast IPAs –Are typically more aggressive, hop forward and mega bitter. Expect to find all the usual suspects for Northwest flavours ie citrusy, piney floral bitterness…
 

 

East Coast IPA – are a lot more balanced in their flavour profile with their bitterness weighted against a pronounced malty foundation. The East Coast is where people (and beer) first arrived on US soil and its not surprising these beers ring truer to their origins in England and the flavours of traditional English IPAs.

Australian IPA

 
 Mash Brewing's Copy Cat AIPA

Mash Brewing's Copy Cat AIPA

 

Aussie IPAs in many ways follow a similar tradition to their American cousins, however, we have developed a preference for more tropical fruit flavours like passionfruit and enjoy a stronger yeasty flavour in our beers. This often makes our local IPAs far more palatable to the casual drinker.

Imperial IPA (IIPA)

This is British style of IPA used to describe significantly stronger IPAs after the term ‘Imperial’ was ripped off a stronger style of stout known as a Russian Imperial Stout. This stout style was created in a similar fashion to IPA at the turn of the 18th century when porters were going off during export to the Court of Russia. A stronger beer with greater amounts of hops was required.

 
 Cheeky Monkey Brewery's Double IPA

Cheeky Monkey Brewery's Double IPA

 

Double & Triple (DIPA) - These are also Imperial IPAs but get a bit more specific when it comes to their strength level. Terms like 'Double IPA' are also seen as terms used in places outside of the UK such as Australia and the US to replace the term ‘Imperial’.

Extra Pale Ale (XPA or EPA)

 
 Balter Brewing Co's XPA

Balter Brewing Co's XPA

 

Extra Pale Ale (XPA) is a style which largely fills the void between pale ales and IPAs and sits roughly right in-between in terms of ABV. These beers are typically American style pale ales far more palatable typically than other IPAs yet many have slightly higher alcoholic levels than pale ales or Session IPAs. The term XPA also pays homage to the traditional British ale barrels used back in the day which were marked with an ‘X’ or ‘XX’ depending on their strengths.